Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Streep scores Emmy nomination for "Big Little Lies"

The Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced today, and as expected, Meryl came away with a nomination for her work in HBO's Big Little Lies. 

Her fellow nominees in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category include:

Laura Dern (Big Little Lies)
Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown)
Samira Wiley (The Handmaid's Tale)
Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve)
Julia Garner (Ozark)
Sarah Snook (Succession)
Thandie Newton (Westworld)

I'm guessing Meryl is probably going to come in around third in this race. Bonham Carter and Julia Garner seem likeliest for the win, to me. Laura Dern won two years ago for the same role and just won an Oscar earlier this year, so I'm guessing she's out. Westworld is a bit of old news at this point, while both Fiona Shaw and Samira Wiley were pretty big surprises in the category. And as much as I love Succession, Sarah Snook might have just squeaked in as well. Were Meryl to win, this would be her fourth Emmy trophy. 

But who knows?! Winners are to be announced in a "live ceremony" hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on September 20. Chances are very low that there will actually be nominees in attendance. Thanks, Covid. 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

"The Prom" to briefly resume filming

Multiple sources are reporting that Ryan Murphy's Netflix musical The Prom is set to finish up its previously interrupted filming this week in Los Angeles. As Murphy had previously indicated, principle production had essentially been completed, but there was some "second unit" filming still left to do. 

It's been confirmed that Meryl, Nicole Kidman, and James Corden are not involved in this latest shoot. It's more getting shots for scene continuity and stuff like that. Apparently Netflix is using this abbreviated schedule as a bit of a litmus test for their other future productions, and how they plan to manage the precautions necessitated by the pandemic. 

I'm just glad that we're pretty much guaranteed two new Meryl movie movies by the end of the year! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Recasting 1981: "Reds"

Hot off an uncharacteristically steamy role in 1980's American Gigolo, I'm inserting Meryl into Warren Beatty's drama, Reds. The film was based on the lives of American journalists John Reed (Beatty) and Louise Bryant (originally played by Diane Keaton), and their involvement in the Russian Revolution during World War I. 

This role seems right up Meryl's usual alley: period piece, biopic, vast scope, political message. In the early stages of her (real) career, she likely didn't have the chops for such a big project--Keaton was a more established leading lady at that point. But again, we're creating our own version of Meryl's filmography with this recasting, so we'll assume that given her résumé from the few years prior to this potential project, she was prime for a sweeping epic alongside Hollywood royalty. 

In the film, Bryant is attracted to Reed's idealism, and ends up leaving her husband to join him in New York. The two have a tumultuous relationship, and Bryan ends up having an affair with playwright Eugene O'Neill, played by Jack Nicholson. Bryant grows increasingly radical, and ends up heading to Europe to be a correspondent during the war. She ends up reuniting with Reed, and they get caught up in the events of the 1917 Russian Revolution. 

 Keaton plays Bryant with her usual exasperated quirkiness. I was drawn out of the plot a little at times, as Keaton comes off so modern to me, that it occasionally didn't seem like this was a setting in the early 20th century. Not that it's bad to forget the characters are from a long time ago, but it takes away form the scope of it all when they ever seem out of their era. Ditto that for Beatty at times. Maybe that's actually the way progressive journalists form that era sounded like?


It would've been fun to see Meryl negotiate the complexities of a woman with very independent thinking at that time. Add to that, I imagine the film was a bit radical in itself, as it depicted communism in a sympathetic light...not exactly something typical for American films in the 1980s. 

The film was wildly popular with critics and earned twelve Academy Award nominations, including Keaton for Best Actress. It was also a modest success at the box office. Overall, participation in a film that was as well-received and high profile as this one would have only bolstered Meryl's already burgeoning reputation as one of the most sought-after leading ladies of her time. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

First look at "Let Them All Talk"

HBO Max has unveiled a promotional video for its upcoming content. Included in it is Meryl's upcoming film directed by Steven Soderbergh, Let Them All Talk. Jump to 1:52 for the content:

At a mere seven seconds of video, it's going to be almost impossible to really glean anything of importance from the clip. Meryl looks and sounds like herself. We get a second of Dianne Wiest, Lucas Hedges, Gemma Chan, and Candice Bergen. We get a tidbit of conflict when Bergen's character asks Meryl's character, "Does anybody trust you?"  

No official word on when or how they plan to release it. With the current Covid situation, are we looking at an HBO Max platform only, or also theater release? Considering the Academy has apparently waived the requirement for theater releases to be eligible (I think?) for Oscars, I'm guessing they're just going to release it to HBO only. 

Looking forward to a trailer. 

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.