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?