Gillian Anderson takes to film to show us Blanche’s former life
Anyone lucky enough to have seen A Streetcar Named Desire, as part of the NT Live series, will immediately understand the excitement in the news this month.
The X-Files actress has announced that she will direct, and star in, a film prequel all about Blanche DuBois’ life before arriving in New Orleans. Andrew O’Hagan has written the short film, entitled The Departure, as part of the Young Vic Shorts series, which aims to promote projects related to the productions going on in the theatre.
Blanche’s murky past is mentioned a lot in the play: from her relationship with her young husband, the loss of the plantation Belle Reve, and her reasons for leaving Laurel. Williams gave his character a history everybody seems to know but not really talk about. One must be hopeful that Anderson and O’Hagan will prove the perfect team to shed some light.
Every fan of the original play will have different opinions about the idea of a film prequel. The Young Vic Shorts series makes the choice of genre more obvious but we still must ask, is it appropriate to write more about Tennessee Williams’ timeless characters? This is a question critics and fans have been dealing with for years, with most coming down on the side of cautious optimism. We love the story created and we want to know more. Even in this case, where the details we will witness will be before the well-known scenes in New Orleans, audiences are keen to learn more about the characters and situations. Perhaps a new feature will give us another way to view the unfortunate character of Blanche, played so brilliantly by Anderson this year.
Additional pieces should be appropriate and give fans more of a story they crave, and in these cases are often huge successes. Just type ‘Pride and Prejudice sequels’ into Amazon and you can see the vast array of authors trying to expand on a much-loved classic love story and truly unforgettable characters. Just this week, we’ve heard we’ll be allowed back into J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world with the news of three more films to be released from 2016. Our culture is clearly not one to give up on something we’ve loved, and given the success of the play in 2014, it is not surprising that we’re asking for more.