Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Shoulda Coulda Wouldas #13: "Daughter of the Queen of Sheba"

As I mentioned in my last post from this section in May, I've been making some mental adjustments to my 'reimagined history' of Streep's screen career.  Having initially felt confident in it's inclusions and exclusions, I've begun realizing that the list of projects I would have loved for her to do is a bit more malleable than I had originally expected to consider.  With that in mind, I've selected another film that never actually got made for my newest Shoulda Coulda Woulda.

In 1997, Jacki Lyden, who at the time was a correspondent at NPR, published a memoir about her life growing up in the small town of Menomonee, WI and her relationship with her mentally-ill mother Dolores.  The book, entitled Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, was quickly a critical success, and within a month Meryl was revealed to be attached to play Dolores.  Obviously, the film has never made it to the screen, but after doing some research, I've learned that it came close several times.

Very little happened immediately after the initial announcement until 2001 when Gwyneth Paltrow signed on to portray Jacki.  Matt Williams was attached to direct, and Karen Croner (who penned One True Thing) adapted the screenplay.  Still, nothing moved forward.  Over the next several years, Reese Witherspoon and Amy Adams were both attached to star as well, but again, nothing.  Lyden discussed the difficulties of getting her story to the big screen as recently as 2009 (when Adams was set to portray her), and how she was still pushing to get it made.  Meryl's involvement was likely long forgotten by that point, but the powerful story remains an unfortunate missed opportunity.

I finished the book last week and was repeatedly left shaking my head at how interesting it would have been to see Meryl's interpretation of Dolores in the throes of her debilitating bipolar delusions. She is described as a beautiful, trim redhead, raised with few opportunities to forge her own path.  It reminded me a bit of Violet Weston (again likely borderline supporting), just not as mean.  Can you imagine Meryl at the age of 51 appearing on screen channeling an eccentric Rita Hayworth?  Read this book and you just might.

I would insert this film into 2001 and push Adaptation back to its original year of 2002.  A fall 2000 filming schedule seems reasonable, assuming Meryl would've been cool not having the break she enjoyed in that year.  Most people probably consider her three-year hiatus between movies from '99-'02 as a particularly long absence, but we need to remember that Music of the Heart wrapped in early 1999 and both Adaptation and The Hours were filmed in early 2001.  There were a handful of projects that never came to fruition during that time (Mary Stuart and Sheba notably), so assuming everything had come together within a few years of its announcement, 2001 seems just as good a year as any.  I've also struggled a bit with moving one of Meryl's Academy Award-nominated performance from its original release year (Adaptation), a problem solved by this substitution.

Who knows, maybe Ms. Lyden will still somehow manage to get it made.

                                              





Monday, July 27, 2015

New UK trailer for "Ricki and the Flash"

The Telegraph posted a new trailer for Ricki and the Flash this afternoon.  Unfortunately it's the only link I can find and no embed is available to copy and past the full video so the best I can do is provide the link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/ricki-and-the-flash/new-trailer/

First thoughts are that I think this trailer is a tad better than the first.  A bit better cadence with some of the one-liners.  Little time for music again, but I'm hoping the songs will be a helpful word-of-mouth positive when people eventually see the film.  Opens next week!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Meryl rumored to join Amy Schumer in follow up to "Trainwreck"

Multiple sources are reporting that Meryl is on the short list of names mentioned to possibly join Amy Schumer in a mother-daughter comedy.   Schumer, who can currently be seen in theaters starring in Trainwreck, has re-written a script with her sister about a mother and daughter who evidently get kidnapped while vacationing in Brazil.

This is very far from any confirmation of Meryl's participation, obviously.  Variety indicates that if a director signs on they hope to begin filming before the end of the year. As far as we know, Meryl's schedule is open.  However, we know that The Good House has been waiting in the wings for almost two years now.  As recently as February of this year, FilmNation reiterated that the film was set to begin production this year, following The Founder (which is currently filming).  Yes, Meryl mentioned months ago in one interview that she wouldn't be doing anything after Florence Foster Jenkins for a while, but that film has already wrapped and who knows whether she truly wants an extended break.

So what's the likely scenario?  If the untitled Schumer project has a great script, it could be a fantastic opportunity for Meryl to be in yet another box office hit.  I haven't seen Trainwreck, but it's opening weekend was fantastic and the trailer suggests it's hilarious.  Schumer is likewise a riot in interviews.  But if The Good House moves forward (please!) and Meryl stays on, I'm guessing it would happen this fall.  That would give Meryl at least two to three months break after finishing Florence.  

Alas, no director is yet attached to either film.  What if Meryl joins the Schumer pic, films it this fall and has that along with Florence for 2016, and then finally completes The Good House next year?  That could leave The Good House her lone project set for release in 2017, an original character in a potentially very dramatic story.  Streep has done a lot of comedy/lighter fare recently so I'd love to see her with a gripping performance in a outright drama.

As I say often on this blog...time will tell.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New clip from "Ricki and the Flash"

An extended clip of Meryl playing acoustic guitar and singing an original song from her upcoming film Ricki and the Flash was revealed earlier today:



So great to see and hear some singing!  With the film opening in just two weeks, we're starting to get some pretty regular news on it, with featurettes, clips and even a couple early screening reactions.  Ok, just that one reaction from Kelly Clarkson, but it was good.  We should expect to see Meryl on a few talk shows soon as well to promote the film.  Filming wrapped on Florence Foster Jenkins last week, so she is likely back in the states ready to hit the circuit.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New featurette for "Ricki and the Flash"

I came across a featurette this afternoon for Ricki and the Flash.  We get to see a few new clips as well as brief commentary from Meryl, director Jonathan Demme and screenwriter Diablo Cody.




The film will see it's world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival exactly two weeks from today and opens nationwide in theaters August 7.  I'm confident it won't make you sour, Katie...even if Meryl doesn't wear a chunky necklace.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"Ricki" to premiere in Switzerland, new posters for "Suffragette"

Double post.  Deadline is reporting that Ricki and the Flash will have its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland on August 5.  Bit of an unexpected choice I suppose, but the sooner the better so that we can start to get some reactions to the film and Meryl's performance.  The film hits the U.S. two days later.  I highly doubt Meryl will attend the Swiss premiere.

Yesterday, there were also a few new movie posters revealed for Suffragette, which include stars Helena Bonham, Carey Mulligan and of course, our girl.  I think they look great.  Can't wait for this pic as well.  It's getting a fair amount of buzz around the film blogs I've been perusing so I hope it lives up to the hype.  We can expect Suffragette to hit cinemas in the U.S. in late October.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

"Streep Tease" set to return

Streep Tease: An Evening of Meryl Streep Monologues Performed by an All-Male Cast is looking to reboot its popular run.  They happened to tweet me about their kickstarter campaign so I'm happy to oblige with a little ink and a few bucks in support.  I wasn't sure on the website if it's going to be held in L.A. or New York.  Either way, I may find myself taking an impromptu weekend trip sometime this fall if the project gets funded.  I never got a chance to see it in its earlier stagings.  Click here to support!