Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

James Spader joins "The Homesman"

Well it looks like the rumors were correct.  The Hollywood Reporter released an article announcing that Spader will be joining the cast of The Homesman.  Of course, we still don't really know who the hell is playing whom.  IMDb has updated their page to include a larger cast list (no Spader yet), which includes John Lithgow and no longer includes Miranda Otto.  Here's where we stand now:

Tommy Lee Jones: George Briggs
Hilary Swank: Mary Bee Cuddy ("the homesman")
Meryl Streep: crazy woman #1?
Grace Gummer: crazy woman #2?
Sonja Richter: crazy woman #3?
Caroline Lagerfeldt: crazy woman #4?

James Spader: a swindler(?)
John Lithgow: ?
Tim Blake Nelson: ?
Barry Corbin: ?

I guess I just need to read the damn book and decide for myself.  Ugh.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Streep tops early Gold Derby predictions, set to attend Women in the World Summit

I happened to check out Gold Derby today to see if they had super early Oscar odds listed yet, and lo and behold, they're on it.  Not surprisingly, Meryl is the odds-on favorite to nab the lead actress Oscar for her portrayal as Violet Weston in August: Osage County.  Combining the few editors who have weighed in thus far with users' predictions, Meryl leads with 21/10 odds, followed by Naomi Watts, who will star in the biopic Diana (yikes) at 10/3 odds.  The full list can be seen here.

In non-film news for a change, Meryl will again be attending the Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center next week.  She will be co-hosting the event which is meant to "illuminate global issues through the voices of leaders, activists, artists, and pioneers who are confronting the most urgent challenges faced by women and girls around the world."  Yet more do-gooding by our girl.  Love it.  Future president Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey (who personally selected our current president) will also be participating.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Update on "The Homesman"

I feel I've been a tad neglectful of this project considering my unnatural obsession with August: Osage County.   Part of this is the fact that I don't think we have very specific information on the cast for The Homesman.  I've finally conceded that Meryl is indeed participating, but we have no confirmations on who will be playing which roles.  A couple days ago a press release came out suggesting that, as expected,  Hilary Swank will be portraying Mary Bee Cuddy, who is basically the "homesman."  Tommy Lee Jones will play George Briggs, a claim jumper who ends up helping Cuddy transport the "crazy" women to Iowa.  Several previous reports had suggested there were only three women being transported, but more accurate synopses of the novel I've seen indicate the number is four.

Ok, so I think we can reasonably expect that Meryl will be portraying one of these four women.  This is what I've pretty much thought all along, but again, no actual specifics have been revealed.  There have however been three other actresses (in addition to Swank and Streep) listed as attached to the project.  These include Grace Gummer (Meryl's daughter), Miranda Otto and Sonja Richter.  In Glendon Swarthout's novel, the four women being transported are ages 19, 36, 36 and 43.  The four women I've listed (not including Swank) are 26, 39, 45 and 63.  I don't see any issue with the first three, and frankly, they could easily change the 43 year-old's character to be closer to Meryl's age.  The problem I see is that the 43 year-old gives birth during the story and I wonder if that may be a too much of a stretch?  Sorry, Meryl.  Although truthfully, she may be passable for mid to late 40's.  So, I don't know if that's what's going to happen in the film, but I think it's reasonable to assume that the actresses listed are the four who will portray the "crazy" ladies.

There are apparently a number of other small roles in the film.  I'm not particularly familiar with the story so I don't know the characters, but IMDb lists Tim Blake Nelson as a cast member.   Then today a couple of tweets came with photos of the alleged cast which include James Spader and John Lithgow.   There are a bunch of other people in the tweeted photo collage whom I don't recognize.  At this point, who the hell knows?  Shooting is expected to begin in New Mexico this week.  I think it's possible for this to be ready by year's end.  Double noms come January 2014?!  Easy, Jeff. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Early screening of "August: Osage County" sees raves for Meryl

Ahhhh! Ok, I'm a bit slow to the party on posting this, but I wanted to make sure one, it was really happening, and two, I was able to round up a lot of online feedback from people who were actually there.  Check and check.  So, a few days ago I learned that there was going to be a screening in New York City on the 18th.  Of course I got excited, but didn't want to get my hopes up until there was some legitimate confirmation.  After I realized it was really happening, I decided to just patiently await the likely onslaught of rabid tweeters more than happy to spill.  They did not disappoint.  Bottom line is that the overall reaction to the movie itself was favorable, but the response to Meryl's performance as pill-popping, mouth cancer-stricken, boosing, mean mom Violet was, well...overwhelmingly highly-praised.  Here are a few examples of tweets and blog comments:

"As for Meryl, right now she is unstoppable. This is such a huge performance for her, she touches so many emotions and has this acting force behind her that I haven't seen since The Bridges of Madison County."

"It's done. Meryl is winning her 4th Oscar next year.  Move over, Katharine Hepburn."

"August: Osage County. Ben: sweet. Story: fucked up. Meryl Streep: Oscar."

"This is a pure tour-de-force, acting with a capital A showstopper. The entire cast is very strong, but Meryl devours them all. She gets to be funny, mean, loud, hammy, crazy, physical, subtle all at the same time. You hate her and your heart breaks for her. Even people who don't typically love this type of performance should find something here. This is a role made to win awards and I can easily see her becoming undeniable despite her recent win just like DDL did."

"Was the first audience to see the screening of August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.  I have no words. Incredible."

I get that we have no idea from whom these hyperbolic gushings come.  Are they Weinstein Company plants?  I doubt it, and frankly I don't care.  My all-time favorite thing when enjoying my "Meryl work" (wow) is reading or hearing super celebratory commentary about her performances.  And I realize it's fucking March and we're still ten months away from Oscar nominations and over seven months from the movie even being released nationwide.  Again, I don't care.  It's too fun to speculate.

Another piece of the puzzle that's becoming more clear is potential category placement for Meryl and Juia Roberts.  From what I've read, people are leaning toward Roberts going supporting.  We know that her role of Barbara is truly a co-lead with Meryl.  After all, Amy Morton was nominated for a Tony alongside Deanna Dunagan (who won) in lead.  But the talk is that Roberts has given one of her best performances and could challenge for the win in supporting.  Let's get one thing straight: for everyone out there thinking that Julia would cop an attitude about going supporting, get serious.  She'd be going supporting to Meryl f-ing Streep, and if she has a better than 50-50 chance of winning in supporting versus a less than 50-50 chance of even getting a nomination in lead...she'll take the former.  Done.  And Margo Martindale will give her a run for her money in that category too.

Full force Meryl Streep machine 2013 underway.   

Friday, March 15, 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch talks working with Meryl

Yesterday an article was posted online from The Guardian in which Benedict Cumberbatch is interviewed about his participation in August: Osage County.   In it he reveals how spellbound he was by Meryl's acting:

"We had one scene around the table with Meryl and I just couldn't act. I was in awe of her. She is spellbinding to watch.  She really is extraordinary.  If you ever have the luck to watch her, she is fantastic."

Ugh.  I just die for that shit.  No doubt he's talking about the dinner scene after Beverly's funeral, where things really start to heat up.  I've been reading on blogs that there is evidently going to be a test screening of an early cut of the film in New York City on Monday.  If that's true, we should soon get some real feedback about Meryl's performance from people who have actually seen footage.  Can't wait!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shoulda Coulda Wouldas #8: "Six Degrees of Separation"

This is my eighth and possibly final "Shoulda Coulda Woulda."  I had originally thought that this category could be limitless, but I've since realized that I've exhausted the possibilities for what I'd like to cover as it pertains to films Meryl could've realistically done during her career.  This will all make a little more sense within the next couple of months when I do a sort of special retrospective of her film career from a "could've been" perspective.  Anyway...

My current selection is 1993's Six Degrees of Separation.  That was apparently quite the year, as three of my entries to this tag have been from '93.  I've read on a couple of sites, including IMDb, that indicate that the film was at least on Meryl's radar, as she had enjoyed the play and was interested in playing the lead because she had worked with director Fred Schepisi in 1985's Plenty.  Whether that's truly the case remains to be seen.  Regardless, I've enjoyed this film since before I was a Meryl fan, so it's fun to consider her in Stockard Channing's role of Louisa "Ouisa" Kittredge.  

The film revolves around Ouisa and her husband Flanders (Flan), two New York socialites encountered by imposter Paul, who attempts to schmooze his way into their enviable lives.  What I like about this character is that on the surface she probably isn't too different from the real Meryl.  Both are east coast sophisticates with a husband and children.  The difference however arises from the fact that Ouisa lives a rather unexamined life.  Day after day of eating out, attending weddings, parties, art shows, lunches.  Wait, this is badWell, we're supposed to think it's shallow, boring and limited.  So when Paul enters the picture, we see the endless array of social gatherings in the backdrop as they tell their anecdotal tale of the boy who deceptively infiltrated their social circle.    

Slowly, Ouisa has realized that Paul's relationship to her and Flan wasn't just a trivial opportunity to get a few laughs and gasps around the dinner table.  Although ultimately tragic, it was a very human experience that essentially woke her up to her own life.  I don't know if we've really seen Meryl in something like this before.  Stockard Channing was deservedly nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, and interestingly, a Golden Globe for best performance in a musical or comedy.  I guess I don't generally think of this as a comedy, but at a stretch, I suppose a dark comedy isn't an inaccurate description.  Meryl wanted to try her hand at comedies in the early 90's.  Perhaps this could've been a good addition to, if not replacement for, a handful of forgettable pictures from that period in her career .  With the list of films I've covered in this section, five of the eight were released in the years spanning 1990-1993.  Ugh.  Seriously, what could've been.    

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blurb from Tommy Lee Jones about "The Homesman"

Recently interviewed while shooting a commercial for Japanese TV, Tommy Lee Jones commented on his upcoming directorial run in The Homesman: 

"I don't know if I'm going to keep that title or not," Jones says. "It has to do with the Nebraska Territory in the middle of the 19th century, and the Homestead Act, and what people were willing to endure for some free land.  And the effect of the Homestead Act on the women who went west as homesteaders."

Those women include Hilary Swank, Miranda Otto, Meryl Streep, and Streep's daughter, Grace Gummer.  From what we know up to this point, Swank plays the lead and the other women will likely be playing the "crazy ladies" who are being transported across the frontier.  I have a feeling Meryl's role could be pretty small in this, but if she plays the lady who commits suicide early on in the film, it could be a pretty juicy role.  If they get it together by the end of the year, are we going to buzz about a double nomination possibility in lead (August: Osage County) and supporting?!  Meryl has said that she's not set to start shooting until May, but the film itself is to begin filming this month.  If Meryl's contract is to perhaps only work for a few weeks at the end of the production, they may indeed have it ready by December.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Well that was fast

Only a day after rumors surfaced about the possibility of Meryl having a cameo in the upcoming Anchorman 2, Access Hollywood is reporting that Steve Carell has already put the kibosh on the speculation.  Apparently Meryl can't fit it into her schedule.  No complaints here.  New record for shortest post on Word on the Streep.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Meryl to cameo in "Anchorman 2"?

Steve Carell has revealed that Meryl is interested in a cameo performance in the currently filming project Anchorman 2.  The two starred together in last year's Hope Springs and evidently Meryl told Carell that she was a huge fan of Anchorman.  Of course it's no guarantee, but this is certainly turning out to be an action packed year for Streep, having wrapped August: Osage County and preparing to shoot both The Homesman and Into the Woods this year.  I hope that her involvement in Anchorman 2 really is a brief appearance (a la 2003's Stuck on You), as I'm kind of a snob about her role choices and I doubt I'd enjoy considering this film part of her official film canon.  But hey, let's not forget She-Devil, right?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Did Meryl confirm herself for "Into the Woods"?

I've been uncertain if I should post on this over the last few days.  However, I think it's pretty clear that these articles are legitimate as are its contents.  Evidently The Iron Lady is finally being released in Beijing, and Meryl gave several phone interviews discussing, among other things, her upcoming projects.  Here's a link to what I think is the best and most descriptive article.  I know it's a little weird and hopefully it automatically translates from Chinese into English on your browser as it did mine.  Because it's translated by a computer, some of the syntax is irregular which makes it mildly difficult to comprehend at times, but we get the important parts.

The section of interest for me is of course what her upcoming film schedule is.   She reports that she has finished up August: Osage County, begins shooting The Homesman in May, and (most exciting) will be starting Into the Woods in October.  Whoomp there it is!  If her work as The Witch truly begins shooting this fall, I think we can assume a late 2014 release which guessed it.  Into the Woods, not surprisingly, will likely look to be an Oscar contender, as was the intent with Rob Marshall's other two recent musicals, Chicago and Nine.   I wish we had American journalists who could get Meryl to divulge so much juicy information in one interview!  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"August: Osage County" being released November 8th

One day after my tardy reporting of November release date rumors for August: Osage County, we have a specific date set.  Several sources reported yesterday that the official release date announced by The Weinstein Company will be November 8th.  As you can see on the right of this page, I've therefore returned the countdown clock.  As I said in my last post, a specific date really only means that at least one theater in the U.S. will be playing the movie on that date.  With Oscar vehicles, that typically means New York or Los Angeles.  For August: Osage County I wouldn't be surprised if that first date included a select number of Oklahoma theaters, as the picture is set and was shot in and around Osage County.   Have I mentioned I'm excited about this movie?! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

"August: Osage County" set for November release?

I realize this "news" is several days old, but Deadline is reporting that The Weinstein Company is planning on releasing August: Osage County in November of this year.  There isn't a specific date listed, but November seems reasonable.  We knew it was going to be late in the year to set it up for awards buzz.  What we don't know is in which venue it'll be released.  Just New York/L.A. with wide release several weeks later?  Wide release in November?  Bottom line is that  there's finally a little evidence as to how soon we can expect a trailer and publicity interviews surrounding the release.  Up to this point all we were going on was Imdb listing a November 7th release in the Netherlands.  What?