Born James Slattery in Massapequa, Long Island, in 1944, Candy Darling transformed herself into a stunning blonde actress who in the mid-Sixties became an active player in New York’s “downtown” scene. In her passionate act of self-creation, Candy Darling mesmerized. A party fixture, she appeared in Warhol films, and Tennessee Williams cast her in a play. She was seen and written about, and then, before she turned 30, cancer claimed her life.
Using vintage footage and interviews old and new, and anchored by the presence of Candy’s very close friend, Jeremiah Newton, director James Rasin creates a critical and loving portrait of a singular and audacious life. With Jackie Curtis, Holly Woodlawn, Penny Arcade, Paul Morrissey, Fran Lebowitz, John Waters. Candy’s letters and diaries read by Chloë Sevigny. [Synopsis provided by New Directors/New Films]
Editor’s Note: This is one interview in a series profiling directors whose films are screening at the 2010 New Directors/New Films Festival.
“Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar”
Director/Writer: James Rasin
Producers: Elizabeth Bentley, Jeremiah Newton, Gill Holland
Director of photography: Martina Radwan
Music: Gerald Busby
Editor: Zachary Stuart-Pointer
“Beautiful Darling” producer Jeremiah Newton on what led him into the film world…
The first film that made an impression on me was Fellini’s “La Strada” that I saw on Million Dollar Movie on television during the 1950’s. Then, they would show the same film three times a day for a full week. I had the mumps and I watched it over a dozen times but never saw it again after that week. It became part of my soul. I knew that one day I would become involved in film. And films produced by William Castle, I was president of his Queens fan club!
Newton on why he chose to profile Candy…
In 1974, when she was in Cabrini Hospital here in NYC and terminally ill, my friend Candy Darling was unsure of what legacy she would leave, and I promised that one day I would do something that people would remember her by. It took me 36 years. In the 1996 film, “I Shot Andy Warhol” – I am one the the three writers, I asked director Mary Harron to put Candy’s character into the film, which she did. Now is the time for Candy, and people everywhere relate to her life and times and very being.
Newton’s biggest challenge in bringing “Beautiful Darling” to the screen…
Raising money. Finding an experienced producer which was a difficult and nearly an impossible thing to do. Film is a collaborative art – a democratic process. I learned a lot through my interviewing directors since 1982. That was my film education.
Newton on future projects…
Am writing two scripts. One about a group of friends on the Riviera in the 1920’s with dancer Isadora Duncan as the main character, the second one, a comedy, about a group of mob-widows entitled “House of Hits.”