Not so long ago I began to hear that Gwyneth Paltrow was going to star in a TV or feature film biopic of the legendary film and cabaret icon, Marlene Dietrich. An awful idea, I thought. The only thing the two have in common that I can think of is that they’re blonde film stars. And Gwyneth doesn’t have the acting chops to even impersonate the German actress who shot to fame on the silver screen as Lola-Lola 80+ years ago…
I recently watched a little film, “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” (2008), adapted from a Tennessee Williams screenplay of the same name. Bryce Dallas Howard starred, with Ellen Burstyn and Ann-Margaret in cameo appearances.
In the film, Howard portrays the Memphis débutante daughter of a plantation owner. As the story, set during the 1920s, unfolded and I watched Howard, Dietrich began to come to mind. It’s not that they look alike exactly, but there’s something – some combination of cheekbones and audacity that brought Dietrich to mind. And I thought, now here’s someone who could do justice to Marlene Dietrich (god forbid a biopic is made – they are almost always just awful).
Bryce Dallas Howard seems to be something of a chameleon. And blonde, brunette or redhead…vampire, Southern belle or superhero’s moll, she’s the only one I’ve seen with the goods to deliver La Dietrich onscreen. More interesting, though, will be to watch her career (she’s appeared on Broadway and directed films as well as appeared before the camera) develop over the next several years.