Although there are many noteworthy facts about topic of the film, Drew who plays the character of Little "Edie" Bouvier Beale wears historically accurate turbans on her head, just as the real Little Edie did during the original Grey Gardens documentary.
The turbans are noteworthy because they were worn by the real Little Edie to cover her accelerating hair loss and because she created the head wraps from a wide range of scarves and other eclectic clothing pieces.
The new HBO film was designed to be an independent work loosely based on the original Greg Gardens documentary film created in 1975 by the direction/cinematography/editing team of Albert and David Maysles, Susan Froemke, Ellen Hovde, and Muffie Meyer.
The original 1975 film, which was controversial at the time, depicted the everyday lives of two women who lived at Grey Gardens, a decrepit 28-room mansion at 3 West End Avenue in the wealthy Georgica Pond neighborhood of East Hampton, New York.
The two women in question were direct relatives of Jackie Bouvier Kennedy. Edith "Big Edie" Ewing Bouvier Beale (Jessica Lange) and her daughter Edith "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale (Drew Barrymore) were the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.
The mother/daughter combo lived together at Grey Gardens in squalor and almost total isolation.
In the Fall of 1971 and throughout 1972, their living conditions were exposed in the media as the result of an article in the National Enquirer and a cover story in New York magazine after a series of inspections (which the Beales called "raids") by the Suffolk County Health Department.
Reason For Grey Gardens Name
The house itself, a traditional shingled cottage of 14 rooms and 3 bathrooms, was designed by Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe in 1897 and completed several years later.
The grey color of the dunes, the hue of the cement garden walls, and the sea mist gave the garden its color and the house its name.
(Image of Jessica Lange as Big Edie Bouvier Beale in HBO's Grey Gardens - 4/18/09 - All Rights Reserved).
With the two Beale women facing eviction and the razing of their home, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and her sister, Lee Bouvier Radziwill, provided the necessary funds to stabilize and repair the dilapidated house so that it would meet Village codes in the Summer of 1972.
Death Of Big Edie And Sale Of Gray Gardens
According to a 2003 article in Town & Country, the building and grounds have been completely restored. Philanthropist Frances Hayward currently rents the home 11 months out of the year from the Bradlees. "Little Edie" died in 2002 at the age of 84.
(Image of Drew Barrymore as Little Edie Bouvier Beale in HBO's Grey Gardens - 4/18/09 - All Rights Reserved).
The handyman shown in the documentary, Jerry Torre (or The Marble Faun), was sought by the filmmakers for years afterward, and was found by chance driving a New York City taxicab.
One of the two birthday party guests in the film, Lois Wright, has hosted a public television show in East Hampton since the 1980s, and has written a book about her experiences at the house with the Beales.
In 2006, Albert Maysles made available previously unreleased footage for a special 2-disc edition for the Criterion Collection, including a new feature titled The Beales of Grey Gardens which also received a limited theatrical release.
(Image of Grey Gardens from HBO Film - All Rights Reserved).
Walter Newkirk, longtime friend of Little Edie, released an interview he did with her during his college days.
A CD of the interview titled Little Edie Live! A Visit To Grey Gardens, the CD is currently available, and has been followed (Spring 2008) with a scrapbook memory of the friendship he shared with her over several decades. The book is titled memoraBEALEia.
HBO AdaptionGrey Gardens, a film for HBO, starring Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore as the Edies, with Jeanne Tripplehorn as Jacqueline Kennedy, and Daniel Baldwin as Julius Krug. Directed and co-written (with Patricia Rozema) by filmmaker Michael Sucsy, it began filming on October 22, 2007 in Toronto. It is scheduled to air on HBO on April 18, 2009.
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