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 character's 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.