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We Can't Wait #1: Carol

[The Film Experience's "We Can't Wait" series, highlighting the most exciting prospects of the 2014 film year concludes with new contributor Matthew Eng (you loved his Jennifer Lawrence piece) on the latest from Todd Haynes, long absent from the big screen. Thank you to Amir for managing this anticipatory series! - Nathaniel]

Set in 1950s New York City and based on the classic yet long-neglected novel of the same name (originally published under the title "The Price of Salt") by Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr Ripley), Carol traces the blossoming lesbian romance between Carol, an older, dissatisfied housewife, and Therese, a young, infatuated shop girl. 

At long last, that magnificent maverick Todd Haynes makes his long-awaited return to the big screen, a full seven years after I’m Not There, with a sterling cast that includes soon-to-be two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (stepping in for Mia Wasikowska) as the film’s central couple, as well as the recently-announced Sarah Paulson as Blanchett’s gal pal. Phyllis Nagy (HBO’s Mrs. Harris) is scripting, and movie maestro Carter Burwell (FargoWhere the Wild Things Are) is scoring the thing.

Why We Can’t Wait
If only the directors you loved most were the ones who were most prolific. Yes, it’s probably harder for a filmmaker as gloriously provocative and fearlessly risk-taking as Todd Haynes to get a new project off the ground than it is for say, Woody Allen or Tyler Perry to. But the movies need Todd Haynes, who hasn’t exactly been napping in the years since I’m Not There, even though his last buzzed-about effort, the 2011 HBO miniseries adaptation of Mildred Pierce, is likely to be remembered more as a mega-sized Kate Winslet awards-magnet than it is as a feat of occasionally flat but more typically immersive and intelligent filmmaking.

Haynes has assembled a rich, actressexual-pleasing cast of actors for Carol, including his I’m Not There star Blanchett, who, with this and Blue Jasmine, seems poised to have something like a Jennifer Lawrence-year in 2014, with two buzzy, presumably Oscar-friendly performances within only two years of each other; Mara, who I’d like to continue her string of smart and striking work, in projects more deserving of her than unsavory slop like Side Effects; and Paulson, who was so indelibly tense and terrifying in 12 Years a Slave and whose current career surge is a delight to witness. Carol, which caused quite a stir during its initial publication in 1952 for its uninhibited and unashamed depictions of homosexuality and female agency, sounds like a perfect fit for Haynes, who is one of our most groundbreaking gay filmmakers . He's made a commendable career out of wrestling madly and marvelously with explicitly queer ideas of desire, obsession, and identity. Plus, the last time Haynes worked in a fifties milieu...

...need I say more?

But We Do Have to Wait
Filming hasn’t even begun yet, likely due to the fact that Cate Blanchett couldn’t possibly provide us with the most priceless acceptance speeches of this awards season and deliver yet another tremendous performance, right on the designer heels of Jasmine. But have no fear, shooting commences in the spring, in both New York and London, with the Weinsteins distributing and Haynes’ go-to collaborator Christine Vachon and her indie outlet Killer Film producing. A release date is still TBD, but so very highly anticipated. We may never stop having to wait those grueling five, six, or seven years betwen Todd Haynes creations  on the big screen. But when they do arrive, they make you wonder how your moviegoing life ever went on without them. 

The Complete List of "We Can't Wait" Titles
We'll be following all these titles closely this year! Which of your most awaited, didn't make our list?
01 Carol (TBA)
02 The Grand Budapest Hotel (March)
03 Foxcatcher (TBA)
04 Under the Skin (April)
05 Inherent Vice (TBA)
06 Into the Woods (Christmas)
07 Snowpiercer (TBA)
08 Nymphomaniac (March)
09 Boyhood (May)
10 Big Eyes  (TBA)
11 The Last 5 Years (TBA)
12 Gone Girl (Oct)
13 Can a Song Save Your Life (TBA)
14 Veronica Mars (March)
Runners Up:  How to Catch a Monster, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1,A Most Wanted Man, Godzilla, Untitled Public School Project, Tammy, Magic in the Moonlight, Far From the Madding Crowd, and Interstellar

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Reader Comments (19)

This sounds perfect. I'm usually much more skeptical of announced projects, but Haynes has more than proven himself and the cast.........I'm there just on the announcement.

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Ahhhh - of course it was going to Haynes! Haha. I wonder if this will really be a 2014 release, given the late shooting start and the distributor involved - but I sure hope it is. I'd actually forgotten all about this until I read that Kyle Chandler (COACH!) had been cast as Blanchett's husband, which is just a perfect little cherry on top of an already very attractive project.

Looking over this count down, it's pretty clear that 2014 has the potential to be an even better year than 2013. Screw all this death of cinema talk. Let the blockbusters dumb themselves down into irrelevancy - once you get past that there is incredible work being done at nearly every level of the industry and from every corner of the globe. Incredibly exciting stuff!

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSmith


My thoughts whenever I read casting news of this film.

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I knew this would be #1.

I really hope this gets Sarah Paulson some awards traction. But lord knows she'll be forgotten once Rooney Mara gets labeled supporting and vacuums up any awards traction there.

But I'm still hopeful. ;)

Either way, I'm super excited for this!

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I knew Carol was going to be included in the top 10 but I wasn't expecting it to snatch the number 1 spot.

Thank you! :)

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Kyle Chandler's really just the cherry on top of this delicious actress dessert of a cast. He was easily my favorite part of Wolf of Wall Street, and his delicate, deft touch with that abbreviated dad role in Spectacular Now is such a gorgeous example of making the most of any role, limited screen time be damned.

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Eng

Smith -- right? it's always so exciting when it's all ahead of us

Philip H -- UGH. you're so right. I'll stop even hoping for it now. sad face.

and KYLE CHANDLER, too? hadn't heard that and am now even more excited. he's so good in everything.

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

This is fine, but I was hoping The Imitation Game would be in here somewhere.

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

I'd much like an adaptation on The Suspension of Mercy as far as Highsmith works go.

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

this has been my most anticipated movie since it was announced... glad it TFE's as well. Haynes and Blanchett, no need to say more... but it keeps getting better with all the other additions to cast and crew.

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

Sounds great, not that much of a fan of Rooney Mara but with Cate in the lead and Kyle Chandler on board I can put up with a great deal. Hope they can come up with a better title. I can see thinking The Price of Salt is too obscure but Carol is blah and nondescript.

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

no release date? hasn't started filming?

in that case, my #1 is the reunion of the lovely laura linney and ruffy, directed by ang lee in an untitled film that hasn't been announced anywhere but in my mind

...but this sounds good too

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

par - you are the best

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

This is also my most anticipated film of the year for all the reasons you mention with Blanchett being perfect casting for this role and while I would have rather seen Wasikowska in the role Mara is ok. Paulson has been doing great work from Down with Love all the way to American Horror Story and while it is a smaller role still it should not be forgotten and maybe if Mara goes supporting more people could talk about Paulson because between her latest film and tv work it seems quite soon she will get that role that has everyone talking. Chandler will fit even though I wanted McGregor to do it. Can't more excited for the film and am expecting it to be ready for 2014 and hopefully we do not have to wait till 2015.

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

Therese/Mara could be as supporting as Hathaway in PRADA, anyway if people accepted Julia as supporting in AUGUST...

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

I dislike both Blanchett and Mara and yet I can't wait to see this movie! I love Paulson, though. It would have been nice if they had called it "Carol is the saltiest food".

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Sorry to be picky but they are actually filming in Cincinatti instead of NY and London!

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

God, I love The Price of Salt so much. It's my favorite Highsmith novel; well, that and People Who Knock on the Door, and Small g, and Strangers on a Train, and that later Highsmith novel where a guy is accused of being a Peeping Tom, but he really isn't (sort of). Actually Haynes and Highsmith are such a perfect matchup of director and novelist that I'm shocked this hasn't happened before.

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

I'm so excited for this and I really hope Sarah Paulson gets some much deserved recognition for this role, not a fan of roony and blanchet or the chandler guy, but I can't wait to see it.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelisa

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