Vanity Fair has released three “Cabaret” photoshoots online and Emma revealed to them that she always wanted to play Sally Bowles since she was 10 years-old.
Christopher Isherwood’s creation Sally Bowles has passed through as many incarnations as a Hindu goddess, each time retaining her essential attributes—green nails, ratty furs, and those stomach-turning prairie oysters. First there was Jean Ross, the British novelist’s real-life Berlin roommate and literary inspiration. Out of her the writer confected Sally, the heroine of Goodbye to Berlin (1939), a flamboyant vixen with a face “powdered dead white.” In John Van Druten’s 1951 play, I Am a Camera, the quirky chanteuse was channeled by Julie Harris, whom Isherwood decreed “more essentially Sally Bowles than the Sally of my book.” Next, with the release of the 1972 movie musical Cabaret, Liza Minnelli took temporary possession of Sally’s flighty soul. But Sally’s mercurial spirit has since migrated to Molly Ringwald, Brooke Shields, Michelle Williams, and now, starting November 11 at the Roundabout Theatre’s Studio 54, in New York, Emma Stone. “I’ve wanted to play Sally Bowles since I was 10, when I saw Natasha Richardson in Cabaret,” says the 26-year-old Broadway newcomer, who earned a 2010 Golden Globe nomination for Easy A. “Rob Marshall”—co-director, with Sam Mendes, of the current production—“said to me that Sally is like Hamlet for women.” Cabaret’s ongoing Emcee, Alan Cumming (for whom Emma Stone is Sally No. 6), explains, “It’s unusual for young actresses to get such completeness in a role. Sally is vulnerable, tragic, funny, unlikable, heartbreaking. And then she gets whacked across the face with an epiphany.” Stone adds, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so truly obsessed with a character or a story. I can’t believe this is actually happening!”