EXCLUSIVE: Hari Nef (Transparent) is set to portray LGBTQ+ icon and Andy Warhol superstar Candy Darling in the as-yet-untitled biopic penned by Transparent writer Stephanie Kornick. Deadline exclusively announced the project in 2019.
Nef’s role encompasses Candy’s rise from childhood in Long Island beauty pageantry to her years alongside Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis as a member of the East Village experimental theater group, La Mama Etc., to starring in Warhol’s groundbreaking film, Women In Revolt.
Christian D. Bruun, Louis Spiegler, and Katrina Wolfe are producing alongside executive producer, Zackary Drucker (Transparent, Lady and the Dale). A director search is currently underway.
Although considered a cult figure by some, Candy has been a cultural touchstone for decades, inspiring the lyrics for songs by Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground, and St. Vincent, as well as a featured character in Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids.
“The dream was always to play Candy, and it is the honor of my life to get the chance to do it,” said Nef in an exclusive statement to Deadline. “Candy bridged the gap between her dreams and a reality stacked so consummately against her—a transsexual glamour girl and indie icon reigning over Warhol’s Manhattan and Nixon’s America. She burned fast, and bright. More than anything, she wanted to be taken seriously as an actress. She taught girls like me how to dream—perhaps even how to be at all. She’s the blueprint.”
Added producer Bruun, “Having Hari join team Candy is exciting for us in every way imaginable. We all knew that Candy’s story deserved to be told on film, but it’s truly amazing to imagine what Hari will bring to the role and we’re incredibly excited about embarking on this journey with her.”
To prepare for the role, Nef is not only reaching deep into her own life experiences but consulting with those who knew Candy well, including Jeremiah Newton, one of Candy’s best friends and an unofficial custodian of her legacy.
“In preparation for the role,” shared Nef, “I have consulted her friends, her diaries—every frame of celluloid I can find with her within it. I’m calling up theatre archives to read the scripts of the plays she performed downtown! Thankfully, the producers have already amassed a treasure trove of archival riches. We’re attacking it! I’m so excited!”
Up next for Nef is the release of Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie film and HBO’s The Idol from Sam Levinson. Other credits include Amazon originals, Transparent and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, HBO Max’s And Just Like That, and Sam Levinson’s Assassination Nation.
Nef is repped by The Gersh Agency and Untitled.