Sunday, October 23, 2016

Colin Firth joining "Mary Poppins Returns"

A few days ago, multiple sources reported that Colin Firth is in talks to join Mary Poppins Returns.  Firth's character is expected to be that of William Weatherall Wilkins, the president of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, a role that I doubt will be substantial in size, possibly even the caliber of a cameo.  Meryl of course worked with Firth on Mamma Mia! in 2008, so it'll be nice to see the pair reunited on screen.  No word yet, however, if the two share any scenes.

The cast is rounding out nicely, with the following list taken from IMDb:

Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins)
Meryl Streep (Topsy)
Ben Whishaw (Michael Banks)
Emily Mortimer (Jane Banks)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Jack)
Christian Dixon (The Milkman)
Colin Firth (William Weatherall Wilkins)
*cameos by both Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are expected

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Meryl attends Rome International Film Festival

Today Meryl walked the red carpet at the Rome International Film Festival, promoting the Italian premiere of Florence Foster Jenkins. 

Looking good as always, Mer.  The Hollywood Reporter's article covering Streep's appearance quoted her making a few comments about the current U.S. presidential election.  As we know, Meryl has been vocal about her support for Hillary Clinton, and in the interview, she doesn't hold back on what she thinks of Donald Trump:

    "I don't feel that I have to make any further pronouncements on the sexism of the Trump campaign.  I think they're doing a very good job on their own. Or he's doing a good job on his own. I'm not sure his campaign knows quite what to make of it, but I feel in 20 days we'll have a President Hillary Rodham Clinton, president of the United States, and all this will be moot."

Love her.  Streep further lent her hand this week in drawing criticism to Trump for his treatment of women in a 'Humanity for Hillary' commercial.  She's literally in it for two seconds starting at 2:25.

I don't usually give a ton of coverage on this blog to Meryl's political leanings, but I think in this case it bears a shout-out.  #I'mWithHer

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Update on reading "The Nix"-part 2

I'm sort of taking my time with this book (fall is busy!) so it's been a while since I've posted about what we might be able to expect from Meryl's possible character, Faye Andresen-Anderson.  Yup, that's her full name.  As I mentioned in my last post about the novel, after a third of the way through it I was a bit surprised by how little of 60 year-old Faye was actually in it.  Well, I'm currently on page 474 of the 620 page book and we've had zero additional time for Meryl's role since my last post.  The character of Faye is in it a fair amount shortly before this point in the book, but it's college student-age Faye.  Much of the story is background on the characters going all the way back to the late 1960's.

So, there's not really much more to tell about what me might be able to expect from Meryl, but fear not.  The chapter I'm about to read jumps us back to 2011 where 60 year-old Faye is front and center, so I'm guessing and hoping that much of the remaining quarter of the book heavily involves her and her son, Samuel.  We've gotten much or all of the backstory so what's left to learn we hopefully hear from Faye herself.  It should be good.  

Considering that such a large novel unexpectedly provides a rather modest role for Meryl's character, I wonder if the TV development will be planned more like I remember Game Change being for HBO.  I read that book prior to the adaptation and if memory serves, less than a third of it was about Sarah Palin; the majority was about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but the film version strongly centered on Palin.   We don't know how many episodes The Nix will have, but I think it's possible that they will pare down the novel to focus much of it on the second half, considering the announcement of the project included Meryl's involvement.  That said, I think it is very possible, if not probable, that one or two episodes wouldn't involve Meryl at all.  

I'm very much looking forward to finishing up the book over the next few days so I'll be able to get a better sense of how Meryl might approach Faye.  Stay tuned.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"Florence Foster Jenkins" officially coming to video in December

Broadway World reported yesterday that Florence Foster Jenkins will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on December 13.  The digital HD release is a couple weeks earlier, November 29.  Interestingly, the Blu-ray/DVD release is sandwiched right between the Golden Globe and SAG nominations announcements, which happen to take place on December 12 and 14, respectively.  Not an accident, I presume.

Click on the link above to get more detail on the special features that are attached to the home video release.  Hopefully Meryl will at the very least receive a Globe nom, which will help with marketing.  Hard to believe these nominations come out in just two months!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Updates on "Mary Poppins Returns"

I've been a bit lax in my coverage of Mary Poppins Returns, partly because I'm annoyed that for a while this was the only real project we had to look forward to, and partly because Meryl isn't really expected to have very substantial role.  But it's worth keeping track of the project, as a few updates have taken place regarding the casting and filming schedules.

Emily Mortimer reportedly joined the cast this week as Jane Banks, rounding out the main characters.  Emily Blunt, who is in place to portray Mary Poppins, gave several interviews this week to promote The Girl on the Train, and in them discussed a bit about Mary Poppins Returns.  She described that rehearsals will begin in November, which suggests filming will begin within a couple months afterward.  Considering the release date is already set for Christmas Day 2018, we're likely looking at an extensive post-production period.  I'm guessing the special effects may be substantial.

As we know, Meryl has been cast as Poppins's cousin Topsy Turvy, a role that is not expected to be particularly large.  With that in mind, it'll be interesting to learn exactly how much time Meryl is going to have to devote to filming.  If her time commitment is modest, it would certainly provide for participation in other projects.  Again, understanding that The Nix limited series is not a sure thing, we don't have a great understanding on when actual shooting would take place.  More to come on that soon, hopefully.  I'd also like to re-open the question of what people think the likelihood would be if Meryl had been officially cast in Saving Mr. Banks a few years ago that she would now be doing this role.  Are the two projects too similar?  I personally think she would still do Poppins, because my guess is that it's more about working with director Rob Marshall again, after having starred in Into the Woods under his helm.

As we impatiently wait for news about various projects, here's the updated cast list for Mary Poppins Returns:

Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins)
Meryl Streep (Topsy)
Ben Whishaw (Michael Banks)
Emily Mortimer (Jane Banks)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Jack)
*cameos by both Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are expected

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

"Florence Foster Jenkins" maxed out

I think it's safe to say that the 'stats' for Florence Foster Jenkins have reached their peak.  With 176 reviews counted on Rotten Tomatoes, the film sits at a strong 86%.  Its score on Metacritic rests at 71 (generally favorable reviews), with 46 counted.  A handful of theaters are still showing the movie across the U.S., but with a box office haul of $27.1 million as of yesterday, it likely will not reach $28m.  The receipts are just barely better than last year's Ricki and the Flash ($26.8m), but the critic responses fared much better for Florence, which bodes well for Meryl's chances at awards recognition.  DVD/Blu-ray and digital downloads are expected in the States sometime in December.  My understanding is that it's being released in the U.K. and Australia this week.

When Meryl said in late 2014 that Florence would be her last project for a while, it unfortunately turned out to be quite true.  That film wrapped in July 2015 and I see no reason to expect that she will film anything earlier than the second half of 2017.  Her IMDbpro page still lists Master Class as "optioned," but that isn't happening.  We know The Good House has dropped off her page (although it's still listed on the FilmNation website as "in development" with Streep and De Niro).  Since Mary Poppins Returns is not being released until Christmas 2018, for all we know Meryl's small role may not film for over a year.  I've seen nothing further on The Nix since its announcement nearly a month ago.

I'm looking forward to early December to see if Meryl squeaks into the top five for the Golden Globes and SAGs.  This quiet time in her work schedule is the worst.  At least we'll get to hear a bit form her at the Rome Film Festival later this month.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Update on reading "The Nix"

I'm about a third of the way through reading The Nix, so, as I said in a previous post that I would, I'm going to briefly provide a few thoughts on what we might be able to suspect from a screen version.  If you don't want any spoilers on the story, you may not want to read any further, but I won't go into super crazy detail.

Most of us have probably already read at least a short synopsis of the main points of the story.  The main character, Samuel, is between a rock and a hard place when a publisher for whom he is supposed to be writing a book drops him and informs him that they're suing for interest.  To prevent this, Samuel agrees to write a book about the backstory of his mother, Faye, who recently became national news for throwing some gravel at a conservative governor who's a prospective candidate for president.  Faye left Samuel and his father without warning when Samuel was eleven years old and is about to come in contact with her again due to his intention to write this tell-all.

Well, as I said, I'm about one third of the way through the 600 book and thus far, the 60 year-old version of Faye has been a character for about five pages.  Although I really enjoy the backstory of Samuel as a child and the events leading up to his mother leaving, I realized pretty quickly that if the limited series truly captures the book cover to cover, Meryl may only be in 2/3 of it.  I also can't imagine how they would not have a younger version of Faye, meaning a different actress.  Meryl can pull off playing someone quite a few years younger than she is, but can she portray late 30's or early 40's?  My guess is no, but if anyone could do that I suppose it would be Meryl.

I'm just getting into the section of where Samuel is seeing his mother again for the first time since he was a child.  The way Faye is described I couldn't help but picture Meryl as Violet Weston, but as she does with every character, if and when this comes to the screen I'm confident she will provide us with a unique and fresh persona.  I'm also confident that the juiciest parts are yet to come, and imagine that the remainder of the book with include much of modern Faye.  I'll be excited to read about her hidden backstory which Samuel is itching to learn himself, including the "why" of her leaving.  At my current point in the book, after Faye provokes Samuel to simply ask the question he's been wanting to ask for twenty years ("why did you leave me?"), her swift response is basically "I can't tell you. It's private." Ouch.

More to come as I read further.  No doubt Faye's reasons and private history will fill us with fun anticipation of how Meryl will negotiate the character.  Until then, let's also continue to wonder when the hell Meryl will have her next leading film role.