Grey Gardens airs on HBO in 2 weeks, but are you prepared for it? I mean, in addition to ordering HBO so you can actually watch it. This blog has been around since 2006 and its primary readership was fans of the Maysles documentary. However, we've gotten quite a lot of new readers within the past month or so who are fans of Drew Barrymore or Jessica Lange, or are curious about the upcoming film. If you're new to the realm of Grey Gardens, this is for you.
However, if you're a longtime Grey Gardens fan, this is for you, too! It's an interesting creative team that was assembled to make this film, and the experience of watching the film might be enhanced by having experienced some of their other work.
Get the Facts
If you haven't seen the original documentary, Grey Gardens, do it. Stop reading this blog and drive to your local video store and rent it. You'll thank me.
The Beales of Grey Gardens
In 2006, Maysles Films released The Beales of Grey Gardens. It's another documentary, cobbled together from leftover footage from the original Grey Gardens. It's no masterpiece, but it is entertaining and informative.
Lois Wright's Book
Lois Wright, who appeared in both Grey Gardens and The Beales of Grey Gardens came out with a memoir of her time living at Grey Gardens, appropriately titled My Life at Grey Gardens. It's a different perspective and it covers some of the difficulties of living in squalor, but it both answers a lot of questions and asks many as well.
Edie is known for her fashion sense, and this blog strives to cover both her personal style and how it's been interpreted by contemporary fashion designers. Read all those old posts here.
Eva Beale's Book
Want to see even more photos of Edie? Read (or peruse) Edith Bouvier Beale of Grey Gardens, by the wife of Little Edie's nephew. It's essentially a photo album in which you can soak up visuals of the Edies.
There has been quite a bit of press about HBO's Grey Gardens recently. Read it all here. The creative processes of the filmmakers is really interesting to follow. Drew Barrymore, Jessica Lange, costume designer Catherine Thomas, and director Michael Sucsy have gotten quite a bit of press lately.
Understanding the time period in which the Beales lived should start with understanding Jacqueline Kennedy's prominence. Because Edie famously gave a house tour to Gail Sheehy, consider tracking down A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy.
Our Edies were well-educated and well-read. Countless cultural references pepper their speech. Dig into their cultural references to understand their tastes and their influences.
Actresses & Creative Team
Barrymore has had a long career as an actress and producer, but cites her role in Grey Gardens as her greatest challenge to date. It's hard to pinpoint just one of her films to recommend, but this raccoon's personal favorite is The Amy Fisher Story.
Barrymore is also known for her sense of humor, apparent in her many appearances on Saturday Night Life. Enjoy what may perhaps be the funniest sketch ever:
Jeanne Tripplehorn has had a few career missteps (notably Waterworld), but is now in her prime, starring in HBO's Big Love (which is penned by Dustin Lance Black, who gave that brilliant and touching Oscar acceptance speech). Tripplehorn plays Jackie Onassis, whom, if you're following these tips in order, you've already learned all about!
Director Michael Sucsy
This is Sucsy's first feature film, but he's directed commercials before. He's been interviewed quite a bit regarding Grey Gardens. The interview with The Advocate has been out for a while, and there's a new interview on HBO's site.
Production Designer Kalina Ivanov
Ivanov created a universe of retro cast-offs for Little Miss Sunshine, her best-known work. For Grey Gardens, she was given the challenge of recreating an existing world, but a world that hadn't been cataloged. She had to understand the taste and style of the world's inhabitants, and design accordingly.
If you're anything like me, you judge artistic interpretations of Grey Gardens very critically. The set for Grey Gardens the musical was nice, but the set for the first act didn't actually match the actual house. Be prepared to assess how well Kalina captured the house in her designs. Review these important details about the house's architecture in preparation for the film. (Although, supposedly she did a spot-on job recreating the house.)
Costume Designer Catherine Thomas
Her best-known work is for Kill Bill, a really great movie, but that may be changing once her work for HBO has been seen!
Cinematographer Mike Eley
Makeup Artist Bill Corso
One of the Oscar winners who worked on this production, Bill Corso won for transforming Jim Carrey in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Check that out, as well as his nominated work for Click.