Monday, January 2, 2017

Will Meryl star in a 2016 Blacklist script?

Happy New Year, everyone!  I know many are thrilled that 2016 is finally over.  With that, we have much to look forward to in 2017 in regard to Meryl projects.  Despite not having any lead film roles confirmed at this point, my powers of speculation remain at full strength.  The first quarter of this year will no doubt be dominated by the awards season and how Streep will fare.  We already get to look forward to this Sunday, where she's nominated for Florence Foster Jenkins at the Golden Globes.  She will also be recognized with the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, which truthfully I'm anticipating more than any chance she has at winning for Flo Fo.  BAFTA nominations are announced two days after the Globes ceremony with the Oscar noms coming on the 24th.  January wraps up with the SAG Awards on the 29th, where Meryl again is in the running as Florence.

Little has been mentioned about The Nix in the last couple of months, but I expect that to film sometime third or fourth quarter. Mary Poppins Returns will likely see its scenes wrapped before year's end as well.  Beyond that, the calendar looks pretty barren for our girl.  This provides the opportunity for almost limitless speculation about what may be in store for Meryl.  Last year was the first time I singled out a specific role for her based on the annual Hollywood Blacklist that is released each December.  I maintain that portraying Diana Nyad in a biopic could be a wonderfully challenging role for Meryl, but unfortunately I haven't found a single word about the chances for production of that script since it made the list a year ago.  And as much as it pains me to say it, The Good House may remain in development hell indefinitely.

Which brings me to this year.  When 2016's Blacklist was revealed a few weeks ago, you better believe I immediately combed it for potential projects that could realistically involve Streep.  Similar to last year, my eyes were drawn to a particular spec, which just so happens to sit in a three-way tie for second place with 35 overall votes, behind the Madonna biopic Blond Ambition, which received 48.  Written by Liz Hannah, The Post is an account of the efforts of Ben Bradlee and Katharine (Kay) Graham to publish sensitive information about the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War, known as the Pentagon Papers, in the Washington Post.  The film would take place in 1971 when Graham, the publisher of the newspaper, was about 54 years old.  Yes, this is over a decade younger than Meryl, but a 54 year-old in 1971 in my opinion would be totally do-able for Meryl at 70.

I was lucky enough to read the script over the Christmas holiday.  Obviously I pictured Meryl as Kay the entire time.  It went very quickly, as it is written beautifully, and the story is interesting and at times suspenseful.  This project seems like it would be more likely than Nyad to 1) actually get funded/filmed and 2) involve Meryl.  It's a political thriller-ish story, which happens to be fairly topical for current times.  A story about the White House trying to stifle journalists from publishing damaging (yet true) stories seems eerily similar to what I imagine president-elect Trump will continue to do to newspapers he happens go disagree with.

On October 31, Pascal Pictures purchased the rights to the script, but I've found nothing further that suggests it's anywhere near being greenlit.  One has to wonder if we may hear something within the next few months about whether or not this great story will make it to the screen.  Could this be the 2018 lead role we've been waiting for?

Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee in 1971


  1. Sounds great and I have my fingers crossed!
    I thought BAFTA nominations come out Tuesday,1/10?- Jamie

    1. You're totally right, Jamie. I have it on my phone calendar as both the 8th and 10th for some reason but looked it up and it's the 10th. I've corrected the post.