Actors typically commit to a film project when they comfortably know who will be in the director’s chair, however, screenwriter Phyllis Nagy’s screenplay for Carol, the feature adaption of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price Of Salt, was so riveting, Cate Blanchett immediately committed. The project, which started with UK vets Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen, lingered for about 15 years. “Once Todd (Haynes) became attached,” Blanchett told Deadline, “then we had a movie.” Haynes, who directed Blanchett in an Oscar-nominated turn as Bob Dylan in 2007’s I’m Not There, credits his costume designer Sandy Powell for bringing Carol to his attention.
The story which follows the taboo, tortured romance between an older and younger woman, marked a return for Haynes to the socially conservative 1950s, a backdrop he previously deconstructed in the 2002 film Far From Heaven, which centered around a Connecticut suburban wife’s friendship with an African American. In directing both Blanchett and Mara, Haynes used a mood book to show the actresses a 360 perspective on how their characters were meant to dwell in 1950s New York.
Haynes, Blanchett and Mara sat down with Deadline to talk about Carol the afternoon following their premiere, where they received a rip-roaring standing ovation.