Imagine A Gay….Okay, A Bisexual Daniel Plainview, Egomaniacally Swaggering Around Midtown Manhattan of The ’50s Rather Than Oil Fields of California

This morning Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan posted a sensible-sounding speculation piece about the ’50s fashion drama that Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day Lewis are going to make. Buchanan believes the film will be about the legendary egomaniacal fashion designer Charles James (1906-1978), who, to judge by a recent A.G. Nauta character profile, didn’t give a shit about anything or anyone except what he wanted, what he dreamt of and needed to create, and where his hunger for conquest and excitement led him.


A Dali-esque portrait of designer Charles James, snapped sometime in (I’m guessing) the 1930s, as James appears to be no older than 30 here and was born in ’06.

In short, Anderson and Lewis may (I say “may”) be contemplating a revisit to the terrain of crazy Daniel Plainview, only this time with a gay Plainview doing whatever and conquering whomever (including the occasional woman) amid the metaphorical oil fields of midtown Manhattan in the 1950s. Instead of “I drink your milkshake!”, think “I swallow your horse cock while designing a dress for Babe Paley!….viff-viff-viff-viff-viff!”

Excerpt from A.G. Nauta Couture profile: “Charles James was, in short, an egomaniac. He considered himself an artist rather than a dressmaker, and was so strongly attached to his creations that he felt they ultimately belonged to him. He would borrow back a dress from one client, only to lend it to another; or, worse, loan it out for an advertising campaign for feminine products.

“At minimum eccentricity, the darkly handsome designer—who was said to have been an excellent model for his own work—might don a finished gown and dance all night in his apartment above the Chelsea Hotel before handing it over…if he handed it over at all. He did not let go of his creations easily. He made his clients pay, sometimes twice for the same gown, and sometimes for a garment he had also promised another client. He was notorious for not having garments delivered on time.”

  • otto

    If true, I am almost as excited about DDL playing this role as I am with the possibility that PTA would make something set outside of the west. Perhaps a NYC setting will jar him into making something a little less self indulgent.

    • cyanic

      Isn’t the purpose of being an auteur being self-indulgent?

      • otto

        Maybe so. But PTA used to be an auteur whose interest in being idiosyncratic did not consume or overwhelm a film. Which is where he was at with Vice, IMO.

        • Pete Miesel

          And let’s be honest here, with the Master as well.

          • Magga

            Film of the decade

            • Pete Miesel

              Man, I just did not get it. Well acted, well shot, but it was way to opaque for its own good.

              • Magga

                First time, it was all about the score and the look and the performances, but on second watch everything clicked for me. All the scientology stuff is just background for a great relationship movie. And its so full of memorable moments, and I can put it on at any time and just lose myself in it. I haven’t felt compelled to re-watch Inherent Vice, but maybe it’ll click someday too. It’s the only Anderson film I’m not a mega-fan of

                • Pete Miesel

                  Given Hoffman’s rapidly deteriorating state at that time, it is amazing he uncorked that performance, I’ll grant you that.

                • Ben Kabak

                  Vice is better upon a 2nd viewing.

                  • blake011

                    no it isn’t

                  • Magga

                    Cool!

          • otto

            I didn’t mind the Master as much, because I thought it had elements that were outstanding, even if the story on the whole didn’t wow me.

            Made by someone else, the Master would be a nice accomplishment. But PTA set himself a high bar with BN and especially Magnolia, so he gets graded harder.

        • cyanic

          Consuming and overwhelming a film puts him in a different league than your typical and celebrated auteur who has an idiosyncratic style on top of a pretty standard movie.

  • blake011

    I wonder if this will actually happen.

    Wells have you heard any inside knowledge that this is more than a sort of maybe?

    • Naah….just riffing off of what Kyle Buchanan wrote.

      • blake011

        I see. I do find it interesting that the Variety story indicates that Megan Ellison is financing. Only because she passed on Vice and I can’t imagine she made money from The Master. Curious what got her interested.

        • Jeff

          DDL is Oscar bait and Vice was not. He’s been nominated for 3 of his last 4 big swings and won twice. It’ll also be I believe his first movie since 2012.

        • cyanic

          Ellison is proud of The Master despite it being a money loser.

  • Timmo

    “I swallow your horse cock while designing a dress for Babe Paley!….viff-viff-viff-viff-viff!”

    Day-Lewis is so good he could probably deliver even THIS line with aplomb.

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    • My God, it just occurred to me how spectacular it would be to see DDL play Jeff Wells in all his parking-garage-ranting, food-court-seething, ski-bum-resenting, road-rage glory.

      • Timmo

        Daniel Day-Lewis IS Jeffrey Wells IN…

        HIGH THREAD COUNT

        Movie climaxes with a ranting DDL as Wells finally confronting the Hispanic party elephants with a bowling pin.

        • “I see the worst in people, Zak. I don’t need to look past seeing them to get all I need. I’ve built up my hatreds over the years, little by little. Having you here gives me a second breath of life. I can’t keep doing this on my own. With these…beefalos.”

  • Regular Joe

    After INHERENT VICE (parts I liked, but still a strange mess), this feels like a palate cleanser. Polish up that 4th Best Actor Oscar, folks!!!

  • Noiresque

    “A Bisexual Daniel Plainview, Egomaniacally Swaggering Around Midtown Manhattan”

    I can’t imagine anything I want to watch less.

  • gatsby1040

    Though Inherent Vice is quicksand studded with diamonds, The Master is arguably even better than There Will Be Blood. And both are top ten for this millennium. This is at the top of my watchlist for the next two years.

  • LambroMD

    Wow, this sounds dull. Pinocchio with RDJ sounded bad too but now I am actually rooting for PTA to sell out and make some studio bullshit. It’d be way more interesting.

  • Hardcore Henry V

    “Instead of ‘I drink your milkshake!,’ think ‘I swallow your horse cock while designing a dress for Babe Paley!….viff-viff-viff-viff-viff!’ ”

    This desperately begs the question: is it possible to ban a man from his own site??

    • THOM PHOOLERY SAYS…

      And why bring the Vancouver International Film Festival into it?

      • Hardcore Henry V

        Because what’s better than traveling north while going south on someone?