Sunday, January 2, 2022

What's in store for 2022?

Happy New Year! As 2021 came to a close, people can't stop talking about Don't Look Up and the film is a big hit for Netflix. It's nice to see that although there were a lot of people who didn't like it, there are a lot of people who do, and it has sparked quite a bit of attention and discussion. It'll be fun to see how it fares in the upcoming months of awards season. SAG nominations come out on the 12th, and I think the cast has a decent shot at an ensemble nod. 

Beyond that, the Apple TV+ limited series Extrapolations is apparently already shooting (or maybe is done shooting?). There is still zero information on what Meryl's role is going to be, but it'd be nice if it were substantial in size. Tough to predict when we'll get to see this show, but I'm guessing it'll be the second half of this year, most likely fourth quarter. 

And speaking of zero information, that's what we've had about Places, Please since it was announced almost a year ago now that Meryl would be starring in it. I'm sure it's still possible that they'll pull it together. In fact, it seems the type of movie that wouldn't need a lot of time in post, so could reasonably shoot this spring and be released by the end of the year. By the way she and the would-be director, Michael Cristofer, were interviewed about it at the time of the announcement, it seemed like a pretty sure thing. There was obviously a director attached, they had producers (including Meryl, which is rare), and they apparently had a shooting start date planned for summer. Then it was radio silence. Considering that Cristofer has described the role of Lillian Hall as "extraordinary," I hope we get to see Meryl in this. 

How about beyond that? There are no new projects that have been revealed which Streep is expected to do. She's likely going to tie her longest streak of not being nominated for an Oscar this year (unless by some miracle she sneaks in for Don't Look Up). We know we'll continue to see her in stuff, but leading roles in things that aren't crap and going to be increasingly difficult to come by. Maybe we will see her producing more in order to ensure she's getting to play things she finds interesting and challenging.

Regardless of what's next, I look forward to a handful of meaty dramas. She's great in comedy of course, but my favorite Meryl is when she's in the deep stuff, which she hasn't done a ton of in recent years. Again the roles have to be there. But knowing that just within the next year we're going to see three biopics alone from women in her age demographic (Helen Mirren as Golda Meir, Patricia Clarkson as Lilly Ledbetter, and Annette Bening as Diana Nyad), it's not like these types of films aren't getting made. I love a good biopic, and it has been four years since she's been in in on (The Post). But I hope her next big role that garners a lot of attention and praise is for an original character. Maybe Places, Please will end up being that one. 


  1. Honestly won't be surprised with anyone of DLU getting nominated for SAG. Seen a lot of support from industry.

  2. I agree that Meryl needs a solid drama to get her back on Oscar track - she's peerless in that category in my humble opinion. Ok, no more The Prom (which I hate) or small roles in things like Little Women or worse Mamma Mia 2. And I'm sad they put her and Cate Blanchett in DLU with no interaction at all. McKay ought to be shot! I was watching indie films like Compartment No 6 , killing of 2 lovers and Bergman island -and I wish they would make roles like that for actresses of Meryl's age - she would showcase her best side (sorry again I don't mean to bring up hammy stuff - but she needs a good director to rein her in sometimes - imagine Iron Lady made by some solid director instead of P Lloyd - she might have toned down some excesses). All in all, I'm hopeful she will nab some acclaimed roles before long. Fingers crossed.

  3. It's probably a combination of over-exposure, ageism and the little matter of a pandemic, but Streep appears to have arrived at a crossroads.
    The incredible work she and those of her generation did in knocking over boundaries and obstacles altered the path of history, in that careers for women from the age of 40 to 60 have broadened considerably.
    But things haven't necessarily changed for actresses of 70 plus, and directors Streep made milestones with have started to die off. The loss of Nichols' 'Master Class' has never felt so stark. Ephron, Pollack, Demme, Pakula... all gone. There's probably very few chances left work with Eastwood, and maybe some with Spielberg.
    I was reminded of this issue with the death of Sidney Poitier, watching the original trailer for 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner'. The 60-year-old Katharine Hepburn was billed in third place, with her 1932 Oscar 35 years in the past by then. She was basically in that cast to hold Spencer Tracy up, so no-one predicted what was coming next, when the combination of real-life pathos about Tracy, and Hepburn's shuddering screen strength landed her three more Oscars in the next 15 years.
    Others of her ilk went into psycho-biddy territory or supporting roles in all-star casts.
    'Don't Look Up' sits like Streep's gateway to all-star cast land, built by 'Little Women' and 'The Homesman'. Lange has cornered (and pastiched) a new wave of psycho-biddies on the small screen, along with a whole crew of other great actresses. Sarandon does indie all-star casts. McDormand is producing her way through her sixties and may bulldoze new territory beyond. Close seems the most adept of them all, since she's always been either a leading lady, a supporting actress, a psycho-biddy, an indie and mainstream all-star cast player, done stacks of television and stage work, and her share of producing. I don't even know whether to mention Fonda here, but she took 15 years off and came back when approaching her seventies, so she (along with Dench, Smith and the Brits) proves what is possible, although executive producing seems to be her key.
    Streep needs to pull an 'On Golden Pond' from somewhere, although I sense that this (undoubtedly flawed) wrap of the playing field shows that 'pulling' means producing.

    1. Very eloquent, thoughtful and comprehensive! A crossroads indeed. Lange, Close and Sarandon, like Streep lately, have had to move more to television, with Sarandon even doing guest spots and network. I hope for the sake of quality and legacy, Streep stays closer to the Close model (pardon the pun.)

    2. Excellent and insightful analysis, Mike. Don't even get me started how much disappointed I am at the lost opportunity of one last pairing with Mike Nichols for Master Class. That would've been the ultimate for me on so many levels.

      I think you're very right in regard to Meryl likely being at a point in her career that might need an approach she (or we) aren't used to if we (or she) expect to see roles and performances like we're used to.

      I wonder if things aren't as bleak in the director department, though. I've been encouraged by recent collaboration with Spielberg (as you mentioned), Soderbergh, Gerwig, Frears, McKay, even Ryan Murphy. The majority of these roles were lead. The stories of course have to be there, but I still tend to think that Streep is likely at the top of so many directors' lists for whom they would contact if Meryl fit the correct demographic for a part. I think of, to varying degrees, Martin Scorsese, Jane Campion, Todd Haynes, Xavier Dolan, Pedro Almodovar (in addition to possibly working again on new projects with ones she's recently developed relationships) are all reasonable pairings that could flower a new sort of "season" for her.

      But in the end, I also agree that it's natural to think how the best way forward may be the McDormand way of grabbing hold of stories that showcase complex female characters and making it happen yourself. Yes, Places Please (if it's ever made) has Streep listed as one of the producers. But even in this case, someone else (director Michael Cristofer) reached out to her with the script, which is the way it's always been with Meryl. She's said it herself...she waits to be asked. Just like Linda in The Deer Hunter!

      There's nothing stopping her. She likely has every tool and resource at her disposal to get things greenlit, were she to simply want to. Who knows though? For all we know, she's got three incredible scripts on her desk right now with amazing directors attached, and she's just trying to work out when she'd actually be available in order to accept.

      However we see her on screen in the coming years, I just hope she continues to work and gives us regular morsels of her brilliance. I'll be here for it.

    3. Agreed, Streep has been working with a whole slew of directors she's not yet had the chance to. Any one of them could drop a screenplay on her desk. Fred Schepisi appears to have retired, but I have a dream that he'll find or create a new story for Meryl!

      I suppose what I was trying to articulate as I wrote my original comment is that if we are to see another career wave that has a gold statuette in it, it's going to make history by necessity.

      Because from here on, it's all about the stories. In a desert made up of scant oases like 'Driving Miss Daisy', 'On Golden Pond', 'Fried Green Tomatoes' and 'The Trip to Bountiful', there's plenty of arid, windswept plains in between, where the ghost of Lauren Bacall can be heard, STILL asking, begging, pressuring Martin Scorcese to make that gangster film with the old woman as the badass villain.

      I had to laugh at your apt reference to Linda in 'The Deer Hunter'. It's funny and it's dead serious. If Streep waits, she may never be asked if the stories aren't there... she will have to channel Thatcher, not Linda.

  4. Of note for 2022, I noticed that Extrapolations appears three times on Soderbergh's list of viewed content that he publishes annually. This makes sense as it is being created by his frequent collaborator. If Soderbergh is involved, however, in a more substantial way, I can see a quick edit with a release this year.

    1. Darcy, can you shed a little light on what you mean by Soderbergh's "list of viewed content?" Where does he publish this info? Do you have a link by chance? Thank you!