Saturday, June 18, 2016

Streepers anxious to know what's next

Probably not since 1999 have we had a similar dearth of confirmed screen projects for Meryl.  One could argue that we're in a very similar situation to 2010, where by early summer of that year Streep hadn't filmed anything in a year and we knew of zero films which she had in the pipeline.  Shortly after, it was announced that she would star as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.  That film went into production in early 2011, was released later that year and of course earned Meryl her third Oscar.

The similarities between 2010 and 2016 may unfortunately end there, however.   I realize that I've speculated ad nauseam on the status of The Good House, but by most recent accounts that's a 'maybe' at best.  Were that to actually get pulled together, I don't think it would be unreasonable for that to begin shooting in early 2017 with a release date planned for later that year.  One of the problems with this filming schedule may in fact be the other confirmed actor...Robert De Niro.  The other day it was announced that he was in talks to star in a film adaptation of the the novel The War on Grandpa.  He also has The Irishman lined up, which is said to begin filming next spring.  On top of this, earlier this week we also learned he will make his directorial debut on Broadway in December.  That doesn't leave a lot of room for him and Meryl to team up and play Frank and Hildy.  This House is looking less Good. 

The other project that remains an enigma is Master Class.  After the sad and unexpected passing of director Mike Nichols in November of 2014, the HBO film was put on hold.  Filming was set to begin in January 2015 with a likely release later that year.  Just today I happened to think about the Emmy nominations coming up next month and how we'd likely be expecting a nomination for Meryl in the role of Maria Callas.  For months now I'd given up on the hope of ever seeing this project involving Meryl until several weeks ago.  While Streep was in London for the premiere of Florence Foster Jenkins, she gave an interview where it seemed possible that Master Class may still be on her radar, jut not anytime soon.  It got me wondering if Meryl would still be able to portray Callas in a couple of years.  Callas was in her late 40's during the masterclasses at Juilliard, while Streep will turn 67 next week.  The more I think about it though, if anyone can play someone 20 years younger, it's Meryl.  Callas's age in the play isn't of particular importance.  Meryl would just need to be passable for early 50's.  No prob within the next few years in my opinion.  It would be amazing if this eventually came to fruition.  After Faye Dunaway struggled and failed to get it to the screen, the project now almost seems doomed. The film remains on the 'in development' section of her IMDbPro page (along with The Good House), but I'm not holding my breath.  Just in case, however, my copy of Terrence McNally's original stage play is in the mail.  

With Jessica Chastain's gun control film Miss Sloane already in the can, it has seemed particularly unlikely to expect that The Senator's Wife will ever see the light of day.  The horrific Orlando massacre is sparking a much-needed dialogue for passing laws to restrict access to certain firearms, so I wonder if we'll also see a barrage of films from Hollywood that, like Miss Sloane, aim to tackle this topic.  We know Meryl regularly likes to be involved in projects that have important messages.  I certainly think it would be a great platform for Meryl to go after the NRA, but the plot just seems way too similar to Miss Sloane to expect anything to come of it.             

So, that's it?  Well, one of the small concessions about Meryl not having anything set in stone is that it's fun to dream predict.  A few months ago I queried whether Streep would be interested in the script Nyad, a biopic about marathon-swimmer Diana Nyad.  Doing a little snooping I discovered the blog Deconstruct the Script, where one of the scripts "deconstructed" is in fact Nyad.  Noting its appearance on the 2015 Blacklist, the author of the blog was mostly complementary on the script's quality.  While we may disagree on whether or not Nyad's swim from Cuba to Florida was pure narcissism (I expect her motivation was more complicated than that), the script was described as a project that had well-written characters and "beautiful, elegant" form.  Knowing a bit about Diana Nyad, this could be a film role Meryl could really sink her teeth into.  As I described in December, so many boxes would be ticked for a baity role in this picture: biopic, age-appropriate, physical transformation, history of abuse, lesbian.  Who other than Meryl would be more adept at effectively bringing Nyad's incredible story and humanity to the screen?  Probably no one.

Not unlike a gun-control film, were Meryl to get her wish and star with Kathy Bates in a film about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, we'd have another zeitgeist project to look forward to.  With the current U.S. presidential campaign excruciatingly underway, a female being a major contender begs for a film depicting the historic struggle to secure women's suffrage.  Plus I enjoy Meryl's buddy projects.

Although portraying real people is always an enticing prospect, were all of the above projects to come to fruition, three of the roles (Maria Callas, Diana Nyad and Susan B. Anthony) would be biographical.  Couple that with Meryl's current title character, Florence Foster Jenkins, and it's possibly a bit heavy in the biopic department.  This is one of the reasons I wish The Good House would come together.  Original stories allow for a particular kind of representation, and possibly my favorite aspect of watching Meryl work is how convincing she is at making me believe her character's history.  That's likely a bigger and more gratifying challenge if there isn't a real person to reference.

In this same vein, we know that in recent years directors such as Joel Hopkins, Xavier Dolan and Pedro Almodóvar have all commented on their interest in working with Meryl.  I would expect any projects that teamed Streep with these gentlemen would not be a biopic.  Rob Marshall expressed interest in a film version of Follies, and after the success of Into the Woods, revealed that he would love to have Meryl aboard.  With the recent news of a film version of Wicked getting the green light, buzz around the internet inevitably suggests the possibility of Streep being cast as Madame Morrible.  Neither of these last two projects seem like a crazy idea, knowing Streep's affinity for musical films, especially the past couple of years. 

So many possibilities!  Although I get a little nervous not knowing what's next, I take solace in the fact that we WILL get more of Meryl.  I believe 100% that she loves working and hopes to do it as long as she can.  By all recent accounts, Florence Foster Jenkins is going to be a success on multiple levels, setting Streep up for a similar situation in which she found herself after her successes in 2009; films that may have executives tentative about funding may actually be given the OK.

Hang in there, Streepers.  I have a feeling the next five years are going to be special.



  1. I'd LOVE her to do Nyad! ❤️

  2. Thanks for your opinion and the informations ..that made me happy.I can't wait for 2017 when she will hopefully begin new things .I mean she really deserves this break but without projects it's really boring..❤️And without Meryl everything is boring.. She is just the queen and I'm looking forward for all the next years

  3. You guys, since posting this, I was able to get my hands on on a copy of the NYAD script. Ugh! It's so good! I tend to be a bit of a robot emotionally but I found myself tearing up at the end. Meryl could do an absolutely beautiful job of this. Fantastic character.

  4. For someone's consideration:
    Reading all the blogs about Olivia deHavilland's upcoming 100th birthday on July 1, wouldn't it be great to see someone write a script about "Olivia and Joan" (not "Bette and Joan")? Meryl and Glenn Close (or Jessica Lange) as the sisters, and their relationship in their later years, if there was a relationship... ok, it could be a fictionalised account of what might have been. But it would give two great actresses the chance to portray two great actresses. Just saying. Just a suggestion.

  5. Ooo, good option, RJL! I forgot to add in the original post that I think it could be an interesting story to see Meryl team up at some point with Jessica Lange to portray Edith Windsor (Lange) and Thea Spyer (Streep). Windsor was the plaintiff in the historic U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. Thyer was a Dutch-born clinical psychologist who fought MS and was by the time of her death physically dependent on her spouse Windsor. They have a great story/history. Great doc about the two:

    1. Both options sound very interesting - I'm not sure how much interaction the sisters had though in their later years and would prefer it to be historically acurate.

      I'd be fascinated to see Meryl play a physical role such as Nyad - her story sounds compelling and with the right choice of Director it could made a great film.

      It's exciting to see what comes next but I just hope it's a quality project which justifies the wait.

  6. I *need* her to return to Broadway and pull what Lange did this year!