Thursday, December 13, 2018

Reviews pouring in for "Mary Poppins Returns"

With the film set for release in less than a week, official reviews have started to roll in Mary Poppins Returns. Generally, they've been pretty good, with its score on Rotten Tomatoes holding at 76% on 63 reviews, while review aggregate Metacritic lists it at a respectable score of 70.

This was never a film I expected to be a critics darling, but it's actually doing pretty well. The bigger reaction is likely going to be from audiences, as I imagine we'll see some pretty hefty receipts over the holidays. 

The film happened to have its European premiere yesterday and Meryl was on hand in London with the rest of cast, looking smart as usual:

L-R Emily Mortimer, Ben Winshaw, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Blunt, Colin Firth and Meryl Streep

And lastly, we got a little clip of Meryl in character in a new featurette:


Looks like a fun physical role, albeit small. I'm interested to hear a bit more that accent.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SAG nominations announced

The Screen Actors Guild announced its nominations for film and television this morning. Meryl is nowhere to be found, but considering her two screen roles this year were bit parts in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Mary Poppins Returns, it's hardly a surprise.

Great to see Emily Blunt nominated, however (both for lead in Mary and supporting for A Quiet Place)!  Following her nom for a Golden Globe last week, it's shaping up pretty well for her chances at an Oscar nomination (for Mary) . I have to expect that she'll hit BAFTA as well when those nominations on announced January 9.

Couple of surprises from this morning's announcement:

No Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk. 
Margot Robbie (Mary Queen of Scots) in over Claire Foy for First Man.
No Sam Rockwell for Vice.
Not a single woman of color nominated for individual film role (I guess that's not actually a surprise).

I still think King will get in for Oscar, as it's very unlikely Emily Blunt will be nominated there for A Quiet Place. It's possible not a lot of people saw Beale Street in time or that screeners were sent late. Foy may miss altogether, but I'd be pretty surprised if Robbie made it ultimately. Rockwell may sneak in over Timothée Chalamet (but I hope not as I very much enjoy Timmy).

Mary Poppins Returns hits theaters in one week!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Golden Globe nominations announced

I realize that Meryl wasn't really expected to garner any award recognition for the one project she has out this year, but I thought I'd mention the nominations Mary Poppins Returns received this morning from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Not surprisingly, Emily Blunt was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy for her titular role, while Lin-Manuel Miranda also snagged a nod for his performance. The film of course also was nominated in the Best Musical/Comedy general category, along with an Original Score nod.

While Blunt might challenge for the win, I think Olivia Colman is hands down the favorite for (ha ha) The Favourite. I was surprised not to see Ryan Gosling for First Man or Viola Davis in Widows. And is Vice really a comedy or is it just a comedy the way My Week with Marilyn was a musical?

Things will come into a little better focus for Oscar prognosticating after the SAG noms are announced next Wednesdays.

Hopefully next year we'll see Meryl's name somewhere in the Drama Series category for Big Little Lies!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

First reactions positive to world premiere of "Mary Poppins Returns"

Mary Poppins Returns had its world premiere in Hollywood on Thursday and initial reactions from critics are mostly favorable. In this Entertainment Weekly article, you can find multiple reactions to the film, and while some may be mixed, folks are overwhelmingly praising Emily Blunt's performance in the iconic role of the magical nanny. 

stars Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt with director Rob Marshall (right)

Sadly, no sign of Meryl at the premiere. Official reviews are embargoed by the studio until December 12, and although we may not be able to expect universal acclaim for the picture, I'm pulling for a Metacritic score above 70 and Rotten Tomatoes score above 80. One thing I think may be safe to assume is that this move is going to make a shit-tone of money over the holiday season. 

Mary Poppins Returns hits theaters December 19. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Soundtrack to "Mary Poppins Returns" set for release

Multiple sources are reporting that the soundtrack for Mary Poppins Returns will be released next Friday, December 7. Meryl of course has a song, "Turning Turtle," which she is listed to perform alongside Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. In addition, Disney released audio tracks for two songs today:





 The film opens nationwide three weeks from Wednesday (December 19)!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Meryl talks about Topsy Turvy

Entertainment Tonight had a blurb yesterday in which Meryl talks about her character in Mary  Poppins Returns.


Tatiana Tarazia Kozitoritopotrepanovsky. That's what my non-Russian speaking ear heard Meryl say when describing the name of her "crazy" character, Topsy. In the original P.L. Travers book Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary's cousin is actually a man, Mr. Turvy, and his maid (whom he marries) is Topsy. I do not know if she is supposed to be of Eastern-European descent in the book, but in the movie, Mr. Turvy's role is taken over by Topsy.

Looking forward to hearing Meryl's latest accent mastered.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New featurette for "Mary Poppins Returns"

Disney has released a featurette for Mary Poppins Returns with new footage and comments from the cast:



The film is set for its U.S. release just one month from this coming Monday.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Meryl spotted on the set of "The Laundromat"

Filming is underway in California for Steven Soderbergh's Panama Papers drama The Laundromat and Meryl was spotted on set:


It's sort of a goofy photo of her as it looks like she was caught mid-expression. This pic certainly confirms that Meryl is not portraying slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, but likely one of the individuals negatively affected when they run into trouble with insurance claims following a boat tragedy. Meryl's character has previously been described as the "emotional through-line" of the movie.

Looking forward to 2019!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Streep talks "Mary Poppins Returns"

Entertainment Weekly ran an article yesterday with a few snippets from Meryl about her experience on Mary Poppins Returns. Much of it covers the background of how Streep got involved, mainly that she wanted to be in whatever director Rob Marshall was doing after Into the Woods. 

One interesting thing (and I think I read about this somewhere else but I can't remember where) is that they mention how Meryl's character Topsy has an "unplaceable accent," which I seem to recall being some amalgam of an Eastern European dialect. Lord knows that shouldn't be too challenging for Meryl (see Sophie's Choice).

The way she describes how crazy ambitious the picture is, I'm looking more and more forward to it. Hard to believe it'll be in theaters in less than six weeks!




Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Latest pics from the set of "Little Women"

Filming for Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Little Women is well underway near Boston. Last week we saw a snapshot of Meryl filming a scene, and this week we see our first look at all four March sisters together:


The four sisters from left to right in the first picture are Eliza Scanlen (Beth), Saoirse Ronan (Jo), Emma Watson (Meg) and Florence Pugh (Amy).

There was also a brief B-roll video of the four shooting a scene.



Looking forward to more shots of Meryl!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

First glimpse of Streep in "Little Women"

I've waited a few days assuming more and better photos would show up online, but it seems the best we're getting this week are random snapshots from a fan on the set of Little Women. Meryl was spotted in a carriage shooting scenes near Boston:


Streep of course portrays Aunt March, wealthy relative to the March girls. Time will tell of course exactly how large or small her part is, but by most accounts we should expect a relatively minor role. I hope this adaptation is great regardless, of course.

The film is set for a Christmas release next year. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Wish list entry #6: "The Buried Giant"

It's certainly been a while since I've devoted a single post to a literary character I'd like to see Meryl portray. If you've regularly read this blog, you know of my obsession with whether or not she was ever going to get to play Hildy Good in an adaptation of Ann Leary's bestselling 2013 novel, The Good House. The proverbial ship has seemingly sailed on that one, and not since 2012 have I suggested a completely original character from the world of fiction.

I honestly don't know what got me thinking about it, but a couple weeks ago I read a little blurb about  how the rights to Kazuo Ishguro's (known for The Remains of the Day) 2015 novel The Buried Giant had been acquired by producer Scott Rudin shortly after the book's release. There has been little to nothing mentioned about any adaptation since, but it got me thinking more about the characters.

I had read the novel around that time and don't recall any news about a screen adaptation. If I had, I probably would've immediately considered whether or not there had been a part suitable for Meryl (as I always do with stories I enjoy). The more I've thought about it now, one of the main characters, Beatrice, could potentially be a interesting role.

At the time I probably didn't really consider that Meryl would be ripe for an "elderly" woman. But if the story takes place in 6th century England, "elderly" may have been like 50. Also, Meryl will be 70 next year, and juicy parts (not there there will be a lot) for that particular demographic and maybe even slightly beyond will not be out of the question. With that in mind, I've been ruminating about the possibility of seeing Meryl tossed into a world not unlike Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings.

I've heard the book described as "melancholy" and I think that's a fair word. Beatrice and her husband Axl go on a foot journey to visit their son in another town. The trouble is, the couple's memories (and those of their community) have become increasingly hazy. They meet several characters along the way, fight illnesses and dragons and are posed with challenges to their love for each other. Themes of collective memory after tragedy or war, cultural identity and age are all explored against the backdrop of a post-Arthurian landscape.

Were the story ever to make it to the screen, I can't help but picture this as a limited series. That increasingly-favored format would be the perfect medium to capture the breadth and depth of the plot, plus build off the popularity of the aforementioned obsession with shows like Game of Thrones (but to a somewhat less violent or ostentatious level). 

I think I'm going to reread the book. Picturing Meryl as one of the main characters will  give the already-enjoyable experience a fun new twist.




Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Special look at "Mary Poppins Returns"

Disney has released a 'special look' at Mary Poppins Returns. It's essentially teaser trailer, except in this case the official (longer) trailer has already been released.



There's not much that's new except for a couple clips with the small children. Meryl gets another cameo nod toward the end, but I have a feeling her part is so small we're going to have to wait until it hits theaters around Christmas to see any extended scenes with her character, Topsy.


Monday, October 22, 2018

New pics from set of "Little Women"

Filming is underway in Boston for Little Women. Today we get our first official snapshots of Saoirse Ronan, who plays the lead character, Jo. Also on set was Louis Garrel, who plays Jo's love interest, professor Bhaer.





















Still waiting for the first pics of Meryl as Aunt March!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

New cast members added to Soderbergh's "The Laundromat"

The Playlist is reporting that Steven Soderbergh's upcoming drama The Laundromat has added multiple cast members. Matthias Schoenaerts (The Danish Girl), Jeffrey Wright (Angels in America), Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live) and James Cromwell (Angels in America, The Queen) are all attached to the project.

Cromwell is set to play Meryl's husband in the film. Streep evidently portrays a woman (and with Cromwell probably a couple) who loses her savings due to the shady business practices of the law firm Mossack Fonseca. Riley Keough has been cast as their daughter.

The article from Playlist also reported that there are going to be multiple A-list cameos. Meryl's role has frequently been called the "emotional through-line" of the film, but I have a feeling she might end up being a rather small roll, but hopefully not so small that it's considered a cameo.

Filming gets underway this week.

James Cromwell

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Streep in secret Netflix movie directed by Martin Scorsese?

Google was kind enough to alert me to this confusing article in Marie Claire this evening in which Sharon Stone talks about being involved in a secret Netflix docudrama with Meryl. I did a little searching and turns out that the project with Stone is directed by Martin Scorsese and was possibly shot as far back as two years ago. 

What the hell? Has anyone else heard anything about this? I can't even get a good sense if it's an actual film, or more of a documentary. If it is a film, and if Meryl is involved, how big of a part can it actually be? It seems very strange that Scorsese would have a legit movie that he just "hasn't gotten around to editing."  

If this really is a thing, it would be the first time Streep has teamed with Scorsese. She was quoted several years ago about the iconic director: "I would like Martin Scorsese to be interested in a female character once in a while, but I don't think I'll live that long."

Maybe Marty heard. 

Martin Scorsese and Sharon Stone

Monday, October 15, 2018

Original "Mamma Mia!" returning to theaters in November

Several sources are reporting that to commemorate its 10th anniversary, Mamma Mia! will be returning to theaters for two days in November. On the 4th and 6th, about 400 theaters nationwide will present special screenings that in addition to the full film will include interviews with the cast and a featurette on how they coordinated Meryl's performance of "The Winner Takes it All." 

The film originally surpassed $600 million at the global box office, so it'll be interesting to see how much it can add to its total in just a two-day period. Tickets for either day can be found here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Netflix commits to distributing "The Laundromat," Schwimmer added to cast

Deadline is reporting that Netflix has committed to financing and releasing director Steven Soderbergh's The Laundromat. Meryl of course has been attached to the film since this spring. By latest accounts her character is one of the individuals whose life savings get squandered by illegal finance networks in Panama. David Schwimmer, of Friends fame, will have a role as an attorney representing a phony insurance company.

What's interesting in the article from Deadline is that among the names listed in leaked documents of possible wealthy individuals involved (other than our dumpy president) was Emma Watson. She is currently on the set of Little Women, another film in which Meryl is concurrently involved. I wonder if that's awkward at all...probably not, as we don't know what Watson's name being mentioned really even means.

Filming for The Laundromat is apparently scheduled in Miami from Oct 15-Dec 11.

David Schwimmer

Monday, October 8, 2018

First set pics from "Little Women"

Daily Mail has posted several pics that caught Emma Watson on the set of Greta Gerwig's Little Women. Below are just a couple:



Watson portrays eldest March sister, Meg, and filming is currently underway near Boston. I have no idea what Meryl's filming schedule will be. I imagine that her contract likely condenses the time she has to be on set. So for all we know, she could film all her scenes in the matter of a few days.

When she does eventually shoot some scenes, hopefully we get similar snapshots from the set!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Abby Quinn the latest to join "Little Women"

As the film's production is apparently underway in Boston, Deadline is reporting that actress Abby Quinn is the latest addition to the star-studded cast. Quinn has had roles in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Black Mirror and is apparently set to play sister Meg's wealthy friend.

Looking forward to some set picks soon (as well as a trailer Big Little Lies!).

 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Chris Cooper joins "Little Women"

Deadline is reporting that Chris Cooper is the latest to join Greta Gerwig's upcoming production of Little Women. This marks the third time Cooper and Meryl will share the screen, following 2002's Adaptation (for which Cooper won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) and 2013's August: Osage County. 

My guess is that Cooper will portray Laurie's (Timothée Chalamet) grandfather, James Lawrence, who lives across the street from the March family.

Filming starts next week near Boston! The full, star-studded cast list can be found here.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Bob Odenkirk joins "Little Women"

Greta Gerwig has added Bob Odenkirk to her already star-studded cast for the upcoming remake of  Little Women. The Better Call Saul star was recently seen starring alongside Meryl in 2017's The Post.

The only question that remains for this is whom Odenkirk will play. My guess at this point is that he'll portray the father of the March family. There's also a possibility that he'd play professor Bhaer, but I struggle to picture him and Saoirse Ronan as love interests. 

Filming reportedly begins next week in the Boston area!


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Streep to be in every episode of upcoming season of "Big Little Lies"

Earlier this week, Reese Witherspoon was quoted in US magazine that Meryl is set to appear in every episode of the upcoming second season of Big Little Lies. Granted, we still don't know for sure how many episodes in total there will be, but I'm guessing it will be similar to last year's first season, with seven.

Of course this sparks speculation of exactly how large of a part Meryl actually has in the show. I'm thrilled that we'll get to see her every week, but does this mean we can expect that she'll be considered as having a lead role? This question really only matters for awards recognition, as Streep could easily be in every episode but still be supporting.

I tend to expect that Meryl will fall into the supporting category along with Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoë Kravitz, which would leave Witherspoon and last year's lead Emmy winner Nicole Kidman in lead. But who knows? Maybe they'll end up trying to push it three and three (supporting and lead).  Regardless, I'm hoping for a trailer within the next month to six weeks, as the first season's was revealed in mid October before the February, 2017 release. No word yet on official dates, however. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

First full trailer for "Mary Poppins Returns"

The much-anticipated full-length trailer for Mary Poppins Returns was released this morning:



To be honest, I was expecting more than a two second screenshot of Meryl toward the end, but I suppose that if this is truly a cameo performance (which I've always assumed it was) they're going to focus mostly on Mary and the visual sequences.

The cinematography is great and it's fun that they're using some of the seemingly old-fashioned hand-drawn animation in certain sequences. That being said, I'm big fan of Disney's first installment from 1964 and an even bigger fan of Julie Andrews. Blunt sounds fine, but she's just not that strong of a singer, which, to me, is an important point of satisfaction when I watch musicals.

Of course I'll be seeing the film regardless when it hits theaters the week before Christmas on December 19. 

PS-I think Meryl's character (Topsy) looks like a cross between Madam Ruby from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Madame Medusa from The Rescuers:




Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Status of "The Nix"

This week marks two years since it was announced Meryl would team with J.J. Abrams to produce a limited TV series adaptation of Nathan Hill's novel The Nix. I've offered thoughts on the project's production over many months, but nothing really since March of this year. The last real info I can remember is from January when Hill offered that the series was probably set at nine episodes, at which time there remained every indication that Meryl was still involved.

Fast forward six months and there's not been a single blurb about production. Granted, compared to this spring, Meryl actually has a pretty hefty list of projects on her calendar. While none will likely take up a ton of her time (Little Women and The Laundromat are likely both supporting roles, possibly even rather small), there's kind of a lot going on for her in the upcoming months. Both Women and Laundromat film this fall, Mary Poppins Returns comes out in December and Big Little Lies will likely see its return around February. All this comes off the heels of a strong box-office performance for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again this summer.   

That said, her 2019 schedule, to our knowledge, is barren of roles. Abrams, who is currently busy directing the latest Star Wars film, likely won't be available for directing The Nix any time soon, as his film is supposed to shoot through early 2019 and not be released until next December. I imagine he'll be too busy with the editing process to lend a hand to the TV series next spring.

But next spring still feels like a feasible timeline were The Nix to come to fruition. And my goodness, with the story's eerie parallels to the current U.S. president, it seems like a project ripe with opportunity for success. As I've mentioned before, it's hard to tell exactly how large Meryl's part may actually be, as in the book, her character (at least the age Meryl would play her), isn't really in it all that much. That isn't to say that they couldn't have beefed it up a bit, as we know Hill was involved in making some changes to the story for how it'll play out on television.

I'll predict that if the series does eventually shoot, it'll be next spring/summer, and run (assuming they can get a freakin' network to bite) in the spring of 2020. It's anyone's guess where the country will be politically by that point. But if The Nix were to end up being a critical and viewer juggernaut, imagine its timely presence at the 2020 Emmys in September, just six weeks shy of the next presidential election.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Louis Garrel joins "Little Women"

Deadline is reporting that French actor Louis Garrel is joining the cast of Greta Gerwig's upcoming adaptation of Little Women. No word yet on Garrel's character however. With the addition of James Norton several weeks ago, we now have two actors in their 30s whose roles have not been revealed.

Timothée Chalamet has already been said to be portraying Laurie. I'm not super familiar with the book, but a quick search doesn't really leave many options for whom Garrel and Norton will play. Professor Bhaer is described as middle-aged, so I doubt it's him (although in the 1860s, 35 was probably older than "middle' age?). The other likely options are of course John Brooke, who ends up marrying Meg (I'm guessing Norton for that), and then maybe either of the Vaughan brothers. Fred and Frank Vaughan are English twins, but I don't think Frank is ever really seen, just mentioned as Fred's twin brother. Fred courts Amy in Europe which sparks Laurie to up the ante for her affections as well.

Laurie and Fred are supposed to be friends from Harvard, so it's tough to picture 22 year-old Chalamet as a schoolmate to 35 year-old Garrel. Although it's not as if they're sticking to the original ages from the book anyway. All of the actresses who play the sisters are older than their written parts.

Filming begins in just a few short weeks in Boston, so all these questions will be answered soon enough!


Monday, September 3, 2018

"Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" nearing $120 million at box office

Six weeks into its run, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is nearing $120 million at the domestic box office. After this weekend it will have also surpassed $365m worldwide. While not quite the numbers compared to the first film ten years ago, these are fantastic returns.

I post about this because although Meryl was barely in the sequel, I happened to check her film list at Box Office Mojo and realized how rare it is for a film of hers to earn more than $100 million domestically:

1. Mamma Mia! (2008)--$144m
2. Into the Woods (2014)--$128m
3. The Devils Wears Prada (2006)--$124m
4. Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)--$118m
5. It's Complicated (2009)--$112m
6. Kramer vs Kramer (1979)--$106m

Interesting that at one point there was a 25-year span between films crossing the $100m mark for her. This of course isn't to say she didn't have any hits, just not typically major blockbusters. And of course we have to take inflation into account. Films such as Out of Africa and The Bridges of Madison County would be well above the $100m mark by today's standards (which makes Kramer vs Kramer's haul that much more impressive).

Monday, August 27, 2018

First (brief) clip from season 2 of "Big Little Lies"

Last night, HBO released a promo for the upcoming and final season of Game of Thrones. With that, we get a tiny glimpse of Meryl in a scene (around 1:07) alongside Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon in Big Little Lies. 



It's barely anything, but it's nice to see at least a blurb of promotion for the upcoming season. Still no official word on when exactly we'll see season two, but as I've mentioned before, I'm guessing that similar to season one it'll debut around February. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Stone out, Watson in, for Gerwig's "Little Women"

One Emma is out, another is in. Multiple sources have reported this afternoon that Emma Watson will be replacing Emma Stone in Greta Gerwig's upcoming adaptation of Little Women. Evidently Stone has promotional obligations for her upcoming film The Favorite (which I cannot wait to see) she cannot get out of.

This is an interesting turn of events only a little over a month before shooting is set to start. I'm a fan of Watson from the Harry Potter series, but I have to admit it seems like a tall order for her to step in for a recent Oscar-winner and then have to contend with the likes of Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan Laura Dern and Timothée Chalamet. Here's hoping Watson's up to the task. The role of Meg isn't a particularly flashy one, so maybe it'll be less of an issue than I expect.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Results of poll #8

Two weeks ago I posted a poll asking voters to consider with which leading man Meryl had the best chemistry. Recall that Blogger discontinued the poll feature (stupidly) and I therefore had to find an outside option for running the poll. I don't like that people weren't able to see a running tally of the voting, but I didn't want to pay for that option yet, as I'm not sure I'll use the same website in the future.

Anyway, forgive me for the janky photo below, but I made a screenshot of the results to then post here:


I have to admit, I'm rather surprised that Clint Eastwood came in first. I agree that he and Meryl had good chemistry in Bridges, but for him to finish on top with only Stanley Tucci in Julie & Julia coming close was not what I was expecting. Again, my favorite was Kevin Kline, but as you can see, he didn't fare so well. Glad to see no one got zero votes!

Thoughts for new polls?

Friday, August 17, 2018

Season 2 of "Big Little Lies" officially complete

Exactly two months ago, I posted that season two of Big Little Lies had potentially wrapped. Turns out it was likely just the filming in and around Monterey (and possibly just for a handful of the cast).

Today, there's no doubt that the second season is indeed in the can, with star and producer Reese Witherspoon tweeting that this was their last day on set:


We can't wait either, Reese. Next step: teaser trailer. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Laura Dern in talks for "Little Women"

The circle may be complete. Multiple sources are now reporting that Laura Dern is in talks to star in Greta Gerwig's upcoming adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. The only question is which role Dern will be playing, but I think we can all guess it will be Marmee (mother to the March sisters).  Dern of course will be seen alongside Meryl early next year in the second season of HBO's Big Little Lies. 

This is quite the cast Gerwig has lined up for herself.  With Dern joining the likes of Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Stone and Timothée Chalamet, the gay twitter universe may just implode.

Filming is set for early October.

Director Greta Gerwig and Laura Dern at the 2018 Academy Awards



Sunday, August 12, 2018

Seven years of Word on the Streep!

I'm sure I sound like a broken record every time August 12 rolls around, but I enjoy commemorating the start of this blog with a big thank-you to any and all readers of Word on the Streep.  It's been seven years since I started writing down my obsessive thoughts about Meryl, and after nearly 800 posts, my interest is far from waning.

It has truly been a joy to read everyone's thoughts and opinions over the years, and I look forward to another twelve months of interaction. We have a lot to look forward to with all of Meryl's projects in the pipeline! 

Thank you again.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Poll #8: With which leading man did Meryl have the best chemistry?

It's been over three months since I've posted a poll so I figured we were due. Blogger has kind of been pissing me off lately, as they had issues with sending email notifications for comments for several weeks, and have also now discontinued they very easy-to-use poll gadget. So, it may look a little different that usual, as I've had to use an outside format.

Meryl has shared the screen with a wide array of leading men over the years, a handful on more than one occasion. I thought it'd be fun to consider who her best leading man has been.

Check out the choices to the right of the page, and of course comment if your favorite does not show up on the list. I'd be interested to read people's other choices, as I couldn't include everyone.

I'd have to say that mine is Kevin Kine in Sophie's Choice. I believe that Meryl had seen him in a play and recommended him to director Alan Pakula. It was Kline's first film role and for me, Meryl and Kevin were just a tragically fantastic pairing as Sophie and Nathan.

Happy voting!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

James Norton joins "Little Women"

English actor James Norton has reportedly joined the cast of Greta Gerwig's upcoming adaptation of Little Women. 


Yeah, not exactly repulsive. No word yet on whom the Flatliners actor is set to portray. Maybe Meg's husband? 

Filming will begin early October of this year. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Is there a role for Meryl in Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg's new limited series?

Multiple sources have just reported that Hillary Clinton is teaming with Steven Spielberg to bring Elaine Weiss's book The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote to the small screen. The story tells of the fight to ratify the 19th Amendment, which ultimately gave women in the United States the right to vote. Plans are for a possible limited series.

When I researched these articles, I immediately thought of Meryl of course. She's a friend of Hillary's, just worked with Spielberg last year on The Post and this is exactly the type of project that Streep typically jumps at.

As early as 2012, Meryl was quoted as saying she'd to do a movie with Kathy Bates about suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The reviews I've read of The Woman's Hour describe a lot of backstories, including those of Anthony and Stanton, among a multitude of other characters.

No one is apparently hired to adapt a screenplay yet, but I'm obviously going to be keeping a close eye on this project. If they hustle, maybe they could get it together for a fall shoot next year, just in time for a release during the tumultuous political climate we're likely to see unfold in 2020 (a la The Nix).


Monday, July 30, 2018

"Mamma Mia!" sequel continues strong run at box office

In it's second weekend, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again took in another $15 million, bringing its domestic total to $70m.  Box Office Mojo reported that the film had a larger drop than expected (45%), but it still came in second after the debut of Tom Cruise's latest Mission Impossible entry.

A strong international showing brings the film's worldwide total to a hefty $168 million already. I don't expect it to reach the levels of the original, which topped $600m, but good reviews and positive word of mouth will hopefully propel this to a similarly strong finish. 



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Eliza Scanlen likely to join "Little Women"

We may have completed our quartet of March sisters. Australian Eliza Scanlen is reportedly in consideration for director Greta Gerwig's upcoming remake of Little Women. Scanlen most recently starred alongside Amy Adams in HBO's Sharp Objects. She would play the oft-ill sister, Beth. Variety reported that she tested opposite Emma Stone (Meg) earlier this month and evidently did well.

I'd never heard of Scanlen before this news, but it's good to see that the entire cast won't be completely A-list. That can almost get a little distracting, to be honest. Scanlen and Stone will join Saoirse Ronan as Jo and Florence Pugh as youngest sister, Amy. The only other main character we have yet to hear about is that of Marmee, mother to the March girls.

Filming is set for October.




Sunday, July 22, 2018

Film review: "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" (2018)

My friend Scooter and I caught a matinee of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again yesterday. In the preceding couple of days, it was already apparent that the sequel was poised to establish itself as a formidable follow-up to the immensely popular original. Released almost ten years to the date of its predecessor, this second iteration has a distinction that the first installment failed to garner: critical praise. Yes, with a Rotten Tomatoes score at 78%, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, while not a consensus gem, is somewhat surprisingly appeasing critics with its more polished execution.

Both Scooter and I agreed that the first quarter of the film dragged a bit. It opens with Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) busily preparing for the reopening of her mother's hotel. We learn early that Meryl's character Donna has indeed passed, thus striking the emotional drive for both the present-day events and flashback sequences. Considering Meryl was barely in the movie until a single scene at the end (with a touching performance of My Love, My Life), my favorite scenes were with Lily James, who plays the young Donna. She is an absolute joy to watch onscreen. Beautiful, energetic, glowing, with a light, yet lovely voice. We're given a glimpse into how she met Sophie's "three fathers." And while it was particularly silly to believe she would run into a devilishly handsome contemporary every fifty paces, it was nonetheless enjoyable to follow as their relationships unfold. I admit I developed a little crush on Josh Dylan, who plays young Bill (Stellan Skarsgård).



Comic relief was adeptly provided by both Julie Walters (Rosie) and especially Christine Baranski (Tanya), with such irreverant quips from Tanya as "be still my beating vagina." Alexa Davies (young Rosie) and Jessica Keenan-Wyn were delightful as their twenty-something counterparts.

And then of course there's queen Cher. Portraying Ruby, Donna's mother and Sophie's grandmother, she flies in on a helicopter to crash the hotel's opening extravaganza. I told some friends that she's very Cher-y in her fun performance of Fernando with Andy Garcia, who portrays the hotel manager, Fernando, extraordinarily a former lover of Ruby's. Overall, pretty much only Meryl and Cher sounded like professional singers, but that's sort of the tone of the film, I guess, and it didn't really bother me. 

Numbers are still trickling in from the box office, but the opening weekend is likely to land around $34 million, slightly under the projected total of $40m. Worldwide, it's already hit a total of over $76 million, opening in multiple large international markets simultaneously with its U.S. release.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, part of the appeal of this film is likely the simple fact that it's fun. While there are some sentimental or even sad scenes, those moments lend the film a more touching human element, despite its often predictable, corny dialogue. I have only seen the first film once (opening weekend 2008), and frankly have had little interest in a second viewing. For part two, however, I just might have to get myself to the theater for another dose.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

"Little Women" set for Christmas 2019 release

Box Office Mojo has updated its release schedule to include "Little Women" for Christmas Day 2019. This position suggests that Sony expects the film to be an awards player (duh), as well as a potential holiday box office hit. The 1994 version was also released around the holidays, with the film's snowy settings a natural fit for a December premiere.

Of course this date is subject to change, but it's sort of a no-brainer for this level of project. Shooting is set to begin in October. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Positive reviews flowing in for "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again"

Well color me surprised. The first critic reviews started coming in yesterday for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one who wasn't expecting such a positive response. As this goes to post, with 57 reviews counted on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is sitting at a very strong 86%. Dozens of additional reactions will of course trickle in over the coming days, but at this point, that number is extremely encouraging. Even Metacritic, with it's weighted scale, has the film at a respectable 65, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.

The sequel is probably just overall a better picture. From the trailers, the cinematography and camera angles seem a little more sophisticated (not that I'm an expert) than the original, which, in comparison, topped out at a tepid 54% on RT. Well done, Ol Parker. 

Even though Meryl is only making a cameo, anytime something she's involved in is well-received, it's exciting. Hopefully the reviews forecast a hefty performance at the box open as well!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Streep attends premiere of "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again"

Meryl was in London today for the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.


A lot of eyes were of course on the newest cast member, Cher. She and Meryl actually shared a kiss at one point on the blue carpet, no doubt to screams from onlookers. Streep's attendance seemed to put to rest fears from a few remaining naysayers out there who still weren't convinced that she actually made an appearance in the film at all. 

The film opens nationwide in the States on Friday. I'll be catching a Saturday matinee with Scooter. 

Additional photos of Meryl from the premiere can be found here





Thursday, July 12, 2018

Streep performs three songs on soundtrack to "Mamma Mia!" sequel

The soundtrack for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again will be released tomorrow (Friday) Meryl is listed three times on the recently revealed tracklist:

• When I Kissed the Teacher - Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies and Celia Imrie

• I Wonder (Departure) - Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies

• One of Us - Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper

• Waterloo - Hugh Skinner and Lily James

• Why Did It Have to Be Me? - Josh Dylan, Lily James and Hugh Skinner

• I Have a Dream - Lily James

• Kisses of Fire - Panos Mouzourakis

• Andante, Andante - Lily James

• The Name of the Game - Lily James

• Knowing Me, Knowing You - Jeremy Irvine, Lily James, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried

• Angel Eyes - Christine Baranski, Julie Walters and Amanda Seyfried

• Mamma Mia - Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies

• Dancing Queen - Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Julie          Walters and Pierce Brosnan

• I've Been Waiting for You - Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters

• Fernando - Cher and Andy Garcia

• My Love, My Life - Amanda Seyfried, Lily James and Meryl Streep

• Super Trouper - Cher, Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Colin      Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Andy Garcia, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Lily James, Jessica      Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies

• The Day Before You Came - Meryl Streep

Lily James is obviously a large part of the picture, based solely how much she's represented in the recording. I'm particularly looking forward to hearing "My Love, My Life."  "The Day Before You Came" is likely Meryl's big moment in the film.

Earlier today there was also a new featurette where Meryl discusses her involvement:


The film opens next Friday, July 20.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Disney changes "Mary Poppins Returns" release date

Disney has slightly bumped up the release date for Mary Poppins Returns from Christmas Day to 12/19. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but with Christmas on a Tuesday this year, moving the film's release up to the prior Wednesday may signal confidence in its box office potential from the studio. By the time Christmas Day comes to a close, we will have a full seven days of receipts to take the temperature of the film's reception.

This move will also wreak havoc for other studios, who are now likely going to have to reconsider their slates for the entire month of December. I doubt Disney is too worried about it. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

New scenes from "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again"

Some new scenes were recently released from the upcoming Mamma Mia! sequel:



It heavily features Cher, who portrays Meryl's mother in the film. After watching this, I'm actually starting to look forward to the film. I've mentioned in previous posts that the production quality seems pretty good and that it's colorful and bright. Even if the film doesn't end up being what most critics would call a good film, or if it's cheesy and campy and predictable, it will likely provide something that I can remember Meryl describing about the original.

She had originally seen the show on Broadway shortly after 9/11, and recalled that the buoyancy and fun of the production was uplifting to her and the group of kids she had taken as part of her daughter's birthday party. It was a dark and somber time in the United States, and with the way things are currently going here, I'm realizing that I'm craving over-the-top happy things again, regardless of their artistic merit.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again opens nationwide July 20.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Streep to play Aunt March in "Little Women" reboot

According to the Los Angeles Times, Meryl will be portraying wealthy Aunt Josephie in Greta Gerwig's upcoming adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Since the news broke last week that Meryl was attached to participate in the project, it was widely reported and assumed that Streep would portray Marmee, mother to the March girls. But producer Robin Swicord, who wrote the screenplay to the 1994 film version, is quoted as saying that Meryl will in fact portray Aunt March instead.

It sort of makes sense if we think about the age. Streep, at 69, might be too much of a stretch to play the mother of early 20-something girls. Not that Meryl couldn't pass for early to mid 50s, but the role of Aunt March seems more realistic. What's interesting about the article is that it suggests that the role may be a bit juicer than that of Marmee.  After watching the 1994 film for the first time this weekend (don't hate), I was sort of disappointed that Susan Sarandon seemed to have so little to do. If Gerwig is indeed focusing more on the girls' experiences as young adults, the role of Aunt March may be more prominent, as she regularly tries to influence the girls life choices, with varying levels of success.

Here's hoping that Greta has made it worth Meryl's while. Filming is set to begin on October 1.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

"Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again featurette

A brief featurette entitled "Becoming Donna" was released yesterday with commentary by Meryl:

     

She's very complimentary of Lily James, who plays the younger version of Donna in the sequel. It's cute how James lights up when she talks about Meryl and how she's "the greatest actress of all time."

In related news, a recent article in Forbes is reporting that the film is expected to bring in around $30 million in it's opening weekend of July 20.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Streep attached to Gerwig's "Little Women"

Hot off the presses, Variety broke the news earlier today that director Greta Gerwig is assembling an-all star cast for her adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women. Meryl's name is included in the crop of actors circling the roles, with Saoirse Ronan, Emma Stone and Timothée Chalamet in talks as well. 

We know that as early as last fall, Gerwig had said in an interview that she was essentially coaxing Meryl for a role in her newest project. I was first alerted to the possibility of that role being in Little Women by a reader of this blog. It definitely made sense at the time, and with the other actors attached, I'm hoping that Meryl would play the mom, Marmee.

There is currently a ton of speculation out there (I've done a lot of snooping) about who is going to play which role. My guess is that the actors in Gerwig's adaptation are going to be a good 10 years older than the actual ages of their characters from the original novel.  Which is fine by me if it means Meryl will have a more meaty role.  Current tracking has Ronan for the lead role of "Jo," with Stone as "Meg."  Chalamet is rumored to be portraying "Laurie," who marries the youngest sister, "Amy."

Another big speculation is whether Gerwig will be placing the film in its original setting of Civil War-era Massachusetts.  Some "insiders" on Twitter have suggested that she is putting a more modern spin on it (which to me would be particularly refreshing), but that of course remains to be seen.

Other sites have indicated that the film is set to shoot near Boston in September and October. It makes me wonder how this would potentially conflict with Meryl participating in Steven Soderbergh's The Laundromate, which is reportedly scheduled to film this fall as well. If that's the case, and Meryl is involved with both films, it make me think that her role in Laundromat will indeed be a fairly minor one, even if her character is supposed to be the "emotional throughline" of the picture (I recently finished reading Secrecy World, and if her character is who I think it may be, she's barely mentioned in the book). Were both these roles supporting, she should have no problem filming each. It could be like the shooting schedule for a single lead role.

AS ALWAYS, time will tell on all these questions. Of course it's extremely exciting to have Meryl involved in another enticing project. Add in Big Little Lies and 2019 might end up being one of the biggest years she's ever had.

Streep, Stone, Ronan, Chalamet and Gerwig

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cher with Meryl in ET segment on "Mamma Mia!" sequel

Entertainment Tonight did a little segment on Cher's participation in the upcoming Mamma Mia! sequel and we get a little blurb of Meryl talking about her:

                                     

Lord knows she's had her share of work done, but Cher looks damn good. Some nice clips from other returning members of the cast as well. The film hits theaters three weeks from Friday!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Happy 69th, Meryl!

Today, Meryl begins her 70th year on this great Earth. Hard to believe she's already 69, but what a decade she's had. With an Academy Award and four other nominations, she's continuing to put out exquisite and varied performances, and showing no signs of slowing down. We get to look forward to two movies this year, an apparently juicy role on Big Little Lies next winter and a chance to team with Steven Soderbergh in filming a hotly-anticipated political thriller this fall with The Laundromat. 

She's the gift that keeps on giving and I hope she has a chance to do something today she enjoys as much as I've enjoyed following her onscreen career.

Here's to you, marvelous Meryl.





Sunday, June 17, 2018

Season 2 of "Big Little Lies" in the can?

Nicole Kidman has been more than generous with her Instagram posts in regard to updates on filming of the second season of Big Little Lies. Her latest seems to suggest that shooting has indeed wrapped:


I recently reported that it looked like filming would be coming to a close soon, and that now seems to be the case.  I've read that there are a lot of interior shots for the series that were not shot in Monterey, but if memory serves, those were taken care of in the first half of production.

As I've also previously mentioned, the big question now is when the hell will be get to see the new season?! We already know it's not coming this year, so the best we can hope for is the first quarter of 2019, which seems reasonable, considering season one began in February last year. Is February sweeps still a thing, even if it's HBO? 

Now can we please get a few more details on The Laundromat soon?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

New clip from "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

A clip I haven't seen yet showed up on YouTube the other day from United International Pictures, an Argentinian site that is likely distributing the film there:



The clip shows the filming of the "Waterloo" scene, where young Donna (Lily James) meets young Harry (Hugh Skinner).  Donna of course was played by Meryl in the original ten years ago, while Harry was portrayed by Colin Firth.

The premiere of the film is kind of sneaking up on us, with only six weeks remaining before it arrives in theaters in the U.S. and U.K.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Filming wrapping up on "Big Little Lies" season 2

The much-anticipated second season of HBO's powerhouse limited series Big Little Lies began filming in mid March. There have been a few articles recently indicating that production is still underway, but that it's likely wrapping up this month. Three months sort of seemed like a reasonable length of time, but when I consider that it's almost seven hours worth of programming, that's actually a pretty swift schedule. This photo of Meryl with a Monterey resident is a few weeks old,  but it's the first time I've seen it anywhere:


Nicole Kidman's Instagram photos of her and her costars out bowling has been making the social media rounds today as well.  I had a lazy afternoon yesterday and just happened to watch the last episode from season one and it is so damn good. This is going to be a wonderful thing to look forward to for several weeks this winter. 

(on left) Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Shailene Woodley




Monday, May 28, 2018

Who will Streep play in "The Laundromat"?

It was announced two weeks ago that Meryl had been tapped to star in The Laundromat, a "fact-based" film directed by Steven Soderbergh and based on the book Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite. I haven't found any other information since the announcement that describes who we can expect Meryl to portray.  I had mentioned in the comments of my original post that the most likely character seems like it would be journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. She helped lead the release of the Panama Papers, which had demonstrated tax evasion efforts by a law firm based out of Panama called Mossack Fonesca. Her involvement unfortunately got her killed, as she was murdered in a car bombing last October. 

Galizia was Maltese, which of course means she's from Malta. I had to actually look at a map online to see exactly where it is. It's a little Southern European island in the Mediterranean Sea not far from Sicily. I've watched some video of Galizia and this would mean another fun accent for Meryl to master, one I certainly never conceived she would undertake. In the videos and other pictures I've seen, it crossed my mind that I'm not sure if we'd consider Galizia white? I certainly don't want Meryl embroiled in a whitewashing fiasco for a role, but if it does end up being Galizia that Meryl is playing, I think this will fall more along the lines of playing an Italian (Francesca in The Bridges of Madison County) or a Greek (Maria Callas in the never-produced Master Class). Perhaps more challenging will be that Galizia was 53 when she died. Meryl turns 69 in a few weeks (but that's basically the same spread for when she just played Katharine Graham).

I haven't read the book yet, but my understanding is that Galizia is only mentioned briefly in it. That being said, who knows what's all going to be in the movie, as the articles announcing Meryl's potential participation described her character as the "emotional throughline" of the film. I don't know if that means a leading or supporting role. We also know that Streep is familiar with Galizia's work, as Meryl played tribute to her and other slain journalists a few months ago for "paying the hardest price for their questions."

Again, however, the character Meryl plays could be a completely different person! But it just really seems like this is the most likely. Netflix is in the running for distribution rights and filming is evidently planned for this fall. Looking forward to learning more hopefully soon. 




Monday, May 21, 2018

Academy Awards analysis (2009)

By 2009, Meryl had become incredibly overdue for a second Lead Actress Oscar. She came close for 2008's Doubt, but came up short that year behind Kate Winslet in The Reader. With her acclaimed performance in Julie & Julia only a year later, it seemed early on like Meryl might actually make it. She'd been lauded by multiple film critic circles and the film itself was generally well-received, including a fantastic box office performance.

Sadly, Sandra Bullock swooped in with very little critical praise for her performance in The Blind Side to basically sweep the television awards that year, winning the drama Globe (Meryl won comedy), SAG, BFCA (tied with Meryl!) and the Oscar. I hadn't realized until checking for which awards Bullock had been nominated that year and saw just now that she wasn't even nominated at BAFTA.  I guess that's not super surprising, considering The Blind Side is a distinctly American movie.

OK let's keep it real. This performance should not have come anywhere near an Academy Award. I love me some Sandy Bullock, but I maintain that this award was more of an industry recognition for the fact that she'd been a box office powerhouse for nearly twenty years. The Blind Side also did extremely well in theaters and had that helpful Best Picture nom with the Academy, versus the solo Actress nod for Meryl in her movie.



Wonderful speech and Bullock looks stunning. It was sort of a fun little back and forth that she and Meryl had during that awards season, as Sandra made fun of the often over-hyped way people tend to pit actresses against each other. As she told Oprah the morning after her win, she wanted to diffuse that nonsense when they both tied for the Critics' Choice win by kissing Meryl. It was cute. 

Honestly, the biggest disappointment for me in all this is that the role Bullock should've possibly one for was 2013's Gravity. It was a way better movie and way better performance, and while she was nominated, it was very unlikely that they were going to award her twice. Had she not won for Blind Side, I think it's very possible that Cate Blanchett would still be without a lead win.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Streep in talks for Soderbergh film "The Laundromat"

I have to admit that when I saw the title of the article of Meryl starring in a "Panama Papers" thriller by a director named Steven S., I had to do a bit of a double take.  No, it's not a sequel to her recent Pentagon Papers film The Post that was directed by Steven Spielberg. Instead, it's been announced that Streep is set to star in director Steven Soderbergh's new project entitled The Laundromat, based on the so-called Panama Papers, which were "leaked documents that showed how Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm, allowed the wealthy and the connected to funnel money illegally in and around the world." The script was written by Scott Z Burns is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jake Bernstein's book Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite. Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman are also in talks to join.

Very little has been revealed about Meryl's role at this point, other than that her character is apparently the "emotional throughline" of the movie. In reading a few tidbits about the book, it totally seems like an interesting topic, and I'll probably pick up a copy. I wasn't able to glean any idea, however, of what Meryl's character would be (maybe the whistleblower?) Of course I want to know if it'll be a lead role/supporting role.  I also have no idea on why it's called The Laundromat.  Maybe what they call the network for funneling funds illegally. More to come on all that, I'm sure.

No word yet either on when filming may get underway, but it looks like Netflix is interested in distribution rights. It's nice to see her announced to be working with another great director!

Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas and Steven Soderbergh