Much Ado About an Earring

PlayBlog   Much Ado About an Earring
In the day of "Avatar," what chance has a frail little Southern belle of a film that calls itself "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond" — even when it's buoyed a bit by having the name of the author go before the title? That name, you quickly recognize from the Southern-fried formality of the palaver going on, is the late Tennessee Williams.

"Loss" is a found Williams screenplay that has been filmed 52 years after it was written. The filmmaker is one of his Laura Wingfields-turned-late-blooming director, Jodie Markell.

The titles of Tennessee Williams' works, proffers Markell, "are usually phrases that aren't really what the story is about — Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire — poetic phrases that you can dream on. At one point, it does become a plot point, and much is made of it, but it's really Southern, I think, to exaggerate. I think there's a lot of humor in that. It's very endearing that these people are standing around in a driveway talking about a lost earring for so long. It's not a plot in the same way people are writing plots and screenplays today."

Bryce Dallas Howard, who sports these $10,000 earrings ever-so-briefly here in this '20s-vintage Dixie dustup, is the daughter of producer-director Ron Howard — she was conceived in Dallas, if you have to know — and, being her daddy's daughter, she is trying her hand at producing an untitled Gus Van Sant project currently before the cameras. It has a script she likes by Jason Lew.

But the on-camera work continues. She'll soon debut in the "Twilight" quartet of films at Chapter Three level — "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" — assuming the role of Victoria, played in the previous two installments by Rachelle Lefevre. "And then I'm going to be in Clint Eastwood's next film, called 'Hereafter,' which I will be shooting in January with Matt Damon."

Howard's New York theatre bow was a baptism by fire — House & Garden, a diptych (or linked pair) of plays by Alan Ayckbourn performed simultaneously on Manhattan Theatre Club's two City Center stages. "I just couldn't believe I was being asked to do it because I'd never done professional theatre before — then, I realized I was doing not one show but two. It was like being thrown into the deep end."

She did As You Like It at The Public, a Roundabout Tartuffe and Our Town regionally — then we lost her to the grip of Hollywood. She married there (actor Seth Gabel), and their son Theo turns three Feb. 16. "Uprooting the family will always be a thing to contend with, but, if I'm invited back, I might . . ."

To read more about "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond," read's January Stage to Screens column.

— Harry Haun

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