Monday, December 11, 2023

Streep nominated for record-breaking Golden Globe

Meryl broke her own record this morning by being nominated for her 33rd Golden Globe (she has won eight). The performance of course was for her supporting turn as Loretta Durkin in the comedy series Only Murders in the Building. Streep was joined by the three main cast members in being nominated (all in lead), Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez. The show was also recognized in the Best Television Series Musical or Comedy category, for a total of five noms, second only to HBO's Succession, which landed a whopping nine. 

The rest of the nominees in Meryl's category are as follows:

Elizabeth Debicki (The Crown
Abby Elliott (The Bear
Christina Ricci (Yellowjackets
J. Smith-Cameron (Succession
Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)

I have not seen Elliot or Ricci's performances, but I'd honestly be fine with any of the other three winning, as I think they're all brilliant. I love Succession so much and Smith-Cameron's character, Gerri, that I kind of have a soft spot for her. But Elizabeth Debicki was also SO spot on as Princess Diana in this last season of The Crown. And speaking of last seasons, even though the third and final season of Ted Lasso wasn't as critically acclaimed as the previous two, it could be a nice sort of cherry on the top of a great series for Hannah Waddingham (I suppose not unlike for Smith-Cameron). You never know though, maybe Meryl will surprise us and come away with the win. 

The Globes ceremony will be telecast on CBS and Paramount+ on Sunday, Jan 7. The full list of nominees can be seen here

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Streep nominated for Critics Choice Award

Meryl has been nominated for a Critics Choice Award for her supporting work in Hulu's Only Murders in the Building. Steve Martin joins her with a nomination in the lead actor category (the only two noms for the show). The full list in her category:

Paulina Alexis – Reservation Dogs (FX) 
Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime Video) 
Janelle James – Abbott Elementary (ABC) 
Sheryl Lee Ralph – Abbott Elementary (ABC) 
Meryl Streep – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) 
Jessica Williams – Shrinking (Apple TV+)

I have to admit I haven't watched any of the other shows in this list. Turns out I gravitate a lot more toward drama and limited series' when it comes to TV. But I'm sure they're all wonderful shows. 

The awards will be presented on January 14. Stay tuned for the Golden Globe nominations on Monday. I think that will be a tough one for Meryl to get, as the television supporting category includes series (drama AND comedy), miniseries, or motion picture made for television. 

The full list of Critics Choice nominees can be found here

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Adam McKay project dropped

At the end of October, it was revealed that Meryl may be in the running for a supporting role in Adam McKay's Netflix project, Average Height, Average Build, a comedy about a serial killer who wants to change the laws so that it's easier for him to kill. There was very little info on what the role may have been nor whether or not Meryl was actually attached. 

Yesterday, it was announced by multiple outlets that the project was scrapped by Netflix, following McKay's decision to move on to a different project about climate change. Meryl of course starred in McKay's satirical climate change allegorical film, Don't Look Up, two years ago (her last film project to date). 

I'm not super bummed about this, considering it was likely going to be a smaller role and that we knew so little about it to begin with that I didn't get my heart set on seeing her in something specific. But my God at least is was something.  

Still waiting. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

Streep honored with Icon Award at Academy Museum Gala

Meryl was honored with the Icon Award at the Academy Museum Gala in Los Angeles last night. The award was given to "an artist whose career had a notable influence worldwide. The event had been scheduled for October, but was postponed due to the Israel-Hamas war. In addition to Meryl, the evening honored Oprah Winfrey, Michael B. Jordan, and Sofia Coppola. 

Meryl looking fresh and happy (Oprah too, of course), which is nice to see. I'd love it if we could get some news on a new project very soon! I continue to wait impatiently. 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Nicole Kidman appears to confirm a third season of "Big Little Lies"

Yesterday, Nicole Kidman was being interviewed for an LPGA event (don't ask me why she was there) in Florida and she announced in regard to the HBO's megahit series Big Little Lies that "We'll be bringing you a third one, just FYI." 

I have to admit I'm a little surprised by this. The first season of the show (which was likely planned as a standalone limited series until it was so universally acclaimed) is one of the most perfect television projects I've ever watched. Meryl of course was added to the cast in the second season in a role that was written with her specifically in mind. She garnered Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for her supporting role, and although the season was generally considered inferior to the first, it was still well-received. 

There is no word on whether or not Meryl will be involved in this third season (if it does truly come to fruition). Also no word of course on what the third season would be about. I expect that Liane Moriarty has already written some version of a template for the script. Whether or not David E. Kelley would write the actual script is of course still unknown also. Will they have a third director for this third and (likely final) season? All good questions. 

While I generally prefer to see Meryl participate in new things, if the script were very solid, I wouldn't mind seeing her in the last season. Same goes (I guess) for Only Murders in the Building. I just don't want supporting roles in TV series to eat up time she could be spending on potentially fresher and more interesting characters/projects. Time will tell, as usual. At least there's a tiny bit of new of potential new projects. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Streep narrates "Tom Lake" and revisiting "State of Wonder"

Coming off last week's post where I felt like a bad Meryl fan for not realizing she had narrated two separate audiobooks this year (the first scoring her a Grammy nomination), I wanted to share some thoughts on Ann Patchett's Tom Lake (the second book). 

Of course I had to listen to Meryl's "performance" once I realized the audiobook had been released. As with any other project, I was curious to understand if this was the type of story that could end up having a screen adaptation with Meryl's participation. Ultimately, I don't think the character of Lara would be suitable for Meryl. The character is probably close to fifteen to twenty years younger than Meryl is now, as well as the fact that half the book takes place as a younger version of herself (like, in her 20s). It's a great read (and performance), but I don't see Meryl ever starring in a screen version, if it ever gets optioned. 

What's more interesting to me is that when I listened to an online radio interview Pattchett did to promote Tom Lake, she talked about connecting with Meryl to ask if she'd be willing to read the audio version. I'm paraphrasing, but Patchett explained that it was Meryl's voice she heard when writing the book, and that "it's always her voice I hear."  She went on to add that there was a very brief period around the time that her novel, Bel Canto, came out around twenty years ago that Meryl was in talks to star in a film version. We know that Julianne Moore ended up starring in 2018 (to decent reviews). 

Which brings me back to State of Wonder. I had posted a Wish List entry back in  March 2022, suggesting that this Patchett novel might be a good project for Meryl. The novel had been picked up for a limited series back in 2018, with later news a year later that William Oldroyd (Mary Magdalene, and the soon-to-be-released Eileen, which is getting excellent reviews) had joined as the director. Covid hit a few months later, so it's anyone's guess what happened to this project. It's still listed on IMDb as "optioned," with Oldroyd's name listed as director.  

While it's natural to see that Meryl might be a good fit for the role of Dr. Annick Swenson in State of Wonder, the reason I wanted to revisit it is that after hearing Patchett talk about Meryl's voice always being the one she hears when she writes, and the new info on the previous possibility of Bel Canto, I couldn't help but want to dig a bit more. I came across a question forum online where people can discuss State of Wonder, and someone on there referenced an interview Patchett had done with Goodreads (I can't find it) where she states that she would not sell the screen rights to the book unless it was with someone very specific in mind to direct or to star. While I suppose it's possible that Patchett wanted Oldroyd to do it, I tend to doubt that, as it's not like he's some huge and accomplished director. It's also possible that Patchett just changed her mind six years after the novel came out and didn't mind selling to the highest bidder. Or, it's possible that a certain someone (Meryl) was approached about it or had vaguely shown interest in participating, and it made Patchett willing to sell. I'd like to believe it's the latter scenario. Maybe Covid halted an announcement that was looming. Maybe they're still considering doing it. 

I couldn't help but think about which actress might be good for the lead role of Dr. Marina Singh. After considering a number of actresses of Indian heritage, my mind kept coming back to British actress Indira Varma. I remembered her from Game of Thrones several years back and enjoyed her. At 50, Varma is a tad older than the character of Marina in the book, but they can always make exceptions, and Varma could totally pass for mid-40s if they wanted to keep the age closer to the listed 42 from the book. She's also half Indian and half Swiss (Marina is half Indian and half Norwegian). 

For those interested, the Meryl role of Dr. Swenson is 73 in the book. Meryl turned 74 this summer, so would be the perfect age to do this within the next year or two. I reread the book recently and I found the character to be even more interesting the second time around. At times I was reminded of Miranda Priestly, but there are enough difference in character and the story's setting to likely make this seem very fresh, on top of the fact that Meryl always finds intelligent ways to bring out a characters' unique humanity. There are so few opportunities to showcase women of Meryl's age demographic who are complicated and believable so this would be such a great project. There are a lot of ethical questions around pharmaceutical development, navigating humanitarian work in developing countries without turning native peoples into tourist attractions, family, children, ageing, fertility, and greed. And part of the story takes place in Minnesota! 

The more I think about the possibility of this series, the more I wish it had happened, and wish even more that it still could. With Meryl, of course. Still waiting on news of any future project. 

Friday, November 10, 2023

Streep nominated for Grammy for Best Audio Book

It's sort of weird timing that I was working on a post about feeling like I was a bad Streeper for not knowing that Meryl had narrated Ann Patchett's newest novel, Tom Lake (that post is still coming because I have a few things to share on a related topic), when the Grammy nominations were announced this morning and Meryl was nominated for Big Tree. Apparently it came out this spring. 

Written by Brian Selznick, it's an illustrated novel that tells the story of two Sycamore seedlings that are trying to navigate their way toward eventually laying down roots in the harsh and unpredictable environment that is planet Earth. The story is apparently one of hope, community, and surviving in nature. 

Meryl is in tough a category this year, as she's joined by former first lady Michelle Obama, U. S. Senator Bernie Sanders, and William Shatner. This is Streep's seventh Grammy nomination and would be her first win. The full list of Grammy nominations can be found here

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Results of poll #17

A few weeks ago I posted a poll asking people to vote on what kind of project they think we'll see Meryl do next. I have to admit I was little surprised to see that the #1 choice was a feature film adaptation for original screenplay leading role. I honestly don't remember what I chose, but it was either also this or a lead role in a limited series. Either way, I'd like to see her do a leading role that is not necessarily a biopic. Not that I'd be against the latter, but I'd love something fresh, original, and hopefully complex. 

After the 48.4% first choice, the two distant second place vote-getters were a biopic lead role in a feature film and a stage performance with 13.97%. I've had a lot of people mention that they'd love to see Meryl do a stage run again at some point. While I love that idea for her, I selfishly would prefer that she spend her time making something that I can view remotely (and multiple times). Although it would give me a reason to take a trip to New York to see her on stage (or wherever she'd be).  

Hopefully the actors' strike gets resolved soon. Not that I expect that the day after we'll get news of five new projects for Meryl, but if there's something brewing, it may be on the verge of getting announced once a deal is struck between SAG and the studios. Which after last night's latest offer rejection over the use of AI, it doesn't look like things will be changing anytime soon. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Streep to be in new Adam McKay comedy?

Thanks to Darcy for sharing info on this news. The website "What's-on-Netflix" posted an article yesterday on the status of Adam McKay's upcoming political satire Average Height, Average Build. After listing the illustrious cast members who are currently filming the movie, including Robert Pattinson, Robert Downey Jr., Amy Adams, Danielle Deadwyler and Forest Whitaker, there was a little blurb (after the secondary characters were mentioned, mind you), saying that Meryl was "at one point in the running for" one of the characters. The character's name is apparently Annabel Jexson, and that's all we know. 

According to the article,

The movie follows a serial killer who enlists a lobbyist to change laws that will allow him to get away with murder more easily. Additionally, there is a retired cop who won’t give up on the murders, and the killer tries to prevent him from dogging his trail now that he’s hung up his gun. The serial killer turns himself into a cause celebre, a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington figure shielding his true motives.

Pattinson is playing the killer and Downey Jr. the cop. 

Okay, so this is pretty oblique news, but things like these have to come from somewhere. I have no idea if this is a legit website, but with how vague the mention of Meryl's involvement is, and how they phrase that Meryl is or was "in the running," it seems a bit strange. I expect that if Adam wanted Meryl for a role, it'd be only a matter of whether or not Meryl chose to accept. It also seems a bit strange that they wouldn't have just announced it if Meryl were involved with filming. I suppose weirder things have happened. Regardless, IF Meryl is involved with this project, it seems that it'll be a very small role, perhaps even a cameo. 

Monday, October 23, 2023

Streep honored with Princess of Asturias Award in Spain single?

Meryl has been in Spain this past week to accept the Princess of Asturias Award. The prize is "awarded to individuals, entities or organizations from around the world who make notable achievements in the sciences, humanities, and public affairs." You can find the ceremony on YouTube, including a speech that Meryl gives upon receiving it. I've included an excerpt below of an interview she did with Antonio Banderas as well. It's a little annoying because the translation is pretty loud over the regular speech, but you can make out what they're saying just fine. 

In other "news" MANY sources started reporting two days ago that Meryl and her husband of 45 years, Don Gummer, quietly separated six years ago. This was actually pretty shocking. I tend not to post stuff about Meryl's personal life, unless is affects her acting career in some way. Some of my first thoughts went to whether or not their separation has perhaps altered her career trajectory in some way. Six years ago was 2017. This was the year Meryl filmed The Post. She and Don attended the Academy Awards together in 2018, so apparently they did so when they were "separated." 

Since that time, she has done The Laundromat, Little WomenBig Little Lies, The Prom, Let Them All Talk, Don't Look Up, and recently of course, Only Murders in the Building. This list may not be her most stellar string of work, but I'm hard pressed to see how her separation from Don clearly indicates a point-in-time change in trajectory. I recognize that her most recent Oscar-nominated role was right around that time, but it still just doesn't add up for me. Plus, Meryl was announced to star in Places, Please in early 2021. There were also some rumblings that same year that she may star in Babylon (technically year prior) and/or Ari Aster's Beau is Afraid.  Had it been announced that Meryl and Don had separated in the summer of 2021, I'd totally be on board with assuming it would've had something to do with her not starring in certain projects or perhaps taking a bit of an extended break. 

Of course, everything is an assumption, because we don't know any real facts. And honestly, it's not necessarily that important to me. If it's truly been six years since they split, I suspect the pair has had ample time to move on emotionally. All the best to those involved. Hopefully we get to see more of Meryl in the near future. 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Poll #17: What kind of project will Meryl do next?

You all know how impatient I get when waiting around to find out what Meryl's going to do next. There's been a dearth of projects that showcase her front and center over the past three years. I'm hoping we receive news soon of something exciting on the horizon. A lead role in a film would be great, but also would a juicy limited series. As much as I'd love to see Meryl in a play, we can only watch that once so I tend toward wanting something on screen. 

What do you think we'll get from her next?

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Episode 10 of "Only Murders in the Building"

That's a wrap! The tenth and final episode of season 3 of Only Murders in the Building aired last night and it was a doozy. I don't really want to just rehash all the plot points, but (spoiler alert) suffice it to say that Cliff technically was the killer. Donna poisoned him only to take him out of commission so that he couldn't perform and ruin her son's first Broadway production. With the plot sort of centered around these two, the standout in the episode for me was actually Linda Emond (Donna). She had a lot of screen time and some nice moments. 

There was a general theme of what mothers would do for their sons. Loretta (Meryl) attempts to tell Dickie (Jeremy Shamos) that she is his biological mother, only for Dickie to reveal that he's sensed it all along. It was a touching moment, as was the moment where Loretta gets to bask in the applause she receives for her stage performance.

Multiple outlets revealed yesterday that the show has already been renewed for a fourth season. It makes sense considering its popularity and the fact they left us with a cliffhanger of Jane Lynch's character, Sazz, being shot at the end by an unknown assailant. I think we're supposed to assume the bullet was meant for Charles, as Sazz is Charles's stunt double and was dressed like him as she went to his apartment to grab a bottle of wine for him. 

I may be in the minority in hoping that this was Meryl's only season. I tend to think it will be, as her character was planning on heading out to L.A to do a TV pilot. But you never know. It seemed like the sort of job that was meant to be a one and done like most of the other bigger names that have been guest stars. I mostly want her to move on so that we see her in other stuff. It would be a shame if she were relegated to guest spots in high-profile TV shows for the remainder of her career. But I guess I'd rather see her in season four than nothing. 

Early last year, I speculated on a potential project with a great role for Meryl which I've recently started to think a lot more about and would really love to see get greenlit. It's the kind of project that seems ripe for Meryl to simply say "yes" for it to get going. More on that coming soon. Until then, I'm patiently waiting for news on any future projects. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Episode 9 of "Only Murders in the Building"

We're down to the last two episodes. Meryl wasn't in too much of last night's episode, but we got a lot of "plot." The majority of the scenes focused on the three main characters hashing out some final(?) details on who might reasonably be the killer. They don't believe Loretta actually is, and Dickie has a viable alibi. So it's come down to Donna. It may very well end up being her (with the motive of saving the show from ruin after learning of Ben's bad early reviews), but I have a feeling we may get more twists in the tenth and final episode next week. 

One bit of info I think we can take away from episode 9 is that Meryl will be placed in the Supporting Actress in a Comedy category for the Emmys. She's officially featured in five of the nine episodes thus far, which is beyond the fifty percent threshold (from what I understand) for being in the "Guest" category. And I can't imagine she won't have a good scene or two in the final episode, which will make it an even six out of ten. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Episode 8 of "Only Murders in the Building"

Well, I think it was worth the three-week wait to see Loretta back on screen in the latest episode of season three of Only Murders in the Building. Spoilers ahead. 

Meryl's character is heavily featured in last night's episode. They waste little time in revealing how Dickie (the murder victim's brother) is actually Loretta's biological son. She had given him up for adoption to pursue a career in theater and she's now found a way to get closer to him by participating in Oliver's musical. A few weeks ago, Oliver had found in Loretta's apartment what he thought was a sort of stalker-like collection of photos of Paul Rudd's dead character, Ben Glenroy. As it turns out, at closer look all the photos include Dickie in the background, and that's why she was collecting them. 

I think it was a pretty funny episode, on top of the even more complicated scenario we now understand Loretta to be in. This really is a great role for any actor. It's certainly not lost on me that if it's a great role for anyone, it's an especially great role for someone of Meryl's generation. While it's against a backdrop of humor and a bit of farce, it's a character that has to be going through a slew of tricky emotions. Loretta has a long-lost son whom she gave up to pursue a (at the time) promising acting career. She's dealt with the disappointments of that career not living up to expectations. Now she's not only won a good role, but she's doubly triumphant because it gets her closer to her biological child. That child is under suspicion for killing his own brother and Loretta has now confessed to the murder of said brother in order to spare her child going to jail (although we don't know for absolute sure if Loretta is actually not the killer). To top it all off, Oliver confesses his love to Loretta near the end! What more is this woman supposed to take on?!

A lot to unpack there, and therefore a lot to negotiate for an actor. Meryl of course is doing a splendid job in showcasing this tapestry of changing emotions, while at the same time getting to act within an acting role and to sing!

I came across an article last week that highlighted just how rare a character like Loretta is for someone of Meryl's age. To summarize, Loretta is not at the end of her career. She's about to embark on a brand new and promising beginning. How many characters in their 70s do we see depicted in that light? Much less women in their 70s? It's given me a better insight and appreciation for just how special this role for her is right now. 

I think that with how many episodes Meryl has been in, she might be more likely to be placed in the Guest Actor category for the Emmys at this point. Regardless of whether she's in that category or in supporting, I think she's making a strong case for herself to not only be nominated, but to win. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

An oral history of "Mamma Mia!"

In honor of the fifteen-year anniversary of its theatrical release, Vogue has posted an oral history of Mamma Mia! It is very long and detailed so I haven't read all of it, but it popped up because of Meryl being quoted in it saying that she'd be up for a part three. The possibility of Mamma Mia! becoming a trilogy has been around for a while. And I seem to remember having read that Meryl told producer Judy Craymer something to the effect that if the script were right, she'd be down: 

I’m up for anything. I’ll have to schedule a knee scoping before we film, but if there’s an idea that excites me, I’m totally there. I told Judy if she could figure out a way to reincarnate Donna, I’m into that. Or it could be like in one of those soap operas where Donna comes back and reveals it was really her twin sister that died. 

As much as I like seeing Meryl in new material, I would not be at all sad if this never came to light. At least if it did, it might be more than a cameo for her, and it would probably make a lot of money. But as Meryl pushes 75, I'm getting a bit more greedy in my interests for her projects. The options will be few for her demographic and I personally would prefer to see her in more typical "Meryl" roles, meaning things or characters that are tricky, complicated, and dramatic. I probably sound like a broken record. Alas, beggars can't be choosers, and anything that opens the door for Meryl getting offered said projects is a good thing. As a quick aside, one thing I found interesting in the attached article was that Meryl was the first choice for the role of Donna from the start. I thought I had read that Nicole Kidman may have been in the running or maybe even offered the role, but Meryl was actually whom Caymer and director Phyllida Lloyd had originally envisioned. And they were apparently happily surprised when she agreed to star!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Episode 5 of "Only Murders in the Building"

Loretta returned for episode 5 of Only Murders in the Building last night, and the internet is abuzz with all the Streep "Easter eggs" strewn about her character's apartment.  I have to admit that I noticed zero of them. I blame it on the fact that I'm so heavily focused on what Meryl's doing to pay attention to much else. Not that any of the "eggs" were all that obvious at a glance. 

Anyway, this episode got a little more plot-heavy, with Loretta having Oliver over for a date. The two end up on a ferry where they share a joint (a bit of a tired trope for characters of their generation if you ask me--see It's Complicated, Ricki and the Flash and even The Good House). But their connection is cute and they end up sleeping with each other. We also get a bit of a creepy vibe from Loretta, as we learn that she actually called Ben was a "fucking pig," as was written on his dressing room mirror. I'd be really surprised if Loretta ends up being the killer, as it would seem too obvious at this point, what with us only being halfway through the season. But the journal with all the clippings of Ben that Oliver snoops in Loretta's apartment adds some fun speculation. 

I'm not sure if we're going to have to wait another two weeks before we see Meryl again. She's only been in every other episode thus far. And I have to admit, I'm finding myself less than super enthusiastic about the show. Again, I'm thrilled that Meryl is in something at all, and that she's getting a lot of positive notices. But I'm always thinking how much I wish we could see her in something a bit weightier soon. Perhaps it's just me getting a stronger and stronger sense that time is not limitless when it comes to her project opportunities. I continue to hope that Only Murders is a helpful stepping stone to new and spicy offers. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Episode 3 of "Only Murders in the Building"

Episode three of Only Murders in the Building was released on Hulu last night, and with it, we were given a gem of a musical performance from Meryl that is already making some waves on social media. 

Streep is joined by Ashley Park for the duet, written by the great Sara Bareilles, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. In the episode, Loretta gets an offer for a small but recurring role on a Grey's Anatomy-like spinoff, but ends up turning it down to stay on for Oliver's play, which he's turned into a musical (thus the lullaby above). Hulu has already released the song as a single, and as mentioned above, there are dozens of articles praising the performance, as well as fans' naturally riotous reactions. 

Meryl continues to garner shining reviews for her portrayal of Loretta Durkin. One article I read commented on nicely Streep is managing to keep the audience guessing as to whether or not Loretta is just a quirky New Yorker, or a diabolical schemer with her sights set on ending some member Oliver's cast (possibly even Oliver). The little romance budding between Streep and Short's characters is sweet, but I agree that it makes me wonder if Loretta is really falling for him or simply trying to get close to him for less than affectionate reasons. 

I do have to reiterate that as much as I'm thrilled to see new material from Meryl (and that it's being received so well), I want a non-comedy or musical-type role for one of her next projects. I caught an article that suggested that Meryl should do more rom-coms. While I agree that she's a draw and is excellent in films like 2009's It's Complicated, it's not the type of project that gets me as excited to watch or that got me interested in her from start, frankly. Having something lighter sprinkled in with more dramatic roles is a good idea, but I don't want it to turn into the default in the near or distant future. My fear is that it may be where the parts are (but ahem...Places, Please). 

In other news, it was announced yesterday that Meryl will be honored (along with Oprah Winfrey, Michael B. Jordan, and Sofia Coppola) at an Academy Museum Gala on October 14. The event is being classified as a "fundraiser" so as to bypass the SAG-AFTRA strike. No word on whether or not we'll see Meryl in attendance. Sreep is set to receive the Icon Awards which "celebrates an artist whose career has had a significant global cultural impact." Indeed. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Twelve years of Word on the Streep!

Today marks twelve years that I made my first post on this blog! As always, I'd like to extend my gratitude to any and all readers/participants. It continues to be a fun and rewarding undertaking. Over the past year I completed the supporting recasting project. While it was enjoyable and I'm really glad I did it, it was a lot of work and I'm glad to be done with it. I'm also glad that we're in the middle of a current Meryl project, with Only Murders in the Building. She and the season are getting rave reviews, and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us in the coming episodes. It's great that she's likely endearing herself to a new generation of fans. Hopefully that turns into new and exciting/high-quality offers for future roles!

Here's to another year! 


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Episode 1 of "Only Murders in the Building"

Meryl made her return to the screen (can we even count Extrapolations?) last night with the debut of Hulu's third season of Only Murders in the Building. Over the past week or so, the show has been garnering terrific reviews (currently 99% on Rotten Tomatoes!), with Meryl possibly scoring the most glittering mentions. I can't help but compare her participation in this show to her turn in the second season of HBO's Big Little Lies in 2019. Both shows had tremendous earlier seasons, and while Meryl's performance in BLL was praised, the season on the whole turned out to be less impressive than the almost perfect first. It's natural to have a concern that Only Murders might suffer the same fate, but thankfully that was not to be. 

Episodes one and two were released last night (the remainder will be released on a one-per-week basis moving forward), but I'm only commenting on the first since (spoiler) Meryl wasn't in the second. Most folks know by this point that she portrays a perpetually hard-on-her luck theater actress who gets a big break in Oliver's (Martin Short) new play. Meryl has a great opening scene, where she delivers a touching monologue in her audition, causing Oliver to ask her "where have you been?" I've always thought that portraying someone acting within a role has to be one of the trickier things to do for an actor. Just how "good" do you let yourself be? In the case of Streep's Loretta Durkin, she's not meant to be a great actor, but Meryl had to manage to showcase someone who's able to make an impression on a director without being too necessarily impressive to the TV audience. They also do a fun parody of Streep, with her character having an apparent penchant for delivering accents in order to provide context to her character's origins. 

Loretta is a sweet, rather unassuming woman. With the (double) death of Paul Rudd's character, Ben Glenroy, we at first have little reason to suspect her as the murderer, but a seemingly passing comment from her about how he was an asshole gives us just enough doubt about Loretta as both a person and a suspect. There's also a glimmer of a budding romance between her and Oliver, which will be fun to watch play out in the coming episodes. The two perform a little ditty of a duet on a piano bench, the first of what we're told will be more than one musical number from Streep. 

I'm looking forward to the full season. I already like the Broadway feel of the storyline and Meryl doesn't seem like she's sticking out to much or that she's overshadowing the other characters, while still making a great impression with her sort of quirky characterization of Loretta. And as much as I'm thrilled to see Meryl in something new and well-received, I can't help but wish that this were or at least the next thing she's in will be a compelling drama with (another) complex character. For now, we'll get to thoroughly enjoy Loretta each week until October. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Trailer for season 3 of "Only Murders in the Building"

She's playing a bad actress! Hulu has released the trailer for their upcoming third season of Only Murders in the Building. We've known for some time that Meryl's character, Loretta Durkin, is a theater actress. There was a hint that she may be a bit ditzy based on teasers, but I think based on the full trailer that she's portraying someone who is genuinely a bad actor. This may turn out to be her most challenging role of all time. 

There's not a ton of Meryl in the trailer, but of course she's not part of the main cast from seasons 1-2. I have a feeling that she'll feature rather prominently though, hopefully in every episode. I think the trailer looks good, moderately funny. Prior to knowing Meryl was cast for season 3, I had been meaning to check out the first few episodes of the series. I certainly enjoy the show, but I'm not a rabid fan. Martin Short is by far the best thing about the program for me. Meryl being in it of course brings it to a new level. I just hope this season isn't all of a sudden the stinker season, after scores of 100% and 98% on Rotten Tomatoes for seasons 1-2, respectively. I see nothing in the trailer to suggest that that would be the case, however. And as an aside...Jesse Williams is very handsome. 

I could've sworn that we were going to get the first three episodes starting on August 8, but it appears that I may have mistakenly reported that in previous posts, as Wikipedia lists only the first two, with the remaining eight released weekly through October 3. Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

...and character posters revealed

I should've been more patient. In my lamenting that Hulu didn't include Meryl in the season 3 promotional poster yesterday, today they've revealed character posters that also include Meryl and Paul Rudd. 


Posters of the three individual lead performers (Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez) can be seen here.  

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I wonder if part of the reason Meryl ended up passing on Places, Please was because it would be too similar a character to Loretta in Murders. Murders will be comedic, while I expect Places, Please to very much be a drama. But both Loretta and Lillian are stage actresses who are obviously veterans. It might have just been a little too close of a characterization back to back for Meryl to want to do both. Who knows how long it's been brewing that she'd star in this third season, or what happened with the delays with Places, Please. But it seems reasonable that she wouldn't want to repeat stuff, as she's been open in the past about not wanting to do things that are too similar to each other, particularly in close proximity. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Season 3 poster revealed for "Only Murders in the Building"

This isn't exactly major news, but they've revealed the poster for season 3 of Hulu's Only Murders in the Building.

I was sort of expecting to maybe see Meryl or Paul Rudd in the photo, but I suppose since they're only temporary members of the cast it's natural to only include the mains. Season 3 debuts with the first three episodes on August 8. 

Looking forward to finally seeing some new material from Meryl in a few weeks!

Saturday, July 8, 2023

One month from "Only Murders in the Building"

The third season of Only Murders in the Building premieres on Hulu one month from today. It'll be the first substantial role in which we'll see Meryl in a year and a half. I don't really count Extrapolations because she was barely in it. I suppose I'm making some assumptions in regard to how much we'll actually see her in Murders, but with the minimal amount of promotion we've seen and comments from her co-stars thus far, I think we can expect that Meryl will be a major part of the plot this season. Elle Magazine recently quoted Nathan Lane from an earlier interview:

If I can, on a day off, they've asked me to pop in. But the plot is set to go in a different direction: It's Meryl, Paul Rudd and Jesse Williams. It's a whole new murder mystery.

Lane's description is promising. I have to imagine they'll release a longer trailer in the next couple of weeks. Episodes 1-3 will be released on August 8, with the following seven released weekly until the season wraps up on October 3. 

Still hoping for some news on new projects soon! 

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Accents Mastered updated

I don't know what made me recently think of Meryl's participation in the 2014 PBS docuseries, The Roosevelts. I remembered how distinct her vocal portrayal of former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt was, and I realized I should probably have included it in my Accents Mastered tab of this blog. I'm guilty of often disregarding or forgetting about Meryl's voice work, but this was a great performance in its own right, so thought I should remedy my omisssion of it in the below list.  

The Seduction of Joe Tynan
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)--British (specifically Received Pronunciation)
Sophie's Choice (1982)--Polish (in English and German)
Silkwood (1983)--Texan
Plenty (1985)--British (I think it's also RP)
Out of Africa (1985)--Danish
Ironweed (1987)--Irish-American
A Cry in the Dark (1988)--New Zealand (with strong layers of Australian)
The Bridges of Madison County (1995)--Italian (Meryl calls it Iowatalian)
Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)--Northern Irish
Angels in America (2003)--Yiddish and Bronx (in separate roles)
Prime (2005)--Manhattan (specifically Upper West Side)
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)--Upper Midwestern
Doubt (2008)--Bronx
Julie & Julia (2009)--Boston Brahmin
The Iron Lady (2011)--British (again RP)
August: Osage County (2013)--Oklahoman
The Roosevelts (2014)--Mid-Atlantic (American Aristocratic)
The Homesman (2014)--Central Plains Midwestern
Suffragette (2015)--British (Received Pronunciation)
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)--Mid-Atlantic
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)--vaguely Russian
The Laundromat (2019)--nondescript Latin (possibly Panamanian Spanish)
Little Women (2019)--Northeastern New England

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Happy 74th, Meryl!

Our favorite actor turns 74 today. I'm sure to a lot of people that seems old. The older I get, the less old anything under 100 feels. It's been one of Meryl's quieter years in terms of screen projects. Hopefully she's been rejuvenated from the time off and is ready to spark a busy streak with work! 

Monday, June 19, 2023

The loss of "Places, Please"

I posted about three months ago that it seemed like Glenn Close was now attached to lead Places, Please, a feature film that was announced two years ago and was supposed to star Meryl. Since then, we've learned that Jessica Lange is actually going to be the one portraying Lillian Hall, not Close. More recently, and what prompted me wanting to post more about this, is that Kathy Bates has been revealed as starring as well. The loss of this film burns even more now, knowing that Meryl could've been a movie along with Kathy Bates! Filming is currently underway in Georgia. 

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I'm not sure why this film didn't end up getting filmed when they originally said they were going to (summer 2021). I've speculated on the possibilities of why Meryl may have not participated. But it's not like we haven't seen scenarios like this before; something promising gets announced, and then it just never happens with Meryl (and sometimes not with anyone). Examples that come to mind: EvitaMary Stuart, Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, Dirty Tricks, Mommy & Me, First Man, The Good House. 

I honestly think that if I ever had the chance to chat with Meryl and if she were open to my questions, the biggest thing I'd love to ask her is what exactly happened or happens in situations like this (and for each particular film--if she could recall). It sort of all ties into my longstanding fascination about projects of hers that never came to be, or ones that she may have been hovering around but was never announced or cast, or for more juicy gossip, which she was turned down for and had really wanted--the ones we don't already know about (which are few, or course)! Only in my dreams. 

Monday, June 12, 2023

Snubs #6: "Plenty"

Now that I've completed my year-long supporting recasting project, I've got a little more time and space to consider some other posts. It's also been a relatively quiet period for project news for some months, and while we await the release of the third season of Only Murders in the Building, I happened to take a quick peek at what I'd previously posted in the Snubs tag. 

Plenty, based on David Hare's play, was released in 1985, the same year as Out of Africa. I honestly feel like I can almost stop arguing anything further about what might have prevented Meryl from getting recognized for awards consideration for Plenty other than the fact that she happened to have a more prestigious, showy, and viewed film out the same year. We all know Meryl was nominated for an Academy Award for her lead role in Out of Africa (the film won Best Picture). But what do we think the chances of her having otherwise squeaked in (at least somewhere) for portraying Susan Traherne, a woman who subsequently disassembles after finding life back in England post her participation in the French Resistance during World War II void of meaning. 

I happen to think that Plenty is not only a pretty good movie, but also a brilliantly portrayed character study on Meryl's part. Susan is an otherwise stable and strong person, but she struggles with the banality of life after the war that she ends up hurting herself and everyone around her. It's one of the few roles Meryl has done that deeply covers the pain and struggle (for both the person and their loved one) someone can go through when they suffer from mental illness. It wasn't necessarily talked about a lot in that way back then (or even when the movie came out), but those details and nuances had to have been a tricky road to navigate for Meryl, and I expect that few people would've done as good of a job. And as much as I enjoy both the film and Meryl's performance in Out of Africa, dare I say I think the actual character in Plenty is more interesting and complicated. It may have just been easier to get pulled along with all the fuss surrounding Africa than to garner awards recognition than for the much quieter Plenty. 


All this isn't to say that there may have been a large crop of people who simply didn't think Meryl's performance was worthy of their vote. 1985 was a crowded year for ladies in a leading role (imagine that), even if Out of Africa and Plenty competed a year apart at BAFTA (they were released in different years in the UK). The film wasn't necessarily a critical darling nor a box office smash, but both Tracey Ullman and John Gielgud happened to get BAFTA nominations for their supporting roles. I just can't help but expect that Meryl would've been pushed harder (or at all) for her role in Plenty for the North American awards groups had she not had the behemoth that was Out of Africa, a film which in addition to its aforementioned Best Picture win at the Oscars, was nominated in eleven total categories, ultimately winning seven. 

Monday, June 5, 2023

Results of poll #16

The results are in for the latest poll, which asked readers which role they most wish they could've seen Meryl do. The full results can be seen here, but I thought I'd comment a bit on the top vote-getters. The top five selections (among those which I specifically listed as options) were 1) Eva Perón in Evita, 2) Patsy Cline in Sweet Dreams, 3) Maria Callas in Master Class, 4) Fern in Nomadland, and 5) Martha Mitchell in Dirty Tricks. I was a little pleasantly surprised how high this last option scored (even though it only garnered three votes ha). 

I chose Master Class (Thelma & Louise I think would've been my second choice), mostly because I'm an opera nerd and it would've been so great to see Meryl team with Mike Nichols one last time. Alas it was not meant to be. 

The actual second-place selection was "other." I thought I had set up the poll to allow folks to write in their selections, but maybe that didn't work (or maybe nobody wanted to). But I'm fascinated to know if people had other specific roles in mind! It was only six votes, but it tied with Eva Perón for the top spot. For anyone who chose "other" I'd love it if you'd be willing to comment on the rationale for your selections (unless you simply didn't like any of my suggestions and didn't have an actual other project in mind, which is of course fine as well). 

Any other suggestions on future polls?

Monday, May 29, 2023

Recasting 2022 (supporting): "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

Somewhat unexpectedly, my lead recasting project from two years ago ended up being a tidy 365 days between first and last selections. That timeline worked out pretty well for me as far as getting all my posts completed the way I wanted to. And so it is that I wrap up this supporting recasting project the way I began it last year, on Memorial Day. It's pure coincidence that in both projects the final selection is for a role that won an Academy Award for its original actor, and in a film that was critically acclaimed and went on to win both Best Picture and Director.  

Everything Everywhere All at Once is difficult to neatly classify as a film. It incorporates elements of sci-fi, comedy, drama, martial arts, absurdism. I have to admit that when it first became available to stream, I I tried watching it and stopped after about forty-five minutes (which I almost NEVER do with movies). I knew little about it at the time, other than a few comments about the cast and that it was getting great reviews. I was just not in the mood to watch something quite as volatile and wild as this movie turned out to be. I ended up revisiting it of course, much due to the fact that it seemed like the role of IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre (expertly portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis) might be an interesting role to imagine Meryl taking on. 

It's very difficult to summarize the plot of this movie if you haven't seen it (or even if you have!). But suffice it to say, as far as the plot goes the film follows a Chinese immigrant family in the United States (Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Kwan as married parents of Stephanie Hsu's character) who are struggling with their marriage and laundromat business, which is being audited by the IRS. Next blurb from Wikipedia: 

At a tense meeting with IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre, Waymond's body is taken over by Alpha-Waymond, a version of Waymond from the "Alphaverse." Alpha-Waymond explains to Evelyn that many parallel universes exist because every life choice creates a new alternative universe. The Alphaverse, led by the late Alpha-Evelyn, developed "verse-jumping" technology, which enables people to access the skills, memories, and bodies of their parallel selves by performing bizarre actions that are statistically unlikely.

So, a bunch of universe jumping takes place and Evelyn (Yeoh) and her family are given a reprieve from the IRS, and Evelyn and her daughter sort of make peace, and we're left with some semblance of understanding that life is not meaningless. I think?

It's a pretty wacky ride, but it's fun that Deirdre is not only a very distinctly written character in her "main" universe, but that she (like the other main characters) gets to portray multiple different people in the various universes through which Evelyn jumps. We learn a little about Deirdre and her likely decision to offer the Wangs a reprieve on their audit.


The hot dog fingers are about the limit ha. And I like how in that "hot dog hand" universe, when Deirdre plays the piano with her feet her wrist brace is now on her ankle. 

I suspect this might have been a bit too "out there" of a role for it to have been on Meryl's radar. But it actually does remind me a bit of her turn in 2002's Adaptation where there's a "meta" feature to it, even if that one was on a much more sedated level. But what fun it would've been to see her participate in Everything Everywhere, especially considering its critical and box office success. It's not a film that I'll likely revisit over and over, but I'm pleased that a diverse cast and creative team were so successful with both audiences and critics. 

The movie earned $140 million at the worldwide box office on a shoestring budget of only $14.3 million. It holds a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 81 score on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim." And whoa did it ever clean up at the Academy Awards this spring. It won seven Oscars out if its ten nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director(s) for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and of course, Best Supporting Actress for Curtis. Curtis also won the SAG award and was nominated by BAFTA and the Globes, among several Critics circles nominations. I think it makes for an excellent final addition to this year-long list of roles. 

As I made a point of doing in my lead recasting project, I'd like to take my hat off to all of the remarkable actors who originated the roles in the below list. Their work is exciting and inspiring to me. And although I'm ending this series for now, I plan to eventually add my selections (for both lead and supporting recasting categories) for future years. Thanks to all those who've read these posts and participated in the dialogue around the roles and projects. You've made it a lot of fun for me!

1976: Marathon Man (Elsa Opel) 
1977: Jesus of Nazareth (Mary the mother of Jesus) 
1978: Coming Home (Vi Munson) 
1979: All that Jazz (Angelique, The Angel of Death) 
1980: Ragtime (Mother) 
1981: On Golden Pond (Chelsea Thayer Wayne) 
1982: Annie (Grace Farrell) 
1983: The Big Chill (Meg Jones) 
1984: Witness (Rachel Lapp)
1985: Clue (Miss Scarlet)
1986: The Clan of the Cave Bear (Iza) 
1987: Empire of the Sun (Mrs. Victor)
1988: Working Girl (Katharine Parker) 
1989: Parenthood (Helen Buckman)
1990: Goodfellas (Karen Hill) 
1991: The Prince of Tides (Lila Wingo Newbury) 
1992: Damage (Ingrid Thompson-Fleming)
1993: In the Name of the Father (Gareth Peirce)
1994: Bullets Over Broadway (Helen Sinclair) 
1995: Rob Roy (Mary MacGregor) 
1996: The Birdcage (Louise Keeley)
1997: The Ice Storm (Janey Carver)
1998: Pleasantville (Betty Parker) 
1999: Tea with Mussolini (Elsa Morganthal Strauss-Armistan)  
2000: Almost Famous (Elaine Miller) 
2001: The Royal Tenenbaums (Etheline Tenenbaum) 
2002: White Oleander (Ingrid Magnussen)
2003: The Station Agent (Olivia Harris)
2004: Sideways (Maya)
2005: Alexander (Queen Olympias)
2006: Children of Men (Miriam)
2007: Hairspray (Velma Von Tussle)
2008: Rachel Getting Married (Abby Buchman)
2009: Animal Kingdom (Janine "Smurf" Cody) 
2010: The Fighter (Alice Ecklund-Ward)
2011: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Harriet Vanger)
2012: Mildred Pierce (Lucy Gessler) 
2013: Top of the Lake (GJ)
2014: Snowpiercer (Minister Mason) 
2015: Trumbo (Hedda Hopper) 
2016: The Wizard of Lies (Ruth Madoff)
2017: I, Tonya (LaVona Golden) 
2018: Sharp Objects (Adora Crellin)
2019: The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (Marilyn Miglin) 
2020: Succession (Nan Pierce)
2021: Mare of Eastown (Helen Fahey)
2022: Everything Everywhere All at Once (Deirdre Beaubeirdre)

Roles by originating actress:

Michelle Pfeiffer (3) 
Dianne Wiest (3) 
Patricia Clarkson (2) 
Jessica Lange (2) 
Melissa Leo (2) 
Miranda Richardson (2) 
Sigourney Weaver (2) 
Joan Allen (1) 
Lorraine Bracco (1) 
Cher (1) 
Jamie Lee Curtis (1) 
Pam Ferris (1) 
Jane Fonda (1) 
Holly Hunter (1) 
Olivia Hussey (1) 
Anjelica Huston (1) 
Allison Janney (1) 
Angelina Jolie (1) 
Cherry Jones (1) 
Marthe Keller (1) 
Judith Light (1) 
Virginia Madsen (1) 
Frances McDormand (1) 
Kelly McGillis (1) 
Penelope Milford (1) 
Helen Mirren (1) 
Mary Kay Place (1) 
Pamela Reed (1) 
Ann Reinking (1) 
Joely Richardson (1) 
Jean Smart (1) 
Mary Steenburgen (1) 
Tilda Swinton (1) 
Emma Thompson (1) 
Lesley Ann Warren (1) 
Debra Winger (1) 
Jackie Weaver (1)

Monday, May 22, 2023

Poll #16: "Which role do you most wish you could have seen Meryl do?"

Next week, I'm going to wrap up my supporting recasting project with my final role selection. With all the thinking I've been doing in the last few years between this project and my (mostly) lead recasting series, I thought it would be interesting to just put out a poll to see people's ideas on which roles they would've most liked to see Meryl do. I did a smaller version of this question six years ago, but that one only consisted of movies for which Meryl was originally attached and didn't end up doing. I have chosen twenty titles that span projects Meryl was attached to but someone else did, projects that she was never in consideration for (that I know of), and those for which she was announced to star, but that never got made at all. I think all the them have been included in my lead recasting project or my "Should Coulda Wouldas" tab. For ease, I have only included lead roles. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Please take the opportunity to check the last option of "other" and include your own write-in, and feel free to then expand on your selection in the comments. I'm excited to see everyone's choices!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Recasting 2021 (supporting): "Mare of Easttown"

For the penultimate selection in this series, I thought it appropriate to note that of the last ten selections, seven of them have been from television. Of those, five of the shows originally premiered on HBO. I've touched on this phenomenon several times in the past, but I think the trend is an example of where the good parts are moving (or have moved), not only for women over 50, but for women in general. If it's not about a superhero or is a sequel primarily known for its special effects, it's quite possible the project's greatest audience will be found on the small screen. 

I've also commented on my affinity for limited series. I enjoy that they have a clear arc from start to finish, and yet they're longer than a feature film and so we get to go deeper into the story and, more importantly, into the characters' lives and minds. Mare of Easttown is one such example of why I'm so drawn to and glad for the reemergence of the miniseries/limited series as a venue for the best performers. I watched it when it came two years ago and found it to be one of my all-time favorites. The great Kate Winlset stars as Mare, a detective in a suburb of Philadelphia trying to solve the murder of a teenage girl while navigating the challenges of her own complex and painful personal life. The role I'm recasting is that of Mare's mother, Helen Fahey, originally portrayed by the splendid Jean Smart. 

The very nature of a "supporting" role is that it's not necessarily all about them. The story is all about Mare, and everyone else is an extension of her world. With that in mind, it may seem like Helen's character doesn't have a lot to do, other than to be in the background with a few wisecracks and perturbed looks in response to her daughter's somewhat questionable decisions. After having recently watched the series in full for the second time, I realized I had sort of forgotten that Helen, as a character, has plenty for an actress to showcase. She's a woman who's lost both her husband and adult grandson to suicide, she's moved in with her daughter to help care for her great-grandson (of whom Mare is attempting to maintain custody), and she has to sort of delicately walk the line of trying to fight for keeping the little boy while not alienating his troubled mother so as to lose him forever. In one of the lighter moments of the series, she's outed after a neighbor's funeral as having an affair with the man's husband. 

Above all though, I think the trickiest and most interesting work for the character is summarized in the last episode of the series (the one Smart submitted to the Television Academy and for which she ultimately received an Emmy nomination), where she tearfully reveals to her daughter the struggle she had in managing their mother-daughter relationship in the wake of her own grief. I apologize I was unable to find a suitable clip of the scene. But it's a touching (if a bit comically awkward) scene, and it provides the audience a sense of perhaps some closure for both Mare and Helen. 

Similar to what I mentioned in last week's post with Succession, it would just be a lot of fun to be able to insert Meryl into this world. It's a vivid tapestry of characters in a close-knit clan that is as quick to forgive each other as they are to knock-down drag-out fights. Like one big, dysfunctional family. The region also has a very distinct accent, one which I've read that Kate Winslet insisted on the entire cast nailing for authenticity purposes. I think some of the actors were more successful than others with that. And I think we could've expected Meryl to have enjoyed and excelled at that piece. 

Mare of Easttown was lauded by critics. It holds a whopping 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 81 on Metacritic. As mentioned, Smart earned an Emmy nod, while Julianne Nicholson won in her category, as did Evan Peters in supporting and Winslet of course in lead. The show was also nominated for Outstanding Limited series, Directing (Craig Zobel) and Screenplay (Brad Inglesby), losing the first two to my favorite show of that season, The Queen's Gambit. 

Monday, May 8, 2023

Recasting 2020 (supporting): "Succession"

I never thought I'd picture recasting Meryl in a true series. With the trend in the best parts for women shifting to television over the last fifteen years or so, however, my recent selections have been mostly from that medium. I generally find myself getting attached to fewer and fewer non-limited series. My view is that so few of them really stop at the right time, and that they tend to eventually jump the shark or completely cycle through the original cast to the point that it's barely the same show anymore. This is probably more true with network television in the U.S., whereas a good bunch of cable series do a better job of keeping the show's entire arc to a reasonable limit. HBO's Emmy-award winning powerhouse, Succession is one such show. 

There aren't many programs in recent history where I honestly cannot wait to watch the next episode. Game of Thrones comes to mind, The Americans, Schitt's Creek (excluding limited series where I often get to binge them).  Succession is definitely one of those. It will go down for me as one of the best television shows I've ever watched. And it seems to just keep getting better. The current and fourth season will be its last, with the series finale wrapping up on May 28. For those unfamiliar, the often-satirical show follows the Roy family, owners of a media conglomerate loosely based on the Murdoch family, which in real life owns News Corps and the Fox Corporation (under which we get the batshit news channel Fox News). Brian Cox portrays Logan Roy, the patriarch and CEO in the show. He is ostensibly trying to identify which of his four children would be an appropriate successor to the "throne." It's difficult not to draw some parallels to Lion in Winter (one of my favorite movies), with the kids all jockeying for the big job.

I'm recasting Meryl in a role that was (mostly) seen in season 2 (and bumping it a year from when it aired in September 2019 to 2020). Cherry Jones plays Nan Pierce, the head of a rival, left-leaning media company named PGM. Logan wants to acquire it, and by episode five of the season, the Roys meet up with the Pierces at the Pierce family estate, called Tern Haven. This is one of the best and most enjoyable episodes of TV I've ever watched. There's so much intrigue and enticing friction between the two families; the Pierces are depicted as a more landed gentry yet progressive-type of wealthy family, compared to the more nouveau riche Roy clan. The way they talk, the things that interest them, their politics, are for the most part vastly different between the two families. There are great moments of both discomfort and humor. The big scene in the episode is the dinner scene. Much like the one in August: Osage County, it's a long scene with a lot of moving parts. Nan is trying to get a feel for Logan's interests, including whom he plans to name as a new CEO upon his departure. 

In one of the last scenes of the episode, the two titans go head to head to try to finally nail down a deal. 

It would be a lot of fun to see Meryl negotiate that scene. She's got to be tough, but she's also sort of in a corner. Nan shows up in the following episode for a bit as well, where she puts the kibosh on a deal that they ended up actually hammering out at the end of the first episode. It was fun to see her get Logan so riled up. And she does make an appearance for a brief scene in the current season as well (spoiler!). 

Jones won an Emmy for Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in Tern Haven. I realize that in the grand scheme of a show with nearly forty episodes, the role of Nan Pierce is pretty small, but when compared to movies, it's quite a bit of screen time. And I just like the idea of putting Meryl into that world, with all the rest of those incredible actors/characters, on a show that I absolutely adore. 

Succession has of course been nominated for and won several top awards, including the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series for both its second and third seasons. All the main cast members have been nominated for their work, and the writing and directing are regularly recognized as well. I sort of expect that could be something close to an Emmy sweep coming this fall since this is the final season. If so, it would be well-deserved. Sad to see it go!  

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Does anyone care whether Meryl participates in a third "Mamma Mia!" movie?

Three years ago, I posted that Mamma Mia! creator Judy Craymer had been quoted in an interview that a third film may be on the horizon. Well, as they're on the look for new stars for the upcoming 25th anniversary of the stage musical, Craymer is again saying that things are in the early stages for a new movie. In fact, she's quoted as saying about Meryl, "There is a story there, and I do think Meryl should come back -- and if the script is right, she would, I think, because she really loved playing Donna."

Fine. But what kind of script is there going to be for a dead character who was originally played by an actor that will be close to twenty years older thatn when she was in the original movie? Maybe they'd figure something that would be believable, but I pretty much don't care if this happens. I do like when things are tidy, and when they say that they originally planned for this to be a trilogy, maybe it makes sense. But I don't think Meryl needs to do this to stay relevant, even if it ended up making a lot of money. Maybe it's true that she'd just like to do it because it was fun and she enjoys Donna as a character. 

At this point, I'd rather she spend her time on something new and more interesting. We'll see if it ever comes to fruition, with or without Meryl. 

Monday, May 1, 2023

Recasting 2019 (supporting): "The Assassination of Gianni Versace"

For anyone reading the title of this week's post and thinking that 1) the year is wrong, and 2) this series was released before last week's choice of Sharp Objects, hold your horses. Yes, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story was indeed released on HBO a few months prior to Sharp Objects. But as I have done with other selections in this and my lead recasting projects, if there are two projects from the same year that I want to choose, I often place first the one that was filmed first. In this case, it was Sharp Objects, hence Versace coming afterward. 

Based on real events, this miniseries follows the life of Andrew Cunanan (played by Darren Criss), who ended a three-month killing spree with the murder of famous Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace, his fifth victim. Cunanan's third victim was real estate tycoon, Lee Miglin. Miglin was a closeted gay man who had met the much younger Cunanan, who was an escort at the time, at a party. It is Miglin's wife, Marilyn, whom I have chosen to recast in this production. Brilliantly portrayed by Judith Light, Marilyn, a long-time host on the Home Shopping Network, came back from a business trip to their home in Chicago in 1997 to find her husband murdered. It's the aftermath of this discovery and the sort of mental hoops the character goes through when dealing with police and the press that make for a fascinating opportunity for any actor. 

This would be such a great character to unpack. If you've seen the entire episode (Marilyn basically has one episode of the nine in which she's prominently featured, as well as a small amount at the end), you get a feeling that Marilyn may have suspicions about her husband's sexuality, without it being directly acknowledged. She insists after Lee's death that it be portrayed as a random killing in the press. This likely became next to impossible to maintain the more the country and the world learned about Cunanan and the nature of his crimes. Light does an amazing job in the role. It's one of those tricky scenarios where the actor has to portray someone who's basically pretending within the role as well. Marilyn puts up quite the front on her shopping network, and seems to sort of hide behind the cover of her work, perhaps to not have to deal with the reality of not only her loss, but the fact that she'd been married to someone for over forty years without fully knowing them. Of course there's some creative license in all this, as we don't know for sure what Marilyn knew about her husband. Regardless, it's a tale as old as time, where the seemingly deceived wife (or husband) has to struggle to not beat themselves up for not realizing the truth. It's easy to see how denial is a natural rabbit hole to go down.  

I've watched this series twice, and it still kind of boggles my mind that the first killings took place so close to where I grew up. I have vague memories of the news of Cunanan, but the first four murders were sort of lost in the background (I was 17 at the time) of his extremely high-profile final victim. Watching the backstory of his first two victims, Jeffrey Trail and Davis Madson, it's wild and sad the extent to which gay men had to be fearful of being outed in their lives (understandably, particularly in the military) less than thirty years ago. 

The series was very well-received by critics, currently holding an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 74 on Metacritic. Six actors were nominated for Primetime Emmy awards for their performances, including Light (along with Edgar Ramírez as Versace, Penélope Cruz as his sister Donatella, Ricky Martin as Versace's partner Antonio D'Amico, and Finn Wittrock as Trail). Criss deservedly won for his lead performance, while Ryan Murphy (at his best in this series in my opinion) earned a win for directing the show's premiere episode.  

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Season 3 of "Only Murders in the Building" to premiere August 8?

Variety is reporting that Steve Martin casually revealed on stage last night that season 3 of Hulu's Only Murders in the Building will premiere on August 8. Martin is on tour with co-star Martin Short on their You Won't Believe What They Look Like Today! show. 

It seems unlikely that they'd randomly reveal a date without it being correct. It's believable, as we've been expecting that the show would likely come back sometime this summer. We'll wait until official word comes from the network, but I think it's safe to say that August is when we'll get to see Meryl in action again. I've updated the countdown on the right of the home page. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Streep honored with Princess of Asturias award

Multiple outlets are reporting that Meryl has been awarded Spain's prestigious Princess of Asturias award. According to Wikipedia, the award is given to "individuals, entities or organizations from around the world who make notable achievements in the sciences, humanities, and public affairs." Notable winners in recent years are Bob Dylan, Pedro Almodóvar, Michael Haneke, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola. Not a lot of ladies. The award comes with a prize of 50,000 euros and is set to be presented at a ceremony in Spain in October. No word yet on whether or not Meryl will attend. 

This recognition probably has nothing to do with anything else, but along with the recent Streep Performing Arts Center dedication by SAG and the anticipation of Meryl's work in season 3 of Only Murders in the Building, it almost feels like there's a bit of a PR push the likes of which we see when people are making little comebacks. Not that Meryl really needs a comeback, but she's been sort of "quiet" in the last couple of years (I know, I know she's taken similar breaks), and I've speculated that 2021 in particular felt like she sort of just dropped out of all rumored or announced work. It seems like we might be ripe for a big announcement on an exciting project in the coming months. Here's hopin'!

Congratulations on your award, Meryl. Well-deserved as usual. 

Monday, April 24, 2023

Recasting 2018 (supporting): "Sharp Objects"

Not long after Meryl starred in the second season of Big Little Lies, I came across an interesting article that bemoaned the paucity of good screen acting roles for women of a certain generation. Specifically, the article honed in on the fact that female characters for which much of the television awards recognition came that year (at least in the supporting categories), happened to be of women one might tend to describe as "crazy." There was Meryl's nutty mom trying to commit her daughter-in-law in BLL, Jessica Lange in The Politician (shocking that Lange took a role as a disturbed person eye roll), Patricia Arquette in The Act. This last one showcases a mother with a psychological disorder called Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which someone makes someone else, or keeps them, ill for attention. There's good points to consider in the question of why there weren't or aren't better roles than crazy moms for these ladies. It's a debate certainly worth having. That said, I don't think such characters should automatically be removed from the screen. There's definitely some truth and real-life examples that substantiate this sort of depiction, even if in 2019, there happened to be a large number of them all at once, making it seem perhaps a bit like veteran actresses are getting relegated to portraying an archetype of unstable loons. 

In director Jean-Marc Vallée's (season 1 of Big Little Lies, Dallas Buyers Club) HBO limited series, Sharp Objects, we see another one of these characters who demonstrates the same illness as that of Arquette's. Based on Gillian Flynn's novel of the same name, Sharp Objects follows a journalist, Camille (Amy Adams), who returns to her southern hometown and to the peculiar mother, Adora (Patricia Clarkson), from whom she is estranged. Camille investigates the death of two teenage girls in her hometown in Missouri, which antagonizes her mother, who's a wealthy owner of a hog factory and is consumed by maintaining appearances of being a refined Southern belle. But as it turns out (spoiler alert), Adora is responsible for the death of Camille's sister years ago and is currently doing the same thing to Camille's younger half-sister, Amma (portrayed by the stellar Eliza Scanlen). Additional spoiler(!): Amma is the killer of the teenage girls in town.

I've seen interviews with Patricia Clarkson where she talked about how she approached her role. I imagine it's not a unique response among actors when she described Adora as someone for whom she had to have understanding, or even love. That may be the key to convincingly and humanely portraying any character. We all believe in what we want and what motivates us, no matter how vile or incomprehensible that may be to anyone else. It's why I think it's OK that we see these types of characters for veteran actors. Not that being mentally ill is the only facet of a character that could possibly make a woman over 50 interesting, but I don't think it's something that needs to be shuttered from depiction. And I think it's done tastefully and with compassion in this series. I also just love the setting. For whatever reason, I've always been drawn the gentility and refinement of certain southern customs (definitely not the slave-owning one), and Sharp Objects has many of those on display, including the gorgeous house Adora lives in and the fact that it's always sunny and hot and yet people don't seem to be sweating that badly. 

The production was a major critical success, currently holding a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 78 score on Metacritic. Along with Emmy and SAG nominations, Clarkson won the Golden Globe for Supporting Actress. I tend to think winning this category at the Globes is a little more impressive, because the nominees are drawn from the categories of series, limited series and television movie. Clarkson definitely deserved the win. Amy Adams made the rounds with noms at all the major awards shows as well, although she didn't manage to win any of them (unless I start counting the Critics' Choice Awards). The show itself also managed a Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for Best Limited Series, while Vallée was nominated by the Directors Guild of America for his directing.