Safe Sex

I woke up this morning happy to discover the lovely Mary Kaye Schilling had written a lovely riff on 5th Avenue, 5 AM in this week’s New York Magazine. Here’s the top of it:

On the morning the film began shooting—a chilly dawn, October 2, 1960—Audrey Hepburn was seated in a cab. She had big doubts about this role, right down to the Danish in a paper bag sitting beside her. She hated Danishes and had asked her director, Blake Edwards, if she could switch to an ice-cream cone; he said no, pointing out that it was breakfast, after all. When “Action!” was called, the taxi drove up Fifth Avenue and stopped on the corner of 57th Street. Hepburn—wearing sunglasses and a black Givenchy gown—stepped out of the car and paused on the curb to gaze up at Tiffany’s. In that moment, the actress, in the guise of Holly Golightly, created an indelible cinematic moment—and a new future for women. “No Holly, no Carrie Bradshaw, no Sex and the City,” says Sam Wasson, whose new book, Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m. (June 22), is about the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

A fascination with fascination is one way of describing Wasson’s interest in a film that not only captures the sedate elegance of a New York long gone, but that continues to entrance as a love story, a style manifesto, and a way to live. “It’s crossed generations in ways Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, and other cliché classics haven’t,” says Wasson, who unearths such juicy tidbits as the near-cutting of the indelible theme song “Moon River,” the utter dickishness of co-star George Peppard, who played the love interest, and the protest over Mickey Rooney portraying a Japanese man. Wasson wanted to know the reason for its cultural longevity, and once he started asking, the inevitable answer was Audrey Hepburn. But something about the idolatry bugged him. “Hepburn has become a near-saintly figure, untouchable. That didn’t sit well with me. I thought there was a human being there who needed to be looked at.”

For the rest, please check out New York Magazine.

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3 responses to “Safe Sex

  1. catwomanbyday

    I can’t wait to read your book! I’m in France right now, but if I don’t find it here (and in English) by the end of the summer, I’ll get it when I return to L.A. I love Audrey, and being an actress myself, every time I see her I just think “is it even possible anymore to be a star like her?” Breakfast at Tiffany’s was the movie that assured me as a teenager that being tall, skinny, and brunette didn’t disqualify you from being an actress. Every new peek at her gives me more inspiration to persevere. I can’t wait to read what you’ve found.

  2. Oh wow well I hope you like the book! Of course there were always tall and skinny brunettes on the screen, but none with Audrey’s impact. The reasons why are too complicated to go into here, so you just have to take my word for it that you will learn all reading the book.

  3. My own theory, after years of digging up all the info I could get my paws on, is that she simply enchanted people. 🙂 She was kind and courteous, worked hard, didn’t try to be difficult, was a woman that other women would want to be friends with, and a man would want to take care of. I think she was a very grateful and loving person, and shared a lot of herself on-screen. So giving… gave away her wedding dress to a poor Italian girl, gave a bike to a friend of my orthodontist… lol. She’s an inspiring person…. wish I could have met her. Her son is sweet. 🙂

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