After earning a number of Oscar nominations and a handful of wins working with director Elia Kazan on A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Baby Doll (1956), it made sense that Tennessee Williams would write a third screenplay for the two to bring to life. The problem is, there’s really nothing to bring to life in The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond. Perhaps someone realized the trouble back when Williams first completed the script, because Kazan opted to move onto other projects leaving The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond on a shelf collecting dust. Not even a super-powered Shop-Vac could clean this screenplay of its cobwebs. The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is dated and further flawed by plain old poor filmmaking.
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Legendary playwright Tennessee Williams had a magical relationship with director Elia Kazan. They collaborated on both Baby Doll and A Street Car Named Desire, the first of which was nominated for four Academy Awards and the second, nominated for 12, winning four. The plan was to reunite for a third film, which Williams called The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, but when Kazan attended to other projects, the concept dissipated.
It wasn’t until the screenplay landed in the hands of actress-turned-director Jodie Markell, that The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond received the breath of life it was meant to get decades earlier. In her directorial debut, Markell assembled a star-studded cast to bring the character Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard) to the big screen. In an effort to reestablish a reputation tarnished by her father’s mistakes and secure the fortune of her great Aunt Cornelia (Ann-Margret), Fisher calls upon a plantation worker (Chris Evans) she fancies to escort her to a series of parties. When Fisher loses a priceless teardrop diamond earring at one of the soirées, not only do Fisher’s hopes for the future crumble, but so do her chances of developing a serious relationship with her escort.
Check out what Markell told me about developing a screenplay by one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century, how her acting experience affects the way she directs her cast, and more.
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