Monday, March 7, 2022

Wish list entry #8: "Without Blood"

As I'd recently mentioned I was going to do, I'll be posting a handful of wish list entries in the coming months. My previous entries have mostly been biopic suggestions, including a recent poll opining on whom would be the best real person for Meryl to portray. The upcoming selections I make are going to be adaptations of fictional characters. At this point in Meryl's career, it's going to be more and more difficult to expect lead roles from either original screenplays or adaptations of novels or plays that depict interesting and complex characters in her demographic. Places, Please seems like it would be one (whatever the hell happened to that). The Good House would've been one, but that film is lingering in distribution hell despite good reviews for the film and great ones for Sigourney Weaver. I've taken it upon myself to make a list of and then read novels that depict lead characters that could reasonably be portrayed by Meryl in the coming years. And although I've definitely posted more than eight times in this particular tag, I'm numbering this one because I have a specific title in mind. 

What's kind of weird is that I finished a book this weekend and had planned to write about it today. This morning, however, I came across some news from a couple days ago, in which Angelina Jolie signed a three-year deal with Fremantle, with her first project to be an adaptation of Alessandro Baricco's novella, Without Blood. Jolie was slated to direct the film as far back as 2017, at which time I had read the book, thinking based on the description that it could contain a juicy role. I actually had to do a quick search on the blog to see if I had posted about it back then, as it was definitely something I remember thinking about for Meryl. 

Fast forward to today, and Jolie is going to begin filming in Italy in May. A quick idea of the story with spoilers: a four year-old girl is hidden while her father and other family members are killed sometime possibly around the time of the Spanish Civil War. One of the killers spots her but doesn't give her away. Many many years later (I've seen mentions of fifty years, sixty years, or simply "later as an old woman" to describe how much later..because I don't remember exactly), the woman, Nina, spots the the man who let her go and she invites him to a chat at a cafe. It's got a revenge aspect to it, as we learn that the other killers were systematically murdered over the years, but we don't know the extent of Nina's involvement, no what she has planned for this last guy. It's an intense story with the kind of uncertain moral questions that I suspect Meryl would be drawn to in the character. I don't think it's ever explicitly stated where the story physically takes place at the start. But if memory serves, the later scenes take place in an English-speaking country(?), which opens the possible opportunity for English dialogue from a Spanish-speaking character (y'all know how much I love a new accent from Meryl). 

I can see a few barriers to Meryl being cast in this role. If they do end up having Nina be in her early to mid 50s, then Meryl will likely be out of the running. The last killer, Tito, is supposed to be sixteen years older. But he, too, is described as an old man, and they can always fluff these numbers a bit if they have certain people in mind for the characters in a film version. They also might want to cast a Spanish or Italian actress, if indeed they're planning on portraying Nina as one or the other. I also wonder, if Meryl were somehow to be involved and that it's already going to film in two months, that we wouldn't have heard that her name was attached. Although that wasn't the cast with Don't Look Up, as Meryl was announced as joining well after it was announced the film was going to be made and other actors had already been revealed. 

There were rumors seven years ago round this time that Streep was going to portray Mary Leakey in a bipoic of Robert Leakey (to star Jolie's then-husband, Brad Pitt), entitled simply Africa. That project fell apart, but if there was any truth to that rumor, then obviously Meryl and Angelina had some semblance of a professional connection beyond attending awards shows at the same time. 

The articles from this weekend suggested that there would be more info on Without Blood's production coming up in the near future, which I expect has to include casting news. With how barren Meryl's schedule seems to be at the moment, aside form some reservations I have with Jolie's body of directing work, wouldn't this be a fun addition to her body of work?


  1. I have my doubta that Jolie will cast anyone white and/or North American in these parts. I did consider Jolie when you asked about the daughter in Places, Please (may that project likely rest in peace) as she has been directed a few times by Michael Cristofer, and he actually got a great performance from her in Gia. I do want Meryl to work with more female directors though! I wish she had made a pledge like Nicole Kidman which is at least one female director ever 18 months or so!

    1. I tend to agree regarding casting likelihood of white/North American actors. I had forgotten that Crisoter directed Gia!