Brando on Dianne Wiest: Gloriously Dangerous

"Gadg [Kazan] gave me a piece of direction in Streetcar that helped me with my relationship with Blanche--and with Jessica [Tandy]. I could never understand the attraction/repulsion that existed between Stanley and Blanche: I kept looking for what Tenn called the bold, black outline around the relationship, around each scene. Of course, no such lines exist in life--we are always maddeningly unclear, maddeningly inconsistent. Still, I couldn't manage the relationship, and the scenes were rocky. Kazan took me aside and told me that I should think of Blanche as an exquisite, delicate, priceless piece of china--a cup, perhaps, that had once been held by a member of French royalty--and it has been entrusted to my care. I am hesitant but curious: What do I do with this thing? I wonder at its cost; I wonder if it might ultimately be a gift to me and my wife. Whatever it may be worth will help with the costs of the baby and the new apartment we'll need. I stare at the cup; I think about those who held it, used it. I place it in different places around the apartment, seeing how it looks in various nooks and various lights. And then--sooner than I thought--I become impatient with the care of this cup. Nothing has been said about its future; no thanks have come to me for the maintenance. I resent the tender steps we must take around this cup; the silences that are necessary in the vicinity of its delicacy. I want the cup out of the apartment, out of my sight. It is too much trouble for too little reward, and its honor has replaced whatever kindnesses I might have wanted for myself. So I ask that it be removed, taken to a safer place. I am ignored. So I smash the cup. I throw it against the wall that is my rage and my envy. But before I do this, I sit in my apartment, in my sweaty, dirty shirt, and I enjoy a drink from this cup. A French king may have once had his tea from this cup, and I now enjoy a Schlitz from this tiny jewel of a cup. I use the cup before I destroy it. I take pleasure from it before I take control of it. That is how Kazan helped me understand and treat Blanche. I think that Dianne is like this fragile, priceless cup, but I want to keep putting it in different lights and places, and right when I think I understand the uses of this cup--I mean how many things can you do with a cup?--she surprises me with the utilities she can produce from within the cup she provides. There are various things coming from this seemingly fragile cup, and I am tense around it--not because I have no trust of how she will handle her fragile contours--and there are bold, black lines around her intentions--but because there is peril, there is surprise. We must get the cup to a safe place, we must get it across the room--the play, the film--and to a new place. It always happens; she is always safe. The journey is gloriously dangerous, however. I took a long time to say I study and respect her work, didn't I? But I got across the room."


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