Kim Hunter: Something Kazan Whispered

Interview with Kim Hunter
Conducted by James Grissom

I'm going to tell you what [Elia] Kazan said to me and to Vivien [Leigh] on one of those occasions when we were pulled to the side and had something whispered in our ears: He told us that the two of us--these two women--were attached to Stanley by cords as strong and as vital as the umbilical cord that kept us alive in the womb. Stanley provides Stella--through an emotional and physical cord--with life and promise and hope and pleasure. Stella never fit in at Belle Reve and the old word and proper ways. Stanley provides Blanche with a cord of salvation: He is a place to stay and another man who can take care of her. We both waited for more of an explanation, but Kazan stopped there and told us to make this physical. What? I asked. 'Make it physical," he said, and you can see that we did. When Marlon moves or tenses or snorts or laughs, the cord that attaches us to him causes us to move a bit or react or restrict. Stanley--and Marlon, God love him--kept us alive as characters, as actresses, as women. And this was something Kazan whispered to us.

© 2014  James Grissom


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