Monday, May 18, 2015

Shoulds Coulda Wouldas #12: "Dirty Tricks"

I'm a bad Meryl fan.  Here I thought I was all done with the Shoulda Coulda Woulda section, but a couple of weeks ago while doing a little research for my "predicting the next five years" post, I realized something.  We already know that Ryan Murphy has been interested in filming Best Actress, the behind-the-scenes look at the making of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? for HBO.  I was unaware however that it was him who in 2005 was announced to write and direct Meryl in the film version of John Jeter's play Dirty Tricks.  

I had been fully aware of this project dating back to 2005, but was under the impression that the part of Martha Mitchell would've been a supporting role, along with Annette Bening as Helen Thomas, Jill Clayburgh as Pat Nixon and Gwyneth Paltrow as Maureen Dean.  Upon learning that it was indeed Murphy behind this project, with a little investigation I also realized that this was likely going to be a lead role for Meryl.  Martha Mitchell was deemed "the mouth of the South" for her whistleblowing in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal in early 70's.  The outspoken, Arkansan wife of Nixon's attorney general John Mitchell became famous after her frequent phone calls to members of the press, detailing political shenanigans that took place under the corrupt Republican administration.  

The news of this project broke in August of 2005, with Murphy hoping to begin filming by spring 2006.  If we consider the possibility that this came together for production at some point in 2006, we could've expected a release sometime in 2007, and as is usual with Streep's starring roles, likely fourth quarter for awards placement.  This idea created a predicament for me, as I've already completed my reimagined history, which included 2007 of course.  But consider if Meryl had a lead role in a politically-themed movie in place of the two supporting roles in the poorly-received Rendition and Lions for Lambs.  Plus it's a fairly baity character...alcoholic, eccentric, heavy Arkansan accent. Seems a better project than either of the aforementioned films.  

This of course would alter my reimagined history, something I thought was completely set in stone.  But I'm strongly considering addending it to replace both Rendition and Lions for Lambs with Dirty Tricks.  With the same rationale in mind, I'm also considering altering 2014's filmography, but I'm not giving away those exact details quite yet.  Regardless of what I decide, this was a fun discovery and yet another fun speculation of what could've been.  


  1. Intrigued what 2014 film you would have given to Meryl?
    I had a pleasant idea of giving her Dangerous Liaisons in 1987 and pushing Ironweed to 1986 to replace Heartburn. Just liked the idea of one wicked character amongst so many “goodies” in the 80s stream!

    I would happily drop The Giver since it didn’t really go anywhere in the end and give her Philomena. Haha I’m awful!

    1. You totally guessed it. Take out the giver, but I wasn't going to replace it with anything. I like the parelle of 2007 and 2014: small supporting role with one of her daughters (Evening, Homesman), and then one major role (Dirty Tricks, Into the Woods). Dark Matter actually got its theatrical release in 2008 due to Virginia Tech massacre, then 2008 and 2015 are a parallel as well. I could go on and on...

    2. I know, I don;t like Meryl being less than selective with her roles which is why I would trim both 2014 and 2007. I hear "Carol" is getting a lot of buzz, I hope it won't be a third win for Blanchett this year.

    3. Yes, Carol is getting huge buzz, particularly for both Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Probably a very good bet for another Blanchett nom, Mara in supporting (even though probably category fraud as co-lead, very similar to Meryl and Julia Roberts for A:OC).

    4. I just saw that Into the Woods has reached $213 million worldwide making it her 4th most successful film. Happy with that!

      I wish they would push Meryl in some of these festivals such as Cannes and Venice more. It would be good to get some more buzz going for Ricki. Or even Florence next year...

    5. Frears has had his films in fall festivals the last few years. I kinda picture Florence being in a similar theatrical release slot as Ricki though, since it seems to be confirmed as a comedy by Pathe.