Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy’s collaboration with director Todd Haynes in Carol is, as the oft-used phrased goes, a match made in heaven. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, the 1950s set novel centers on a Manhattan store clerk (Rooney Mara) who is instantly bewitched by Carol (Cate Blanchett), a sophisticated, charming yet unhappily married woman. That instant connection between the two is that rarest of occurrences, and both attempt to hold onto that bond even though Carol’s familial obligations is of utmost importance.

Nagy’s writing and directing efforts for 2005’s Mrs. Harris was highly celebrated (the film garnered 12 Emmy nominations), but it still took Nagy years to see her adaptation of Highsmith’s work hit the screen. Since 1996, the scribe has collaborated with different filmmakers and actors, but when Haynes (Far From Heaven, Mildred Pierce) came on board the momentum swung in Nagy’s favor.

Nagy, who befriended Patricia Highsmith while on assignment, talked about her appreciation for the late author’s body of work. “Her books are quite singular in the annals of crime fiction, for lack of a better term,” said Nagy. “In that she examined issues of guilt and lack thereof, and it’s the same thing she does in The Price of Salt, but in a very different way. She uses the profound lack of guilt of both of those women, about who they are, or what their sexual choices are, to examine much larger issues in the society.”

In the audio below, Nagy talks about her “fortuitous” collaboration with director Todd Haynes:

Carol is now playing in select theaters.

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Posted By: Greg Srisavasdi