Friday, September 27, 2013

Holmes, Swift join "The Giver"

Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift (ugh) have evidently joined the upcoming film adaptation of Lois Lowry's novel The Giver.   Not like I'm thrilled about Katie Holmes being cast, but at least she's an actress.  She is to play the main character's (Jonas) mother.  No word on which role Swift may play.  Maybe the previous "Receiver"?  Hopefully whichever part it is, it's small.  Fingers crossed that she surprises me.  

The article linked above mentioned that shooting is to begin in South Africa on October 7th, with Meryl's scenes potentially shot in the U.K. where she's currently filming Into the Woods.   That would make sense since the filming schedules overlap so much.  Here's where we stand on casting for The Giver as of today:

The Giver:  Jeff Bridges
Jonas: Brenton Thwaites
Chief Elder: Meryl Streep
Jonas's Father: Alexander SkarsgÄrd
Jonas' Mother: Katie Holmes
Lily: Emma Tremblay
Asher: Cameron Monaghan
Fiona: Odeya Rush
annoying: Taylor Swift 


Thursday, September 26, 2013

First look of Meryl as "The Witch"

Entertainment Weekly has posted the first pic of Meryl in character as the Witch in Into the Woods:

My first reaction (aside from her looking like a cross between the French lieutenant's woman and Aunt Josephine) is that this styling makes her seem rather young.  I think it's the hair.   It makes sense because although she's supposed to look haggard as the old witch, just from this one shot we get a sense of a character who looks a certain age but is young.  If she looks this good in the "before" shot, I can't wait to see how she looks when her youth and beauty are restored. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

First cast pics from "Into the Woods"

Broadway World has posted the first pics of the cast from the currently filming Into the Woods.  It appears they're filming Cinderella's (Anna Kendrick) wedding, with her Prince, Chris Pine which takes place at the end of Act I.   Included in the link are pics of many of the other cast members in various scenes from early shooting.   Sadly, Meryl is in none of these, as the Witch is not present at the wedding.  We'll get a few glimpses of her soon enough I should think.  Filming reportedly took place at Dover Castle.   

Sunday, September 22, 2013

First set pics from "Into the Woods"

Earlier today Broadway World provided us with the first looks from the set of Into the Woods which is currently filming near London.  Sweetheart Anna Kendrick was kind enough to post a pic of the woods to her Twitter account:

Looks pretty cool.  Also shown was an "in-construction" version of what is to serve as Rapunzel's castle, which evidently was at one point an old abbey in Surrey. 

Meryl will no doubt be in scenes in and around both of these sets.  Keep 'em comin', Anna!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

"The Giver" set for release in August 2014

Word is out that The Giver is set to be released by The Weinstein Company on August 15, 2014.  Seems like a good slot for a science fiction-y film that would appeal to a Harry Potter and Hunger Games crowd.  As you can see to the right, I've updated the films countdown to include The Giver.   Three movies with scheduled release cup runneth over.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Meryl rumored to be in talks for "Cowboys and Indians"

The Times of India is reporting that Meryl may be in early talks to star alongside Indian actress Padma Shri Sridevi in a film entitled Cowboys and Indians (dots, not feathers).   From the article I've linked, they gave no indication what the story actually involves or when filming would be expected to begin.  I did a quick Google search to 1) find out who the hell Sridevi is (apparently she's a big deal in India) and 2) see if there is any other info on what this film may entail.   I came up short. It would be cool to see Meryl involved in a film with some Asian influence.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Into the Woods" filming underway, Crawford confirmed as Little Red

Disney sent out several press releases today indicating that filming has begun on the adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical Into the Woods.   Evidently the first week of shooting is complete in England.  I wonder if Meryl was involved in this completed filming, as it was reported last week  that she missed the Toronto Film Festival premiere of August: Osage County due to illness.

The more interesting thing about the filming updates is that Lilla Crawford is now confirmed as Little Red Riding Hood.  Like most others, I thought that Sophia Grace Brownlee had been confirmed in the role.  Some other sources are suggesting the Brownlee was replaced by Crawford, but apparently Disney never officially confirmed Brownlee's casting last month.  It's strange because I think Sophia Grace's family tweeted that she was indeed cast, and even Ellen Degeneres may have mentioned it at some point as well.  I don't know when we'll know if her original involvement was just a rumor or if Brownlee was actually replaced.  If the latter is the case, I kind of feel bad for the kid, but I'm sure a lot of people are breathing a collective sigh of relief knowing she won't be in the film after all.  Regardless, Crawford seems like the better choice.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Second trailer for "August: Osage County"

Two days after its world premiere in Toronto, the Weinstein Company has released a second trailer for August: Osage County.  If there was ever a thought of Meryl going supporting, I feel like this trailer has completely squelched that possibility.  Like the first trailer, this is representing the film as a comedy, but I understand that.  One, the script is at times very funny, and two, producers want it to look appealing to mass audiences.  What's different about this trailer from the first is that Meryl seems to be the main focus of the story.  Based on the clips I could even buy Roberts as supporting. 

There is also news today that after its debut many people were disappointed that the film's ending was a bit different from the original play's.  I don't want to give it away, but suffice it to say that they've obviously filmed it both ways and director John Wells and screenwriter Tracy Letts will be duking it out with Harvey between now and Christmas to decide which ending the wide release will include.  As this post goes live, the film stands at 70% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes after ten reviews counted.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Meryl to "officially" be campaigned in lead for "August: Osage County"

After last night's premiere of August: Osage County, the Weinstein Company is evidently "officially" putting Meryl in lead and dropping Julia Roberts to supporting (although I think there's still good chance of both going lead).  This was sort of expected, and truthfully where things likely stood prior to Tom O'Neil's report about Meryl possibly going supporting last month.  After having read some official reviews, praise for Meryl's performance is almost unanimous.  Roberts is getting mostly good to great reviews too, but without question the standout is Streep.  I wish more people thought as highly of the film as they do the acting, but the general sense I get is that people who have seen the play find the film a lesser version of a great story.

Bottom line it that Meryl looks like a strong contender for awards recognition this year and audiences at the screenings seem to be eating it up, even if critics aren't blown away.  At least there's hope for respectable box office returns come Christmas.  That can often propel buzz about the film and its stars.  I can't wait to see this.  The Twin Cities Film Fest should be announcing its October lineup soon!  

  "They're putting me back in lead!"

Monday, September 9, 2013

"August: Osage County" premieres at TIFF, Meryl absent due to illness

Sadly, it's been reported that Meryl was unable to attend tonight's world premiere of August: Osage County at the Toronto International Film Festival.   Hundreds of tweets are pouring in of reactions to the film.  There are far too many to sift through for favorites, so I'll just link to the IMDb page that lists many of them.   Of course, tweets are pretty much all over the place in regard to opinions.  However, if we can take away anything from this plethora of reactions, it would have to be the almost universal praise for Meryl's performance as Violet Weston, and based on this how it seems like a realistic expectation that she would go lead at this point.   Responses to the film are overall good, but not great.  I don't really want to say much more at this point other than I'm absolutely loving all the chatter about the film and Meryl.  The real story will be how actual critics respond to the film within the next 24 hrs.   Stay tuned and feel better, Meryl!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cate Blanchett in "Blue Jasmine"

Wow.  Although this film depressed me a little bit, I left amazed by Blanchett's performance.  In Blue Jasmine, she plays a New York socialite who, after her husband's imprisonment and suicide, seeks help and lodging from her estranged sister in San Francisco.  The character of Jasmine is basically an awful human being.  When wealthy she ignores and is embarrassed by her well-meaning, albeit unsophisticated sister, played by the delightful Sally Hawkins (who may challenge for a supporting nod herself).  When at rock bottom, she expects her sister to upend her own life to accommodate her.

It's the typical high-society game where she cares far more about herself and how she appears to her shallow circle of jet-setting "friends" than she does about family or a meaningful relationship.  What's so striking about Blanchett is how exquisitely she makes us believe that she's hovering on the edge of madness.  In some parts its obvious, where she stares off into space or talks to herself, for example.  At other times, it's far more subtle.  Slight facial expressions, posture, the way she holds a martini.  For crying out loud she got to play drunk, crazy and desperate all in one role.  Sort of reminds me of Violet Weston.

This is going to be a VERY difficult performance to top at major awards ceremonies.  The film itself is good and Blanchett has without question never been better.  I consider her and maybe Jessica Chastain as the heirs apparent to Meryl's film legacy.  Blanchett has won one Oscar, for Supporting Actress in 2004's The Aviator.  Many feel she was robbed of a win for her nominations in Elizabeth and I'm Not There (myself included).   She has a strong narrative to recognize her body of work with a lead win this year.  Meryl's performance in August: Osage County will have to absolutely raved by critics when it opens Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival if we're going to see her challenge for the win.  That's assuming Meryl is put in lead, which is probably still technically up in the air.  As I've said before, Toronto will likely be very telling.  After August is screened, Cate may have to start looking over her shoulder.