Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

by Daniel Depp

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:36 am

Let's talk about Anna.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby Betty Sue » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:00 pm

Anna's another with a childhood horror imprinted on her who's trying to handle the ups and downs of her life and having a struggle. She was presented at first as a pretty neurotic self-centered drama queen, but she showed some good qualities as the story went on. :love:
I like that she was more eager about publicizing the old film at the old movie theater than she was about publicizing her own films. She was quick to take blame and offer to pay when one of the bodyguard kids got injured. She seemed to understand Spandau; she trusted him, felt maternal toward him and really cared about him. She cleverly set up the get-together between Vignon and Spandau and was a good opera friend to Special.
Spandau described her as one who climbs into a suit of armor cleverly described as a woman every morning and takes it off at night. She acts very uppity in Cannes but is actually so terrified by the influential folk that she throws up. She's pretty brave, though, about Perec being after her.
By the end she's hot again, would love to have Spandau, but I don't really have her figured out enough to guess what might come next for her. :perplexed:
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby Liz » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:01 pm

Good description, Betty Sue!
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby Bix » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:49 pm

Yes, great take on Anna, Betty Sue. I really liked what we finally learned about her, too. Her childhood, her father's suicide - all those went into making her who she is. Her fame made her someone she really isn't - but can't give up. I, for one, really like it that she was able to seduce Spandau, because I think it was very good therapy for both of them. I guess I just have to say that I think there is a good ol' Texas gal inside of Anna that I really like and who I think would be really good for Spandau. But. . .we'll see.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:56 pm

Very insightful answer, Betty Sue. :cool:

Bix, I like your comment that "fame made her into who she really isnt'."

I agree that when we first meet Anna she is a fearful, egotistical drama queen, self centered and tuned into to her public image, or lack thereof. When she lets Spandau in we see who she really is, which is still a bit self centered but we see her self confidence and probably the personality that got her to where she is in the movie business. I also agree that the sequence with her promoting the old film gives us a good glimpse into the real, younger Anna, who probably got into acting with lofty goals as an actress and became jaded by her experiences.

Just FYI...there will be a casting question but I do wonder what actresses or experiences Daniel could have based this characer on? Hollywood has not been kind to "older" actresses.

I know you Noodlemantras out there have opinions on this character? Did you like her, dislike her, find her believable?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby Liz » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:56 pm

I think that she is more rough around the edges and a bit reclusive, like he is. She is more damaged than Dee. So they might be right for each other.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby Liz » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:01 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Just FYI...there will be a casting question but I do wonder what actresses or experiences Daniel could have based this characer on? Hollywood has not been kind to "older" actresses.

The bookshop owner where I saw the book signing took issue with Daniel on the idea that actresses over 40 are has beens in the biz. But Daniel stood firm.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:03 am

OK. I have just a collection of impressions to offer.

That very first scene with Anna buying the nerve toxin doesn't fit up against the Anna we get to know. I don't see that level of desperation, something that would motivate a person to buy something so lethal. I do see someone who is remarkably defended, both in the way she holds herself and in her very witty highly acid commentaries on life.

I think she 'recognizes' Spandau. They share the early abuse, and both have adopted a similar posture of armour. I think she wonders about why she can see his pain so much more clearly. He is defended but obviously damaged, while she is likewise defended but far more deeply hidden, protected. She can't quite figure out why Spandau is emotionally staggering all over the place. I mean, she also HAS to be -- you don't buy a nerve toxin if you had a bad day -- but she's gifted at covering all of this from anyone's eyes.

She thinks "old" in a way that I found shocking. She's forty something and I find it horrifying that she has so internalizes the myth that a woman is past her prime if she isn't older than 35. I am aghast, speechless, at how deeply it's crippled her sense of herself.

I'm interested in the fact that she is so much more open to loving him. I think she is very taken by him as a man, that it doesn't bother her what he does for a living. Underneath the glamour she is exactly that girl from Texas. Would she find it as hard as Spandau did to love boundlessly? You get no sense of that -- her exchange with Andrei Levin is hysterical but also pretty cruel, no matter what kind of fool the man may be.

I'm not sure there's a future for Anna and Spandau.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:01 am

Did I find her believable? I guess not really. There is such a huge gap between the self-centered movie star and the down home Texas girl -- and I have trouble believing that she can completely be both persons at the same time. She seemed to morph into whatever a particular scene demanded her to be - rich spoiled start, aw shucks cowgirl, damsel in distress, spiteful sister, helpless romantic. I don't know, maybe we all change from the person we were growing up, but it is hard to believe in the flick of a switch we can go in and out of that old persona and change faces several times a day.
Did I like her? I don't think so. But I may still be holding on to some old loyalty to Dee.......which makes me think maybe Loser's Town was as well written as Babylon Nights after all.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:23 pm

Your analysis of Anna, nebraska, reminds me that her sister said Anna creates her own world, then sucks everyone into it.
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:12 pm

Just FYI...there will be a casting question but I do wonder what actresses or experiences Daniel could have based this characer on? Hollywood has not been kind to "older" actresses.

I know you Noodlemantras out there have opinions on this character? Did you like her, dislike her, find her believable?


What actresses? This is hard to say as we 'see' only what this industry of image wishes us to see. That said, I think of someone 'like' Elizabeth Taylor because of the mix of stunning beauty and earthiness. I would also throw in here actresses like Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck -- both of whom the author neatly fits into his text. The Anna in Babylon Nights is a powerful woman, someone capable of controlling how she is perceived. She is also wise about the world she walks in; she may be wounded but she still has a deep, clear sense of who she is, and she likes that person. She's a classic, she's emblematic no? So I think who he's describing could be any number of actresses who live in the intersection between vaunted image and gutting it out. What a gap to transverse on a daily basis. It brings to mind one of my favorite lines, "I just smile and bow and hope there's no damp spot on my ass from sweating on the plastic seat cushions."

Yeah, I like Anna. I think it's a great character study of woman who is equally in charge and helpless. She steers her image with great finess and yet she throws up every time she gets ready to "play herself". Yes, he is describing what it feels like to live inside this glowing, transfixing image we call the "Hollywood idol".

I do want lots and lots more about how it is that Anna, and perhaps all actresses of her standing, buy into this strange concept of 'old.' I want her, them, to fight this definition, to kick the bottom out of it, because strong women don't lose power as they age, they gain it. Think of Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, any number of very effective civil rights leaders who were women. Then also, mythology and fairy tales -- was Cinderella's stepmom weak or powerful, how about Snow White's lovely little piece of work? Go look at Shakespeare. So when do we get a chance to reform the myth in Hollywood? If as Camille Paglia says "The pagan past, never dead, flames again in our mystic hierarchies of stardom." Then how come Hollywood's required vision of women is so :censored: narrow, so constrained by age?
Last edited by fireflydances on Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby moviemom » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:08 pm

It's been a sort of code in Hollywood that once an actress hits a certain age like 35, the roles she "can" play HAVE to change. Fortunately there are several actresses are bucking that trend these days so it's changing. As for our fictional Anna, the reality is that she hasn't been offered the kinds of roles she wants to play and that she used to see in front of her nose. Even her fan base isn't what it once was and she feels lost. Anna takes being a star very seriously. I had to laugh when she says "...make a note to insult the :censored: somehow" when Mrs. Boyagain at the luncheon says "- of the last few decades." because it shows just how sensitive Anna was to her age.
Did I like her? Yes.
The year's no doubt, have changed me, sir. -- Sweeney Todd :sweeneysmile:

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby gemini » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:30 pm

Well, I purposely waited to post on this one because I had a feeling up front that I would not be among the majority. I wanted everyone to have their say first so I didn’t start with a negative vib. I didn’t like her at all. I think she was more of Daniels way of giving villains and minor characters likeable traits and adding flaws to the main characters. I think that is becoming his signature. She was a flawed main character.

I do agree with Nebraska that she came across second to Dee, but I think that was Daniels intention. Nebraska said “She seemed to morph into whatever a particular scene demanded her to be - rich spoiled start, aw shucks cowgirl, damsel in distress, spiteful sister, helpless romantic."
Yes, a bit like an actress, huh?

I liked her sister Pam better and was hoping Spandau would make a move on her. Maybe later. I thought the scene where Pam tells Spandau that Anna likes men and vice versa was telling. Anna is flaunting herself at Spandua as she gets out of the pool and tells her sister to go get the maid to serve coffee and sandwiches and Pam says “ Right away, And should I lay out your summer undergarments or would you prefer the flannel?” I thought her comeback was great and I immediately liked her. She is the real homegrown cowgirl.

Anna then says to Spandau that relatives can be neary as bad as the servant problem. That line made up my mind on her and even her flawed life from her father didn’t excuse her. ( Her sister doesn’t seem as damaged with the same upbringing.) Anna was too domineering and treated Spandau like a pet. Sure it’s great he got to sleep with her but was that such a big deal when it was made clear that she slept with anyone? I thought her stunt with Andre was more retaliation that he dropped her for someone else and she was doing the same to him with Spandau. Oh and she wouldn’t fire her handsome chauffeur for knocking up her maid because she was envious but she had to fire the maid. I think Spandau can do better.

Just to add my two cents on the feeling Daniel had that women over a certain age are out in Hollywood. That only applies if there only claim to fame is being a sex object. The ones who can act seem to hang in there even though there are less parts for women who aren’t a sex object. One of my biggest pet peeves is to have an aging man as the sex interest with a girl his daughters age. Not any more believable than the other way around in my opinion. So the question for Hollywood might be who are they aiming at selling the movie tickets too?
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:41 pm

One actress that popped into my mind was Faye Dunaway - no particular reason. Anna wasn't my favorite either, gemini but I think her experiences in the businees probably made her jaded and self centered.

gemini wrote:

Just to add my two cents on the feeling Daniel had that women over a certain age are out in Hollywood. That only applies if there only claim to fame is being a sex object. The ones who can act seem to hang in there even though there are less parts for women who aren’t a sex object. One of my biggest pet peeves is to have an aging man as the sex interest with a girl his daughters age. Not any more believable than the other way around in my opinion. So the question for Hollywood might be who are they aiming at selling the movie tickets too?


One of my pet peeves too. For an older man it's considered a catch to have a young girlfriend, for an older woman, she gets called a cougar - predatory. I do think there is a culture of youth in Hollywood and in the media in general. I love seeing actresses like Helen Mirren, Annette Benning and others who are actually working their craft.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #19 ~ Anna

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:51 pm

DITHOT wrotes: One actress that popped into my mind was Faye Dunaway - no particular reason.
Me too, but perhaps this one got in the brain via the book, quote "then -- Faye f**king Dunaway strolls out" and also "Faye Dunaway," repeated Kenny. "She's like f**king how old now?" (Both found pg. 9 Chapter 2)

EDIT: Adding photo of Sophia Loren at 76 years.
Image
I believe a large part of a strong woman's power is based on sex appeal. I don't think that an older woman should be denied that just because a bunch of old men like them young.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies


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