Julie Christie: A Rustic and Rebellious Angel

Julie Christie: A Rustic and Rebellious Angel


Today is the birthday of Julie Christie, with whom Tenn had what he called a "passionate and tertiary" relationship. More than anything he wanted to write a part for her; failing that he would have liked to have been her friend: He sensed in her a loving and fair spirit. 

I am intrigued by the combination of the wild and the elegant within and about her. I think of her as a rustic and rebellious angel, because she is always doing good--fighting for the right things, against the right people--but always with a sweetness and a soundness that reveals how right she believes herself to be, how tireless she can be when she knows she is being of help to others. She is one of handful of actresses of whom it can be said that she is an agent of change.

She is now famous and beautiful and adored, so she will, by necessity, be diminished in the eyes of some, who may not know all of which she is capable. She is piercingly intelligent, so I would welcome anything she might do with a good part. Fame is lovely, and I wish it for everyone, but it can and it will seal beneath a pane of glass, imprisoning you in a Joseph Cornell--style shadow box. Julie moves more than others within this confinement, but she is confined.

This will change, I hope. I believe it will. She works and thinks and shares well. I have never left her--in the flesh or through a performance--without having been improved, transformed a bit. I kept for many years a photograph of her above my writing desk--not so much to evoke a character or fake some creative fog--but to think upon beautiful, natural things. Progress. Action. Control. Effect. She was inhabiting Thomas Hardy at the time, and she was inhabiting me.

I would like it if she were in my life, but I fear her bravery has its limits. 


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