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. 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.