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).