Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Results of poll #13

Three weeks ago, I posted a poll question of whom folks would like to see Meryl portray in a biopic. The results are as follows:

Eleanor Roosevelt (29.03%)

Greta Garbo (16.13%)

Jane Goodall (12.9%)

Marie Curie (9.68%)

Helen Keller (9.68%)

Susan B. Anthony (6.45%)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (6.45%)

Hillary Clinton (3.13%)

Helen Suzman (3.23%)

other (3.22%)

I chose Greta Garbo. We all of course know of Garbo in the early days of Hollywood film making. But there's not a lot out there about how exactly she spent her time after retiring from the screen at a rather young age. A couple of years ago, I read the Barry Paris biography Garbo, and couldn't help but picture a feature film that speculated on the later years of Garbo's reclusive life in New York City.  And Meryl would get to do a Swedish accent! 

Eleanor Roosevelt would be a great one too. Of course it would have to be her later years, most likely after FDR passed, when Eleanor would've been 60. I've always thought it would be interesting to cover her relationship with reporter Lorena Hickock, which was rumored to be romantic. A while back I had thought how fun it would be to pair Miriam Margolyes with Meryl as the pair (I save Kathy Bates for the role of Elizabeth Cady Stanton in a biopic of Susan B. Anthony). We already have a taste of what Meryl would sound like as Eleanor, as she voiced her in the Ken Burns documentary The Roosevelts in 2014. It's a very distinct voice. Showtime is premiering a series entitled The First Lady sometime this year, with Gillian Anderson portraying Roosevelt. Maybe since Anderson portrayed the TV version of Margaret Thatcher in The Crown and Meryl the film version in The Iron Lady, they could do something similar with Eleanor. One can dream. 

Time will only tell if we get to see Meryl portray any of the above amazing women...or someone no one has thought of! 


  1. Diana Vreeland would be GREAT for her !!!

    1. Well Ryan Murphy is developing a biopic of her so here's hoping!

    2. I had no idea Murphy was working on getting that made. But do we think Meryl would want to play another editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine? Seems like it might be a little too close to DWP.

  2. I would love to see Meryl portray any one of these three great Buddhist nuns: Pema Chodron, Joan Halifax, Tenzin Palmo. Or how about the Catholic writer and activist Dorothy Day? Or maybe Maria Reiche, the German-born Peruvian archeologist who researched and protected the Nazca Lines?

    1. I had to look up the Buddhist nuns and their biographies are incredible. But I wonder if they'd make films about them portraying their later years? It seems the most interesting or "cinematic" features of their lives were during their formative years from their 30s to 50s. Maybe there's something more compelling that I'm not seeing. Same to some degree with Day and Reiche.

  3. I just finished reading A Manual for Cleaning Women...wow it's so good I can hardly put it down. There are two roles in particular that I think would bring out the best in Meryl and they are age-appropriate (give and take 5-10 years) and rather complex/layered. I know it's Cate's project now but maybe Almodovar would consider Meryl in another main/supporting role if he did read the book.

    1. I know it's a bunch of short stories, but is there sort of a main character in several of them (Blanchett), or do you expect Blanchett to portray multiple characters? That would be amazing of course. I'm going to do a little more digging into the project to learn more about any role that might be appropriate for Meryl.

    2. It would be a bore if Cate were to portray multiple characters. In fact, I find the supporting characters more interesting and more unique than the 'main' one. I see Meryl in two of these characters and I hope Almodovar does too!

  4. Thank you, Jeff, for yet another engaging post.

    I would like to add 3 more names to this very interesting conversation.

    1. Sue Hubbell (1935-2018). Her book “A Country Year: Living the Questions” is a timeless beauty. She was a nature lover, fiercely independent and serenely wise till the very end, when, at 83, she knew exactly how she would leave the world.

    “Sue decided that she strongly wished not to descend into dementia under indefinite institutional care ….. So, on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 9, she ate her last grapefruit and informed her friends and doctor that she intended to stop eating and drinking. She stuck to her plan and died 34 days later, increasingly lucid through the last few days.”


    2. Aaliyah Saleh, the 72-year-old protagonist of “An Unnecessary Woman,” the 2014 novel by Lebanese-American writer Rabih Alameddine.


    3. Margaret Atwood. A biopic or maybe even a day (a week, a season) in the life of the 82-year-old literary legend. In my mind, Meryl and Margaret are sisters who — like those 3 great Buddhist nuns — continue to make this world a much kinder, wiser, funnier, braver, more bearable and more beautiful place.

    — Danny

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  6. PS

    Oops, I almost forgot. Just 3 more, Jeff, and then I’ll shut up. :) Three more women close to my heart. All lived interesting, distinguished lives way into their 80s.

    Poet/novelist/memoirist May Sarton (1912-1995) and poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019). I love Sarton’s journals, including those written in her 70s and 80s. Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” and her other gems have kept me alive and sane. Both women had deep lifelong struggles (depression, memories of trauma, etc.). And both had long-term romantic relationships with other women.

    Sculptor Anne Truitt (1921-2004). I was deeply moved by her trilogy of journals (“Daybook,” “Turn,” and “Prospect”). One year before her death at 83, she was still finding new ways to express her art:


    So, hey there, dear screenwriters and producers, please please please read Jeff's excellent blog and look into the lives of these amazing women and make something worthy of our marvelous Meryl!

    — D

    1. Excellent suggestions, Danny! I do wonder if the Lebanese character would end up being problematic if Meryl or any other white actress were cast...even if Lebanese people can "look" white. It would likely be lambasted as some kind of brown face.

      I hadn't heard of Sue Hubbell, but reading about her last days is wild!

      Love knowing there are so many realistic opportunities out there.

  7. Hillary Clinton is set to co-produce a film version of her "State of Terror" mystery novel. It's fiction but inspired by her stint as US Secretary of State. It's a fair guess to say that Meryl will be offered this movie, if she hasn't been already.

  8. Ruth Gordon (1896-1985). With Stanley Tucci as Garson Kanin. Meryl would be excellent portraying Ms Gordon from the years of her screenplay nominations to the end of her career. Imagine Meryl as Minnie Castevet!