When Carol first got announced to the world, it seemed like the perfect package to make for an important movie. Its script was an adaptation of a novel from famed writer Patricia Highsmith, called “The Price of Salt,” which is considered to be one of the seminal pieces of gay fiction. Its director was Todd Haynes, the interesting voice behind projects like Velvet Goldmine and I’m Not There. And, perhaps most importantly, it cast two of our strongest working actors today, Cate Blanchett and Mia Wasikowska, as the two women who make a connection over the course of the film. That’s what the project used to look like, but today there’s some good news and some bad news about how it’s been coming together.
The good news is that every element that made the film look so promising except for one is still in place. The bad new is that Mia Wasikowska can no longer play the younger of our onscreen lovers, Therese. Don’t let that upset you too much though, because along with the news that Wasikowska is no longer in the film comes a little bit of sugar to help the medicine go down. It’s also been announced [via Screen Daily] that a replacement has already been found for her, and wouldn’t you know it, they got another one of the best and most high-profile actresses working today to step in and do the job, Rooney Mara.
Everyone remembers Mara for her memorable turn in David Fincher’s English language remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, where she somehow pulled off the herculean task of matching Noomi Rapace’s already iconic portrayal of the Lisbeth Salander character from the original and avoided making fans of the property fighting mad. For an idea of what she’s going to be doing in this film, let’s take another look at its plot.
Carol will see Mara playing an aspiring set designer and current department store employee named Therese who’s living in 50s era New York. One day while at work she becomes struck by an elegant, slightly older woman who buys some things in the store, and on a whim she sends a correspondence to her home. This older woman is the title character, Blanchett’s character, who happens to be stuck in a loveless marriage and is in something of a rut. On a similar whim she responds to the strange correspondence from the little shop girl, and before you know it a romance begins to blossom. This being the stuffy 50s though, lesbian romances aren’t exactly the sort of thing that people are wont to accept, so things get more dramatic from there. Especially after Carol’s husband catches wind of what’s going on and gets involved. Then things get downright heartbreaking.
Thank heavens they found another actress who seems like she has the stuff to match Blanchett’s intensity on screen for this one. With a lesser actress wilting in her presence, it just wouldn’t have had the same appeal. Game on.