Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Filming of "Babylon" reportedly pushed back to 2021

Variety reported yesterday that Brad Pitt has signed on to star in a new film called Bullet Train, set for production later this year. This matters to me as a Streeper, as the article also reports that the reason Pitt will be available this year to film is because Damien Chazelle's film, Babylon, has pushed production to 2021. With the number of cast members, close proximity, romantic scenes...I'm guessing they just had to figure it would be a Covid nightmare trying to pull it together this year.

I had posted a couple months back how Meryl is rumored to be attached to the project. The script is wild (in a good way), and it would be a bit of a departure to see her in something this eye-opening. Plus, she'd get to work with Brad Pitt and Damien Chazelle.  

Considering filming may not happen now for over a year, who knows who's going to end up being in the final cast. My guess is that with so many things delayed, most actors' schedules will fairly open, so hopefully Pitt and Emma Stone stay attached. Regardless, with it being delayed now I'm not expecting many casting updates or confirmations for this project in the near future. But I'll keep an eye out. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Recasting 1980: "American Gigolo"

With which movie would Meryl have followed her tour de force performance in The Rose? As I've mentioned previously, one of the more fun parts of this recasting project is that I get to choose some roles that are a riskier or generally less likely something Meryl would've done without some special circumstance. 

Which brings us to 1980. Usually by the time somebody receives any acclaim for a performance, they're either already in the process of filming their next project, or have already completed it. So, any bounce Meryl or any other actress may have gotten from The Rose wouldn't affect her consideration for future roles until after she completed filming something else. This scenario reminds of when Meryl filmed the noir pic Still of the Night in the fall of 1981. Meryl was yet to receive acclaim for her first lead role in The French Lieutenant's Woman, and had likely been cast for Still of the Night months prior to the latter film's release. 

Still of the Night was a bona fide stinker. Meryl is on record as having admitted it wasn't a good movie, and that she "hated" noir. But what if she had been able to participate is a noir film that was well-made, well-received critically, and a box office smash? Cue American Gigolo. 

It's been reported that Meryl was actually offered the role of Michelle Stratton (originally played by Lauren Hutton), but declined because she did not like the tone of the film. I expect it may have been due to some of the overt sexual language, a scene where she'd be topless, and dealings with BDSM and homosexuality. Meryl likely had no personal issue with any of these topics, but for 1980 is would've been far more risqué to participate in a film of this nature. It's one of the first (if not the first?) scenes where a leading man does full-frontal nudity (a young Richard Gere in a role with a hotness factor that occasionally rivals Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise). Christopher Reeve and John Travolta both came close to appearing in the role. 

The role itself isn't super amazing, but Michelle is a reasonably complex character in a sticky situation. She's a wife of a state senator. Their marriage isn't great, and she ends up meeting a gigolo in a restaurant (where she speaks French!). The two start up an affair, and of course, it's complicated by the fact that his livelihood is based on sleeping with other women, primarily older, rich ones. Hutton does a fine job in the role, but Meryl no doubt would have been able to bring more nuances to the part. I particularly would've like to see more regarding how she feels trapped in her marriage.


OMG that's basically the same hairstyle Meryl has in Still of the Night. Maybe it's a noir thing. 

Gigolo was filmed in early 1979, so it would've been able to wrap before Meryl would even be showing with her first child, Henry, who was born in November that year. It hit theaters in February 1980, and earned $52 million at the global box office, against a budget of only $5 million. Reviews were modestly favorable, and the film has become lauded for its original score, which received a Golden Globe nomination. The theme "Call Me," performed by Blondie was a worldwide success, and went to number one. The song also garnered a Golden Globe and Grammy Award nominations. 

All in all, the role in this picture would likely not go down as one of the best of all time, but it still would've been fun to see Meryl stretch her legs a bit, as well as be part of a particularly modern project-- considering the previous two roles for which I recast her in, along with three of the next four I'll be choosing. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Recasting 1979: "The Rose"

Following what would have been supporting roles in two potentially very successful films in 1977 and '78, we can imagine Streep may have been poised to enter the foray as a leading lady. Cue Mark Rydell's 1979 drama loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin. 

The role of Mary Rose Foster was of course originally played by the great Bette Midler. I've read that the director only wanted to make the movie if Midler had agreed to star, so it's tough for me to imagine Streep having any chance at this role. Midler wasn't a huge star at the time, but was of course known for her singing abilities. Meryl at that point likely was not, especially for the type of singing that's required in this movie. But we all know stranger things have happened. 

I managed to get my hands on a DVD copy of the film (it's not streaming anywhere!), and quickly thought to myself, "whoa, this would be tough." It's not often I say that I'd have a hard time seeing Meryl being able to pull off a certain character, but this was one of them--because of the singing performances. 

Don't get me wrong, the rest of the character would've been catnip for any actress: troubled rock star, alcohol/drug abuse, lesbian lover, hippie. Midler was apparently uncomfortable with the original script being too close to Joplin, as the singer had died less than ten years prior, so some changes were made. Regardless, there are some powerful moments in the film of a troubled, even desperate woman on the edge. That part Meryl would've sunk her teeth into. The vocals are another. 

Yes, Meryl is no slouch when it comes to belting out a few bars. Hell, she even believably pulls off a rock and roll singer in 2015's Ricki and the Flash. But while Ricki is a washed up flower child who never made it big, Rose is one of the greatest in the world. What an amazing challenge that would've been for Meryl! I have to imagine with her high, light voice, she could've learned how to passably achieve the vocal pyrotechnics necessary for audiences to be convinced her character was the real deal. 

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Midler. She also won the Golden Globe for Actress in a Musical or Comedy (which it was neither...rather a drama with music performed by way of a live rock performances). 

Given the opportunity in the lead role, it would've been interesting to see if Meryl ultimately could've done the part justice. And had she, I expect it would've catapulted her into upper echelon of major Hollywood stars. It would be only big-time parts from then on.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Happy 71st, Meryl!

Just a quick shout out for our girl on her 71st! In other news, Little Women has officially topped $100 million at the global box office. 

To many, many more, Madame Streep!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

"Mamma Mia!" 3?

Judy Craymer, who produced the original stage version of Mamma Mia! has recently been quoted as saying a third film may be on the horizon. Apparently she's been planning to develop the latest iteration of the musical, stating that "it was always meant to be a trilogy." Craymer plans to include new material form Abba. 

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I was originally annoyed that Meryl was going to do a sequel, but I ended up actually liking it better (as a whole film) than the original. And while Meryl's part was very small, I struggle to understand how they could incorporate Donna again, considering she was already dead in the "Here We Go Again."

Regardless, both films were huge box office successes. Maybe it would be kind of fun if Meryl were to round out the franchise and be involved in a trilogy (assuming it ended at three). But I'm not holding my breath. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Recasting 1978: "Julia"

Wait a minute! Meryl was already in Julia. And it was released in 1977.

Yes, we all know that Streep made her silver screen debut alongside Jane Fonda in this Fred Zinnemann drama. Meryl's was a bit part that became even smaller after the editing process. Not a lot of people know, however, that director Zinnemann (Oklahoma!, A Man for All Seasons), had originally considered Meryl for the title role, which eventually went to Vanessa Redgrave. 

In the book Hollywood Heroines: The Most Influential Women in Film History, it's noted that casting director Juliet Taylor had seen Meryl in a play (sound familiar? (see early post on Hester Street)) and recommended that Zinnemann consider her for a role. Apparently the director was so impressed, he considered giving her the part of Julia. Streep's lack of experience, however, and the fact that Redgrave became available convinced him otherwise. 

But what if Redgave had not been available? And what if Meryl had already been able to cut her Hollywood teeth on Hester Street and Close Encounters of the Third Kind? I expect that would've been plenty for Zinnemann to follow his instinct and see what Streep could do with the part. Funding is always a tenuous prospect in film making, so by the off chance it had it been delayed even six months for this film, it's release date might've been pushed to '78. Fonda's Academy Award-winning performance in 1978's Coming Home was actually filmed in early '77. Had it been decided to have that completed by year's end, it wouldn't have competed with a a Julia released in 1978. In comes Meryl for my recast filmography.

It should be said that despite it being the title role, it's still a supporting one. Fonda, who plays playwright Lillian Hellman, is the main character. She is childhood friends with Julia (there would be over a decade age difference between Streep and Fonda, while Fonda and Redgrave were born the same year--but this is the movies and we're allowed to suspend our disbelief a bit, especially if the director is wiling to), and Julia ends up becoming an activist against the Nazis' mounting takeover of Europe. Tasked by Julia to smuggle funds into Germany, we Lillian follow her on a dangerous mission to help out her old friend. 

Meryl would've had a British accent to portray Julia, and if memory serves, she speaks a bit of French in the film as well. It's a far meatier role than the one Meryl actually played, Ann Marie. Julia goes from being a medical student to becoming radicalized in the fight against fascism. She gets the crap kicked out of her by Nazis, which only pushes her further into the depths of the resistance. There are threads of Meryl's role of Susan Traherne in 1985's Plenty, but different enough for them not to be redundant, as is the film itself. 

The part of Julia is serious and melancholic. Redgrave's depiction is of someone incredibly intelligent. Yet while we never doubt her fondness for Lillian, she is seemingly detached in some way from folks not at her level of intense focus and drive. 

The film was nominated for a total of eleven Academy Awards, winning three, including for Redgrave in the Supporting Actress category. Her acceptance speech is actually pretty famous for having been controversial at the time. 

Streep's presence, especially had she received anywhere near the acclaim Redgrave did, would have been a huge follow up to Close Encounters--setting the stage for Meryl to position herself as one of Hollywood's most sought-after leading ladies. 

Monday, June 8, 2020

Recasting 1977: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"

One might think that since I started Streep's "Recasting" project with a lead role, it's going to as such moving forward. I'm afraid that's not the case. One of my sort of self-imposed guidelines is that with the film replacements I'm choosing, I'd still like her recasted filmography to be one that might realistically be feasible. For example, not having anything too similar too close together, or working with the same director four years in a row. Not that there aren't examples of that, but part of the fun (and my own compulsions) is in trying to make the whole thing work as a complete set. 

With that in mind, I think it's reasonable that Meryl would have been cast in a couple more supporting roles before just becoming a major leading lady in top projects. That brings me to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This is a film that I think I had seen before. At the very least it was a film I was aware of, as I remember my dad often remarking how great of a movie he thought it was. He was never one to really seek out videos though, so it was never something we had around the house or I ever remember seeing even played on TV (although I suspect it was). 

Imagine if director Steven Spielberg had seen an early cut of Hester Street. We know that filming for Close Encounters began in May of '76. Seems a bit too close for Meryl to have caught his eye and still make it into the film. However, we also know that Melinda Dillon, who plays Jillian Guiler in Close Encounters, was only cast about a week before she was set to shoot. So, we'll pretend it was Streep instead who snuck in at the last minute to play the single mom whose son is snatched by aliens. 

I like the idea of Meryl being in a good sci-fi flick. Knowing that she was in the running for 1979's Alien, and had apparently auditioned for Princess Leia in some movie called Star Wars, it's not like she would've been opposed to the genre. This was a big picture with a good role for someone with her experience and clout (or lack thereof). Quick side note--watching it again recently, it had been completely lost on me that Melinda Dillon is Ralphie's mom in A Christmas Story, a film I watch every year around the holidays and adore. I also don't remember the film being as good as it is (again, I'm not positive I'd seen it before, but thought I had). The effects are way less cheesy than I was expecting, and for a decent-sized supporting role, Meryl would have had the chance to show of some of her stuff. 

She'd get to play a midwestern mom whose house is attacked by some alien presence, and as mentioned, deal with the aftermath of her son being abducted. It's something that could easily veer an actor into being typecast as a sort of damsel in distress, but we all know Meryl wouldn't have gravitated toward future roles that would've perpetuated that. Plus, the character of Jillian has to go through a pretty broad set of emotions in her journey--shock, fear, despondency--all the while being a determined parent, much of it done alongside the great Richard Dreyfuss.  

The film was an enormous success both critically and commercially. Dillon was the sole acting nominee (out of a total of eight) at the Academy Awards the following year. It's got a wonderful humanist message and was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry. Had Meryl been a participant, it would have no doubt given weight to her prestige as an actress in potential future projects. 

Monday, June 1, 2020

Recasting 1976: "Hester Street"

Last week, I posted my plan to recast Meryl's entire film career. I've already "reimagined" it, but that was more working under the constraints of films to which she was at least obliquely attached at some point. This newer approach actually allows for a little more imagination and risk when considering projects in which it would've been fun to see her involved.

With that in mind, my first choice in her "recast" canon will date her screen career to one year prior than when it originally began. We first saw Streep in the television movie The Deadliest Season (1977), followed by a bit role alongside Jane Fonda in Julia later that year. She'd been doing theater up to that point, but we know that she had auditioned for the role of Dwan in Dino De Laurentis's production of King Kong (1976), a role which eventually went to Jessica Lange. Streep had evidently been seen in a play by De Laurentis's son, who thought his father might want to cast her. Considering that movie started filming in early '76, Meryl likely auditioned sometime as early as mid to late 1975.

It's very possible that De Laurentis Jr. wasn't the only filmmaker who took notice of Meryl's abilities in those days. Let's pretend that one of those people happened to be director Joan Micklin Silver. She had written a screenplay of Abraham Cahan's 1896 novella Yekl, and ended up producing the film under the title Hester Street in 1975. Carol Kane scored her only Academy Award nomination for the role of Gitl, the role for which I'm choosing to recast with Meryl.

It's no secret that one of my favorite things about Meryl's characters is how diverse their speech is. It's almost a cliché these days to remark on her affinity for accents. But there's something very true and useful in that ability. It really does help capture character in a believable way. And it doesn't have to always just be with an accent; changing one's speech can completely change our perception of that person. That said, I still LOVE when Meryl speaks in different languages and voices, and something that drew my attention a while back to Hester Street is that a lot of the dialogue is in Yiddish (spoken by English-speaking American actors). Gitl also speaks English with a Yiddish accent.

I think it's important to mention that it would've been highly unlikely for Streep to be cast in this film. Understanding that it was a sort of love letter to Micklin Silver's Russian Jewish ancestry, I expect she had specific intentions in casting it with Jewish actors. It's certainly presumptuous of me to assume Meryl would have ever been considered, even if she had been on the director's radar as an actress. But that's part of the fun of this whole idea of recasting.

I watched the film for the first time last week--a pretty quick ninety minutes. I couldn't help but think that it wouldn't have been too wild to see something like this as Meryl's first film role: small budget, pretty obscure, almost stage-like. What I wasn't necessarily expecting was how emotionally drawn I was to Gitl and her plight. Perhaps I'm just a little more sensitive these days to folks being oppressed for reasons as stupid as religion or race.

She arrives in New York with her young son as an immigrant from Eastern Europe at the end of the 19th century. Her husband Yankle (having already changed his name to Jake) has been waiting for her, and has more or less already assimilated to life in the U.S. He is verbally abusive when Gitl attempts to maintain some sense of her and their son's heritage. Jake has also been pursuing a dancer named Mamie, which doesn't end when Gitl arrives. If anything, with Jake's disappointment in Gitl's hesitance to immerse herself in American culture, he is drawn even more to his extramarital relationship. Gitl ends up divorcing Jake and marrying a man named Bernstein, who is more traditional.

Micklin Silver apparently adapted the novella with more focus shifted to the point of view of the woman. She does a brilliant job, as does Kane, at letting us understand and feel the frightening events and emotions immigrants undergo when reaching their new homes. On top of that, imagine being expected to just drop your identity upon arrival. It's one thing to learn the local language. It's quite another to consider doing away with the parts of yourself and your history that make you you, and that make you proud or give you a sense of belonging. I felt that watching Gitl. It was touching and maddening at the same time.

So how great would it be to see what Meryl would do with this role?! As previously mentioned above, were it to have happened the way I'm suggesting here, the film would've had to gone into production up to a year after it did in real life. But that's not a huge deal...films are constantly getting pushed back due to budget or casting issues, so a one-year bump isn't enough to make it too unrealistic to fit within the framework of what I have in mind for my recasting project.

I hope everyone reading this considers taking an hour and a half to watch this lovely film.

Stay safe.

Monday, May 25, 2020

New blog project: 'Recasting'

In 2014, I wrote a series of posts where I "reimagined" Meryl's film career.  I had been interested in what it would have been like had she actually been cast in certain roles we never got to see her play. The period of the early 90s had been a major question mark for me at the time, wondering how she ended up taking the roles she did, and why she wasn't in more popular or more acclaimed fare for an actress of her caliber. With very few exceptions, I kept it limited to those that she was rumored to have been attached to at one point, or had dropped out of.

But I haven't been satisfied with leaving it there. I've thought about what her sort of "perfect career" would've looked like occasionally since then, and at some point, I'll post about adjustments I'd make to my previous piece on her "reimagined history." An updated version would mostly consists of additional deletions. I wanted to fit so much in!

So why not just write separately about what would've been fun to see her in outside her normal or my reimagined filmography? Call it a sort of parallel career to the one she's had (or even that I wished she could have had). There are so many roles over the past forty years from movies I've either never seen or absolutely adore for which I'd give my eyeteeth to see a version of Meryl in.

So I'm going to do it. I'll go one year at a time, starting with the beginning of her career. I'm going to try to not just randomly choose a bunch or roles, but to consider how it would've been if she truly did do them all the order I have planned (meaning she would mix things up and not do anything that was too similar too close together, for example). I'll of course take several liberties and apply certain ground rules to keep myself on task. A few guidelines I'm going to follow:

1. I will chose one role for each calendar year, with at least one exception.
2. The roles have to have been reasonable for her to play at the time (age, career stage, whether she was pregnant).
3. The roles will all be lead, with one exception...sort of?
4. Every role will be for a project that was officially released (no unproduced films that I just wish would've come to fruition and didn't).
5. I will start her film career with a film being released in 1976--the year prior to her current filmography (the audacity!)

These are subject to change, but I'm pretty good at sticking to my rules. At some point I might do the same thing with supporting roles, but we'll see how this all goes first. I've pretty much already solidified every choice. Some of my picks will probably make people scratch their heads, but this is after all a personal list. It's fun to choose things that are a bit more risky than I expect Meryl would have ever gone for, regardless of where she happened to be in her career. But those are the ones we probably want to see her play the most anyway!

What I'm possibly looking forward to most about this is all the film history I'm diving into starting in the mid 70s--seeing which roles and films were prominent at the time that I may not have remembered or thought of, or haven't even seen! And then getting to imagine her in the ones I do remember fondly, or happen to consider exciting and well-made, but she either was never offered, or may not have had interest in accepting.

I'm going to try to do one post per week, which means the first entry (probably next week) will be for 1976. Keep in mind my choices may not necessarily be films that were exactly released in that year, but generally they will be. If not, it'll be within one or two. Any guesses?

Looking forward to undertaking this compulsion project!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Thoughts on "Babylon"

Last week, there was an article that rumored Meryl was being courted for a supporting role in Damien Chazelle's upcoming drama Babylon. We need to make sure to take this with a grain of salt, as seven days later, I've seen no additional sources confirming that Meryl has even been approached, much less accepted the offer to play Elinor Glyn.

I managed to score a copy of the scrip. At 184 pages, the version I read is long! From what I understand, however, Chazelle had been asked to cut up to thirty pages to make it more palatable to distributors. I'm guessing the script I read is pre-trim.

Obviously I cared most about getting a sense of Meryl's potential role. I'll say form the outset that it's not a huge part in terms of scenes. But she's present regularly throughout the story, not like it's only one big scene or she's only around in one half of the picture. Her character would be a little quirky, would have an accent, a racist edge, and sort of be the one who knows more than most people in the movie about what's really going on with everybody. She would have one pretty dramatic exchange with Brad Pitt's character toward the end, where she basically shuts him down and offers a sort of philosophical insight on filmmaking after he gets angry for an unflattering column she runs on him. If Meryl does indeed accept this role (again, assuming she's offered it), it's certainly not going to be because it's a huge acting vehicle for her. But she's taken some smaller roles for projects she wanted to be a part of in recent years: Suffragette, Little Women, Mary Poppins Returns, The Giver. And among these mentioned, I'd say Elinor Glyn is comparable in size to her role in The Giver (maybe a little bigger), but is MUCH more interesting. Plus I'd expect Babylon to be a far superior film.

Now to the script itself. It is absolutely a story I'd like to see get made. It depicts Hollywood's often seedy underbelly during the transition from silent films to talkies. One thing that does give me pause about Meryl's participation in it is how explicit it is. I do wonder though if some of the cutting Chazelle does or did would be to tone down some of the overt sexual depictions (we're talking orgies, dildos, pissing, anal). Unless they want an NC-17 rating (which would likely strongly hinder box office chances) some of those scenes will have to be cut or at least softened somehow. There is also a LOT of drug use, some gory violence, and every other word is pretty much "fuck." Reading it, it sort of felt like a whirlwind cross between something I'd see from Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. Regardless, I enjoyed it.

On the plus side, the cast would be rather diverse, and Hollywood tends to love movies about itself. With its "proposed" release date of Christmas 2021, you know they're shooting for that prime Oscar slot.

I, for one, would love to see Meryl in something like this.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Streep rumored for supporting role in Damien Chazelle's "Babylon"

Full Circle (who?) has reported that Meryl is under consideration for a supporting role in director Damien Chazelle's upcoming film, Babylon, set in 1920s Hollywood. A quick blurb on her character form the site:

"Streep is being eyed to play Elinor Glyn in a supporting role. Described as “Hollywood’s dowager duchess,” Glyn is a famous screenwriter, author, and gossip columnist who popularized the concept of “It -girl” and launched Stone’s character Clara Bow into superstardom along with many others."

The "Stone" mentioned would be none other than Emma Stone. Brad Pitt is also in negotiations to star. Here's a detailed summary from IMDb:

"The story is set in Pre-Code Hollywood in the late 1920s and early 1930s, during the film industry's transition from silent films to talkies. This era of Hollywood was renowned not only for its legendary parties and riotous behavior but also for its transgressive film content. Prior to 1934, Hollywood films could depict or imply nudity, obscene gestures, homosexual relations, adultery, rape, abortion, and drug use. When the Motion Picture Production Code was enforced 1934, the content of films was severely restricted, and Pre-Code films were not permitted by censors to be re-released without permanent cuts to the master prints. The Code would remain in effect until 1968 by which time the transgressive era of Pre-Code cinema had been forgotten in the national memory."

I'm of course taking this with a grain of salt, at least until we get a few more sources citing Meryl's involvement. Chazelle is a well-respected director, following his Oscar win for directing La La Land in 2016. And Glyn seems like an interesting character.

The biggest question may be when Miss Covid will let them begin filming...

portrait of Elinor Glyn (1942)

Saturday, May 9, 2020

When will "Let Them All Talk" be released?

HBO Max will launch at the end of the month (27th). For a while now I've been assuming that Meryl's second movie with director Steven Soderbergh, Let Them All Talk, might be a perfect product to help attract early subscriptions. But as we near the date, there is no indication that the film is even finished with post-production, much less that it will be part of the new platform's launch strategy.

My assumption continues to be that if the film is indeed shown on HBO Max (which owns the rights), that it will then technically be a TV movie, and eligible for Emmys, not Oscars. Knowing that the Emmy year ends on May 31, I was hoping they'd release it by then. That would mean that Meryl would possibly be up for two Emmys when the nominations are announced in July. I think she's a pretty strong contender for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for HBO's Big Little Lies. 

Who knows, maybe they'll end up giving the film a theatrical release? But I doubt it. One small piece of info about the film I happened to notice today is that the name of Streep's character in the film, a famous author, will be Alice Hughes. Very writer-y.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Ryan Murphy confirms plan for "The Prom" to be released as scheduled

Last month, I had read an interview where director Ryan Murphy had suggested The Prom might make it to the screen by year's end after all. Late this week, several sources quoted Murphy in a more formal update on the standing of the Netflix film's production:

All of the leads had wrapped. The last scene that I shot was Nicole Kidman’s last scene. Meryl had finished and James Corden had finished, and Andrew Rannells and Nicole had all finished. The only thing that I had is I had two days of second unit pickup… I hope this summer I can go back and quickly pick them up… The movie was supposed to come out right around Christmas, was the plan. November, Thanksgiving, Christmas in that window. Hopefully, I’ll be able to still do that.

This info insn't drastically new, but it's good to hear specifics about the leads having finished their shooting. I have to imainge that the type of shots they still need to get could be completed in time for a finished product by December. We also learn that every song from the original Broadway production has made it into the film, including one original song (no word on who it's for, but apparently it's a powerful ballad about acceptance--my guess is the protaganist, Emma). 

And if you haven't already seen this gem from last weekend's 90th birthday tribute to Stephen Sondheim, you're missing out.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Tune in to watch Meryl salute Stephen Sondheim

Need a little pick-me-up during quarantine? Tomorrow night, Meryl, along with a star-studded slew of other performers, will salute composer Stephen Sondheim for his 90th birthday. Broadway.com will be streaming the concert live at 7 pm Central:

This once-in-a-lifetime event, benefiting ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), will include songs of inspiration from the Sondheim catalog performed by many of the artists who delivered iconic turns in his musicals, including Meryl Streep, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin, Audra McDonald, Christine Baranski, Donna Murphy, Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Aaron Tveit, Maria Friedman, Katrina Lenk, Michael Cerveris, Brandon Uranowitz, Elizabeth Stanley, Chip Zien, Alexander Gemignani, Iain Armitage, Stephen Schwartz and, from the cast of Pacific Overtures at Classic Stage Company, Ann Harada, Austin Ku, Kelvin Moon Loh and Thom Sesma.

Streep of course starred as the Witch in the 2014 film version of Sondheim's musical, Into the Woods. But who knows if she'll be singing a song from that production. My husband Joe is a HUGE Sondheim fan, so the two of us will definitely be tuning in to find out!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A quintet of new voices awaits

Things are very much on hold these days. Our jobs, our activities, the world. That certainly includes the work that takes place among filmmakers. Most, if not all, production has been shut down for film and television due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which certainly affects Meryl too. We already know that The Prom still has a good chance of reaching Netflix by the end of the year. I'm actually surprised that we don't have more news on Steven Soderbergh's HBO Max film, Let Them All Talk. I wouldn't be surprised if we get news this week that it's coming out before May, or that it's not being released until fall. Who knows.

With all this in mind, my mind wanders into the realm of possibility again. Meryl has no future projects "solidified" for production coming up over the next year. Five film roles stand out to me that would potentially be great biopic vehicles. Each of them include a lead character with a very distinct voice, which is Meryl's specialty (and something I personally love witnessing). The fun thing is, all five of the below roles actually have completed scripts, just waiting for that elusive green light. Some food for thought amidst these quiet days.

1. Maria Callas in Master Class

I start with this one because it might be the least likely to happen, knowing that it was probably only a "go" if Mike Nichols were still with us. It might be a stretch age-wise for even Meryl at this point as well. But you never know! She'd get to do a Greek-American accent.

2. Diana Nyad in Nyad

Nyad doesn't necessarily have an accent, per se, but she has a distinct speaking style, and often quotes her adoptive father, who was Greek-Egyptian. I've actually read this script, and Nyad speaks some Spanish in it as well. Knowing the Tokyo Olympics are now pushed to 2021, if this were to film at the end of this year, it would be a great film to release during all the competitive hype of The Games next summer.

3. Lilly Ledbetter in Lilly

I've posted about this in recent weeks. Meryl has backed director Rachel Feldman's script about the fair pay activist, and the film is currently listed as "in production" on IMDb. I continue to maintain that it would be super weird to me that if the role is for someone in Meryl's age demographic, that she wouldn't be the first choice to play her. She'd get to do an Alabaman accent.

4. Susan Boyle (no known title, possibly The Woman I Was Born to Be)

It's been almost seven years since rumors first swirled that Meryl was being courted to play the Scottish star made famous after her 2009 appearance on Britain's Got Talent. Those rumors were bolstered a bit more this past fall when it was revealed that the film, based on Boyle's 2010 memoir, was likely moving ahead within the next year. Boyle was quoted as saying that the woman selected to portray her was a "bit of a surprise," and that she had some say in the casting.

5. Anna Anderson in Duchess

This is likely going to be a new one for people. Anderson was an eccentric Prussian woman who fooled many people into believing she was actually the slain Romanov princes, the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia. This film has been in development hell since 2014, when it was announced that Glenn Close would be portraying the title character. It's to a be a dark comedy, during the time Anderson's husband sort of kidnaps her out of her court-ordered retirement home to take her on a honeymoon road trip through Virginia.

I doubt at this point it'll ever happen with Close, and I'm sure people will flip out if Meryl ever "stole" the role. Regardless, it'd be an interesting person to see on screen. I've read that Anderson (born
Franziska Schanzkowska) spoke with what was described by some hospital orderlies as "German with a Russian accent."

Saturday, April 11, 2020

"Little Women" available on DVD and Blu-ray

I'm a little late on this, but Little Women was released to DVD and Blu-ray earlier this week.

I love how strong the cover art is, and the "6 Academy Award Nominations" tag is a no doubt a great marketing boost. 

Lord knows many of us are finding ourselves with ample free time on our hands theses days, as it's basically a life-threatening endeavor to even step outside or get within six feet of a friend. Personally, Joe and I have been watching some classic films from the 30s, 40s and 50s. 

The time to watch Meryl movies, however, is and always will be, the present. Carry on and stay safe. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

"The Prom" likely to be released without issue

After The Prom was shut down last month due to Coronavirus concerns, it left some doubt as to whether the film would finish shooting. At the time, it sounded like the issue was that there was one final scene that took place in school with a huge group--obviously not the appropriate thing to be undertaking right now.

An article was released yesterday in which director Ryan Murphy describes how the outcome of the film really isn't in any danger, stating:

"The Prom" was pretty much all shot. We had two days of second-unit (filming) left. 
 "The Prom" was never going to come out until later in the year, 
 like Thanksgiving or Christmastime. 
 Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up those moments this summer. … 
 So, that movie wasn't really impacted by this 
 because I had already shot almost all of it."

I had to look up what "second unit" meant, and I guess it's where a second group of filmmakers work on supplementary footage like background shots, cutaways and inserts. It does not include direct filming with the main cast. I was also under the impression based on previous articles that the film was set for a third quarter release. Murphy suggests that it was always planned to be released toward the end of the year--which is good, since it now provides more time for completion. Add to that, since it's a Netflix film, there's not wide theater release to worry about getting mucked up. They only need a limited release for film awards chances. 

At least we have one piece of good news during this awful time. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Trailer for "Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth"

Meryl is narrating the upcoming animated short film, Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, for Apple TV+. The trailer was released earlier today:

The film is based on the best-selling children's book of the same name by Oliver Jeffries, and is set to be available for streaming on April 17 in celebration of Earth Day.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Update on Emmy predictions for 2020

In the midst of what may possibly be the most monumental worldwide event of our lifetimes, one thing that is allowed to continue is TV watching. The deadline for Emmy consideration ends on May 31, with nominations to follow on July 14.

I posted back in October some speculation about Meryl's chances. I happened to take another peek to see how things were shaking down in regard to updated predictions on Gold Derby. While Meryl is still listed in the majority of predictors of whom they expect to get nominated, I'd say she averaging about third place in predictions.

As expected, Helena Bonham Carter is leading the pack for her portrayal of Princess Margaret in Netflix's The Crown. Hot off her Oscar nomination for Harriet, Cynthia Erivo is nabbing a few mentions for her work in The Outsider. Julia Garner is very popular as well on Ozark, and several think Ann Dowd will show up nomination morning for The Handmaid's Tale. Laura Dern is still showing up on some lists as well (Big Little Lies), but I actually think she's less likely to be nominated after having just won the Oscar for Marriage Story. I expect some people will think she's had enough recognition this season.

It's kind of a slow time for Meryl news these days. Please offer any suggestions on topics you'd like to hear about or anything you'd like to see discussed!

Stay safe and healthy.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Shoulda Coulda Wouldas #17: "Catherine the Great"

Back in December 2012, I made my first "official" Wish List entry. I had just finished Robert K. Massie's biography on Catherine the Great, and of course opined at the time how great it would be if Meryl could portray the Russian Empress in a film.

Fast forward to 2019, and the story is brought to screen as a four-part HBO limited series starring Helen Mirren.

I watched it last fall of course. While I was thrilled that the series showcased the czar's reign later in life, the story never really provided a deep sense of urgency. Yes, there were struggles and dangers, and my GOD the scenery and costumes were breathtaking. But at times it just sort of felt like it was taking too long to get somewhere.

I wouldn't have minded a little bit of a lighter tone at time in the series. In general, I thought the acting was good, particularly Mirren of course. It's kind of funny how this is the second Shoulda Coulda Woulda where she ultimately plays a role I had wanted to see Streep play (The Last Station), and also the second one where she plays a Russian woman speaking in and surrounded by a family of people who have an English accents. Obviously they weren't just going to do the whole thing in Russian or German or French, but it's a bit awkward when I think of it.

This also would've been a wonderful opportunity for Meryl to have love interests much younger than her! Mirren does a great job showcasing how a woman over sixty can still be and want to be sexy. It's so rare to see women on screen in romantic relationships at all, much less with men twenty years their junior.

Sadly, Meryl was never really up for this role. Director Philip Martin had Mirren in mind from the start, evidently having developed the project around her. Regardless, it's still fun to picture what Meryl could have done with the role, portraying a monarch with such absolute power. It's highly unlikely we're ever going to see her in this character after this production.

On to the next...

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Production on "The Prom" halted due to coronavirus concerns

Deadline is reporting that due to concerns over the coronavirus, production on The Prom has been shut down for the time being. They were apparently set to wrap shooting over the next few days, but one of the last scenes was set in a high school, which was closed for health concerns.

The good news is that 1) they were close to finishing up, so not much left to shoot, and 2) the tentative plan is to resume/finish in mid April.

The way the whole planet seems to be shutting down, however, it's anyone's guess when production will continue. Regardless, I fully expect this to be released in 2020. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

"Little Women" available today on digital platforms

As of today, you can stream Little Women on digital platforms. The best part of things coming to video nowadays is the the behind-the-scenes content they include. Little Women is likely to be no exception. Can't wait to check out the extras!

The film will be available on Blu-ray and DVD (what's that?) in a few weeks--April 7.

Friday, March 6, 2020

The costume parade continues on the set of "The Prom"

Newest pic of Meryl on the set of The Prom:

I've probably said this before in earlier posts, but I'm getting so many Liza Minnelli vibes from her costumes and styling. 

Additional recent pics on set including Nicole Kidman and James Corden can be found here

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Accents mastered updated

I was thinking about what actual accent Meryl employs for her characterization of Aunt March in Little Women. A lot of people probably assume everyone is just doing a general American accent (considering all the March sisters were portrayed by non-Americans). But we know Meryl doesn't normally sound like that.

It's not specifically what we'd think of as a Boston accent, but I'm going to go with "Northeastern New England."  It seems to fit the description on Wikipedia, at least in regard some of the geography. Let me know if you think there is a better term!

The updated list is as follows:

The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979)--Tennessean
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)--British (specifically Received Pronunciation)
Sophie's Choice (1982)--Polish (in English and German)
Silkwood (1983)--Texan
Plenty (1985)--British (I think it's also RP)
Out of Africa (1985)--Danish
Ironweed (1987)--Irish-American
A Cry in the Dark (1988)--New Zealand (with strong layers of Australian)
The Bridges of Madison County (1995)--Italian (Meryl calls it Iowatalian)
Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)--Northern Irish
Angels in America (2003)--Yiddish and Bronx (in separate roles)
Prime (2005)--Manhattan (specifically Upper West Side)
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)--Upper Midwestern
Doubt (2008)--Bronx
Julie & Julia (2009)--Boston Brahmin
The Iron Lady (2011)--British (again RP)
August: Osage County (2013)--Oklahoman
The Homesman (2014)--Central Plains Midwestern
Suffragette (2015)--British (Received Pronunciation)
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)--Mid-Atlantic
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)--vaguely Russian
The Laundromat (2019)--nondescript Latin (possibly Panamanian Spanish)
Little Women (2019)--Northeastern New England

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

New pics of Meryl on the set of "The Prom"

Filming for Ryan Murphy's Netflix adaptation of The Prom continues in Los Angeles. Meryl was spotted again this week on set:

Credit to The Daily Mail for the pics. Meryl is looking mighty fine in the white suit and red hair. Looking forward to her characterization of Dee Dee. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Wish list entry #7: Márta Károlyi

Last week, it was announced that Olivia Wilde has been tapped to direct an adaptation of gymnast Kerri Strug's memoir, Perfect. As a huge fan of Olympic gymnastics, it got me thinking about team U.S.A. and the 1996 games in Atlanta. I had become a huge fan as early as 1991, after Kim Zmeskal won the World Championships in Indianapolis, and was glued to the TV whenever events came on leading up to Barcelona in '92.

Always looming behind the scenes in any competition were Béla and Márta Károlyi, the Romanian-American husband-wife team who had coached both Nadia Comăneci and Mary Lou Retton to Olympic gold. To me, they'd always seemed like the epitome of people at the top of their field, and with their prestigious training camp in Houston, were the envy of gymnastics clubs throughout the country.

Cut to present day, the Károlyis have had a bit of a fall from grace. Following the conviction of team U.S.A. doctor Larry Nassar for multiple counts of sexual misconduct, investigations into the Károlyi training center have resulted in lawsuits against the couple, claiming they turned a blind eye to the awful assaults. Others came out of the woodwork to also claim instances of physical abuse at the hands of the Károlyis. Their training facility has since been shut down.

Doesn't this seem totally ripe for a film version of the events? Perfect doesn't necessarily seem like it's going to specifically cover the investigations, rather Strug's experiences leading up to the famous vault where she injured her ankle in securing gold for her team. While that may be a worthy story (it seems a bit sugary to me on the surface--but some who've read the script say it's more akin to Whiplash), I think it would be vastly more interesting to produce a movie that focuses mainly on the Károlyis. Perhaps an adaptation of Dominique Moceanu's book about her life inside the Károlyi camp instead?

Who knows, maybe Wilde's film will actually have a juicy supporting part for Márta. If so, I'm sure Meryl would be great at showcasing the complexity of this elusive, if now somewhat infamous, woman.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Looking ahead in 2020

The dust has settled on the season. For the second consecutive year, Meryl was not nominated for an Academy Award. While she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her TV work in last summer's Big Little Lies, overall it was a pretty quiet season (she'll likely get an Emmy nod, this summer though). I don't have high hopes for her getting nominated for anything else next year either, at least at the Oscars. Her best chance would probably be for Ryan Murphy's Broadway adaptation of The Prom. It totally seems like slam dunk for Best Actress-Musical or Comedy at the Globes, but with a likely late summer release on Netflix and the fact that it's a bit lighter fare, that's the furthest I expect her to go. If that happens, it'll be the longest she's gone without an Oscar nom since 2006, when she was nominated for The Devil Wears Prada four years after Adaptation.

We're still not sure when we're going to see the release of Steven Soderbergh's Let Them All Talk. I don't know if we can expect any kind of theatrical release for the HBO Max film. My guess is probably not, and it will therefore be only eligible for TV awards. Probably better for Meryl's chances at some more recognition in 2021. I read a while back that many people think the movie will be one of the first things the new platform will release when it launches in May. Considering Soderbergh shot the whole thing in like two weeks, it'll probably be ready by then. That would be wonderful.

Mum's the word on whether or not The Nix will ever get made. The further it goes without any news, the less likely I think it will be that we'll see it. I'd still like to see it get made. Great premise, great characters, timely.

Speaking of timely, last week we learned that Streep has put some money behind Rachel Feldman's Lilly Ledbetter biopic, Lilly. I maintain that it would be strange if Meryl were producing a film whose main character is someone she could play. It seems like it would be a great vehicle for her. But as someone on this blog suggested, if the film does get made, and it's without Meryl, perhaps it's because Meryl already has something in the works we don't know about. With The Prom likely wrapping in the next few weeks, Meryl will then have no official projects with production schedules in place.

More to come...

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Some Oscar predictions

Tomorrow is the big day! Meryl isn't nominated for an individual award of course, but Little Women is up for six categories. Best chance for the film is likely costume design for Jacqueline Durran, but Greta Gerwig could be a spoiler for Adapted Screenplay.

Incidentally, the film surpassed the $100 million mark at the box office this week.

Below are my predictions in the top seven categories:

Best Picture

alt. Parasite

Sam Mendes (1917)

alt. Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)

Actress in a Leading Role
Renée Zellweger (Judy)

alt. Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)

Actor in a Leading Role
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

alt. Adam Driver (Marriage Story)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Laura Dern (Marriage Story)

alt. Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)

Actor in a Supporting Role
Brad Pitt (Once upon a Time...in Hollywood)

alt. Joe Pesci (The Irishman)

Original Screenplay
Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin Won (Parasite)

alt. Quentin Tarantino (Once upon a Time...in Hollywood)

Adapted Screenplay
Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit)

alt. Greta Gerwig (Little Women)


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Streep as Lilly Ledbetter?

For possibly the first time in the history of my blog, I deleted a post. Just a few minutes ago, I had posted about today's news from the Hollywood Reporter that Meryl had decided to co-produce the film Lilly, a biopic on Lilly Ledbetter, set to be directed by Rachel Feldman. Ledbetter is known for suing her employer, Goodyear, for equal pay.

Cut to me only realizing after I published the post that Ledbetter's fight against her employer was not in the late 70s like I had originally thought (when she would've been around 40), but in 2007, when she was closer to 70. I was under the impression that Meryl couldn't realistically portray Ledbetter in a film about her equal pay fight, but now I can't imagine how she won't!

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was the first piece of legislation President Obama signed after his inauguration. Ledbetter won her suit against Goodyear, but it was appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court, where she ended up losing. The move by Congress to enact the new statute in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision adjusted the timeline for filing sex discrimination suits.

Evidently the film, originally under the working title Ledbetter, was sort of lying development stasis. Maybe Meryl is lending some financial support and also "offering" to play the title role. Biopic, women's equality--seems right up Streep's ally. I wonder if it might seem a little bit too much like Silkwood, however. Ultimately though, if the script is good enough, I can totally see Meryl starring in this. 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

"Little Women" one for five at BAFTA Awards

Little Women went into today's ceremony for the British Academy Film Awards with five nominations. I wasn't really expecting it to come away with much, but it managed to score a win for costume designer Jacqueline Durran. The award I expected the film was more likely to get was for Greta Gerwig in adapted screenplay., which ended up going to Taika Waititi for Jojo Rabbit. 

The Oscars are only a week away. I'll post some predictions next weekend. It'd be nice to see Little Women come away with at least one trophy. I'm thinking Gerwig is actually in a pretty good spot to pull off the upset.

Hard to believe awards season is almost over! The full list of BAFTA winners can be found here.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Kevin Chamberlin joins "The Prom"

Multiple sources are reporting that three-time Tony Award nominee Kevin Chamberlin has joined the cast of The Prom. Chamberlin will portray publicist Sheldon Saperstein, a role which had originally been reported as being filled by Awkwafina.

I had thought recently about Awkwafina's participation int he film, as with all her publicity this awards season for her work in The Farewell, I've not heard her talk about The Prom. Her name hadn't been on the IMDb page, so not surprising that she's ultimately not in the movie after all.

Filming is currently underway, with Ryan Murphy directing. A fall 2020 release is expected on Netflix.

Friday, January 24, 2020

"Little Women" continues strong run at the box office

As Little Women enters its fifth weekend in theaters, box office returns are remaining steady. Against a budget of $40 million, the film currently sits at $88m domestically, with a worldwide total of about $133m. It's likely to surpass the $100 domestic total in the next couple of weeks if things continue at this rate.

This is a strong showing for a remake, considering it's also a female-centered film with no big special effects. If the film happens to come away with any Oscars (best possibility I think is Adapted Screenplay for director Greta Gerwig), marketing will be able to push that as another draw for viewers. Regardless, it's a triumph for Gerwig, the cast, and the crew, both critically and commercially.

The Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, February 9.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Streep set to narrate animated short film for Apple TV+

Multiple sources are reporting today that Meryl will be producing and narrating an upcoming animated short film to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth will follow a young boy (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) who learns about the "wonders of the planet" from his parents (voiced by Ruth Negga and Chris O'Dowd).

The film is based on the New York Times bestseller by Oliver Jeffers. It is set for release to the platform Apple TV on April 17.

Monday, January 13, 2020

"Little Women" nominated for six Academy Awards

The nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards were announced this morning. Little Women came away with six:

Best Picture - Amy Pascal (producer)
Adapted Screenplay - Greta Gerwig
Actress in a Leading Role - Saoirse Ronan
Actress in a Supporting Role - Florence Pugh
Original Score - Alexandre Desplat
Costume Design - Jacqueline Durran

This is the second time in three years that Meryl has been in a film nominated for Best Picture (The Post). Super happy for Florence and Saoirse, as neither of their nominations seemed like sure things as of yesterday. The rest were pretty expected.

Some surprises: the biggest of course has to be the J Lo snub. She was trending top two or three in predictions for her supporting role in Hustlers. Gotta think Kathy Bates snuck in over her. Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce both made it in for Best Actor as well. I was a little surprised at Cynthia Erivo cracking the top five in Best Actress for Harriet, but thank god they got at least one person of color in the acting categories. I wished we could've seen Awkwafina make it in...I really liked The Farewell. 

The Oscar ceremony will be held on Sunday, February 9.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

"Little Women" scores five BAFTA nominations

I am woefully late on this. After the Globes on Sunday (sad Meryl didn't win but love Patricia Arquette), I totally forgot that the BAFTA nominations were coming out this week! I wasn't expecting Meryl to be nominated individually for anything, but it was nice to see Little Women earn five nominations:

Leading Actress - Saoirse Ronan
Supporting Actress - Florence Pugh
Adapted Screenplay - Greta Gerwig
Original Score - Alexandre Desplat
Costume Design - Jacqueline Durran

BAFTA was probably going to be the easiest of the "Big Four" for Ronan and Pugh to get, but it bodes well for their Oscar chances when nominations are announced Monday morning!

The BAFTA Awards ceremony takes place Sunday, February 2.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

2020 Golden Globe predictions

Awards season is officially upon us! Tomorrow night the Golden Globes will premiere, and Meryl is up for Supporting Actress in a Television Series for her work in season two of Big Little Lies. While I think she stands a decent chance at taking home the hardware, I'm not predicting her. Below are some of my predictions for winners is various categories. The full list of nominees can be found here.

Best Motion Picture - Drama--The Irishman

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy--Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood

Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama--Renée Zellweger

Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama--Adam Driver

Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy--Awkwafina

Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy--Eddie Murphy

Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture--Laura Dern

Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture--Brad Pitt

Best Actress - Limited Series or TV Movie--Michelle Williams

Best Actor - Limited Series or TV Movie--Sam Rockwell

Best TV Series - Drama--Succession

Best Actress - TV Drama--Olivia Colman

Best Actor - TV Drama--Billy Porter

Best Supporting Actress - TV--Helena Bonham Carter

Best Supporting Actor- TV--Andrew Scott