Diane Arbus

ADAPTED FROM the 1984 biography by Patricia Bosworth, the new Arbus biopic has been a long time coming—twenty-two years, to be exact. Bosworth’s article in the August issue of Vanity Fair, detailing the two-decade odyssey that brought her book to the screen—as Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, with Nicole Kidman in the title role—is a classic story of development hell, full of the Molièrian drollery that characterizes the genre. And yet, as I read her tale of dropped options, fired writers, litigation, and really bad ideas (The Singing Photographer, starring Barbra Streisand), I felt more trepidation than glee. For one thing, there was the subtitle. Earlier reports had stated that the film would be called Fur—a reference, presumably, to Russeks, the department store owned by Arbus’s father that specialized in mink, etc.—but the “imaginary portrait” part was new. Leaving aside the

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