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Wednesday
Mar262014

Streep Finally Listens, Gets Real Director.

We've been harping on Meryl Streep's extraordinary lack of interest in working with A list directors who might actually, you know, direct her for a decade. She's finally working with one. She's now attached to Ricky and the Flash and, juvenile sounding title aside, it sounds like a potential winner.

She'll play a rock star trying to reconnect with her estranged children when her career peters out. The script is by clever Diablo Cody and in the director's chair, none other than Oscar winner Jonathan Demme. He's quite gifted with actresses having previously directed arguably career best work from actresses as diverse as Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Melanie Griffith (Something Wild), and Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs). He also guided Michelle Pfeiffer, once his favorite actress, in her best romantic comedy outing (Married to the Mob). More...

I'm tremendously eager to see what a real director can do with Streep at this juncture. She continually challenges herself in terms of the roles she takes but almost never with directors of note or films that display the level of craft in all departments you'd expect from a three-time Oscar winner. I don't think it's any accident that her modern renaissance kicked off with three consecutive projects by strong directors with all around excellence in filmmaking: The Hours, Adaptation and Angels in America.

But there are two things here that give me pause. First, wouldn't this project be better suited for an actress in her 50s rather than an actress in her mid60s... given the time frame by which rock careers for women tend to fade. Obviously me being me I weep for what might have been with a Pfeiffer/Demme reunion but it need not be Pfeiffer. Imagine what Holly Hunter (who'd be totally believable as an ex rock star) could do with a meaty role like that? And second, Jonathan Demme has directed Streep before in that weak remake of The Manchurian Candidate (2004). Y'all know I love Streep despite my lukewarm feelings about a few of her recent star turns but it's actually my single least favorite performance of her career.

So I should be happy. But I'm not. You? 

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Reader Comments (37)

Oddly, I'm more excited that the script is by Diablo Cody than that Demme is directing. Look at what she gave Charlize Theron to work with in Young Adult (UNDERRATED!).

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

"I don't think it's any accident that her modern renaissance kicked off with two consecutive projects by strong directors with all around excellence in filmmaking: The Hours and Angels in America."

AND ADAPTATION.!!! (I don't usually shout, but it's one of my absolute favorite films.)

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Jan -- oh shit. i meant to include that. will update.

March 26, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Streep's involvement drastically reduces my interest in this project.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Eh, I'm actually kind of excited. Diablo Cody script, Jonathan Demme in the chair and Streep in the lead role? Boom, boom, boom. THERE.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I am excited by this , but I kind of wish Pfeiffer was doing this part. Her performance in Married To The Mob is one of my all time favorites.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRami

I kind of wish it was Cher actually. :-(

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

What about Cher? Oh, wait, she's still a rock star and starting a 40 city Dressed to Kill tour.

I'm excited for this movie--for all three reasons, esp Diablo Cody. Where did you get that photo of Demme and Streep? Meryl looks much younger now in 2014 than in that pic.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Dave iAB-- Ha ha, our posts crossed. Just finished reading the reviews of her first two concerts, so bought tkts for the Boston show.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Pam & Dave - CHER. what a brilliant idea.

March 26, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm happy too. i don't think Demme's A list (or rather, I reckon he shouldn't be - though i like his movies, i think his work as a director is just... above average), but it's definitely an improvement! Demme is definitely very good at picking scripts, though, hence Diablo Cody!

oh, and yeah, ADAPTATION!!

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClara

I'd like Angelica Houston in the role. She needs a comeback.

On a side note, I really expected a 30th anniversary of the Breakfast Club detention on this site.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMustafa

I love the Holly Hunter suggestion. By the way, please tell us if she won the 2003 smackdown. The suspense is killing me!

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Hunter, Meg Ryan, Maria Conchita Alonso, Rosie Perez, Angela Basset.......there are so many women who could tear this part (what we know of it anyway) apart. There is also a missed opportunity for color and nationality blind casting here.

I think Cher is a little too close to the bone for it to work with her.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I couldn't disagree more about her performance in The Manchurian Candidate.

While the film did not do much for me, this is undeniably one of her best performances.

And Demme is indeed a big director but I want her employed by someone like Haynes, Lynch or Wright, that's when the muscles will really stretch.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Mustafa -- that was 2 days ago, alas.

March 26, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

More excited by the Cody/Streep collaboration...
For some reason I am reminded of Streep's performance as Suzanne in Postcards which is a film and performance I love

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Yeah, not sure I'll buy Meryl as a rock star/ former rock star. Someone like Julianne Moore would be more believable.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCC

Nat why is this your least fave Meryl,she knows what she's doing maybe comparrisons to Angela lessens the impact of the performance,i am sure politiocians are like the 1 she plays here,i for one truly think it is one of her better turns this last 10yrs.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

Diablo Cody is a great sign, I just wish Jason Reitman was joining her again.

I guess I can see Meryl as a sort of Ann Wilson type. Michelle Pfeiffer as her Nancy anyone?

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I am picturing a Stevie Nicks-type character...

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

The Diablo script opened up some emotional windows for Charlize Theron in Young Adult, which I agree is underrated, so maybe it can do the same for Streep.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

CC: They said the same thing about The Bridge of Madison County. They couldn't buy Meryl Streep as an Italian housewife in Iowa. And she proved them wrong.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIan

At age 65, Streep can play a rock star character aged 55-70, since rock stars age as weirdly as actors.

You know who's 61? Pat Benatar. 68? Debbie Harry. 62? Chrissie Hynde. 66? Kate Pierson.

And then there's Yoko (80) and Madonna (55).

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

You gave Streep an A for AOC... she was fine in Hope Springs and It's Complicated ... not good in Doubt.

What's your problem?????? You really do not like Streep although you say you do... the other actresses you acclaim coulsd not do what Streep does...

@3rt/ful: Kathy Bates is playing herself in the new Ryan Murphy AHS ... so she just might get an Emmy, but never a 2nd Oscar..

That's All!!!!!

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrick

I'm excited - the idea sounds interesting and Diablo Cody is great (I haven't seen that Julianne Hough movie of hers, though, and I'm pretending that didn't happen). I'm firmly in the "Meryl Streep could play Batman and she'd be the right choice" camp and I'll watch whatever she does anyway.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

oh no, the "I would rather see [insert forgotten actress here] do this part" people... tiring. (btw, shouldn't those actresses be getting the wonderful auteur-written roles for older women that streep ~rejects~?)

and j-law should play one of the daughters - and not just for the reaction that would provoke.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

Yeah, after it came up I cannot stop picturing how perfect this role would be for Cher. She was kind of made for the Diablo Cody treatment.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

you're right Rick. I hate Streep. ;) That's why i've made video montages in her honor, and done entire series about her and have been writing about her consistently for 15 years. It's a deep-seated hatred disguised as love I guess ????

March 26, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Cher, Holly Hunter and Geena Davis are my fav choices. I agree with the those who said that the Streep casting made me less interested in the project

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

Can we please get Elisabeth Moss to play the daughter since I truly believe she is the next Meryl Streep?

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Isn't Cher older than Streep? I'd love to know the rest of the cast. I think Streep will be perfect. Sounds like it might be interesting.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Maybe!!!!

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Streep owes it to her legions of fans to stop behaving like she sold out. Her performances are intricate and enjoyable but it's been a long long time since she brought some real art to the screen. If she is to hold on to her accolades she needs to engage in far more interesting projects.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony T

Here are my initial thoughts:

Diablo Cody and Streep? CHECK
Jonathan Demme and Diablo and Streep? CHECK
Aging rock star plot with Streep? Eh... doesn't really interest me/feels very miscast.

Angela Bassett, Cher, Meg Ryan, Holly Hunter, Annette Bening, even Helen Hunt... they all seem more fit for the role and thus, more interesting to me. But I hope she knocks it out of the park.

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

It's not hard to imagine Meryl as a rock star since she actually does rock this world (in a good and/or bad way... whatever) every single day. ;)
I love her in TMC very VERY much. My god, she really crossed a line (or not??) there with... you know... her son. It's so creepy, but also fascinating.

And I've seen A:OC just recently. I thought it was a fine ensemble film and by all means not the family freakshow enough critics made me suggest it would be. Oh the drama they made... not even Meryl's Violet was as dramatic as these people were imo.

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

Aided by Diablo Cody's witty, and somewhat cynical views, combine it with the Jonathan Demme of the marvelous Rachel Getting Married, it leads me to believe that Meryl will be a revelation in this film.

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike

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