The Hollywood Exclusive: Jeremy Irons Defends Alfred Stieglitz, Applauds Joan Allen
by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith
Jeremy Irons, who plays the world-renowned photographer Alfred Stieglitz in Lifetime’s Sept. 19-debuting “Georgia O’Keeffe,” comes to the defense of the man with whom O’Keefe engaged in a turbulent 20-year relationship.
The Oscar, Emmy and Tony-award-winning actor declares, “Stieglitz was difficult, but forgivable. O’Keeffe loved him until the day he died. I do think creative people like she need a partner who excites them deeply, and that person does not have to be the easiest to live with. I wonder if she would have become a great artist without him. Sometimes we need a thorn to make us realize our greatness.”
Irons continues, “Granted, Stieglitz was difficult to live with. He had a record of picking talent for his art gallery and controlling them until it got so bad, they moved on. Georgia had to go to New Mexico to get away from him, but she never stopped loving him.”
Irons has nothing but kudos for his leading lady. “Joan Allen was born to play Georgia O’Keeffe,” he says. And, he adds, the story of O’Keeffe and Stieglitz was born to be made. He just can’t understand why it took so long to make it.
“It was shopped around for about seven or eight years as a motion picture and could never find a taker,” he reveals. And then, he notes, “It was offered to HBO and they turned it down. That was a shame. It was a big mistake. I must tell you, when I saw the completed film, I was thrilled.”