Sad news today. Jonathan Demme, best known for directed “The Silence of the Lambs”, for which he won a Best Director Academy Award, has died at 73. Meryl Streep has spoken out on the passing of filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who directed the Oscar winner in 2015’s rocker comedy, “Ricki and the Flash.” In a statement provided to TheWrap, Streep praised Demme as: “A big hearted, big tent, compassionate man- in full embrace in his life of people in need- and of the potential of art, music, poetry and film to fill that need- a big loss to the caring world.” Demme died Wednesday in New York of esophageal cancer and complications from heart disease. He was originally treated for the disease in 2010, but suffered from a recurrence in 2015. His condition deteriorated in recent weeks leading to his passing. In “Ricki and the Flash,” Streep played an aging rocker coming to terms and dealing with the reconciliation of her music life and her family life. “Juno” Oscar winner Diablo Cody wrote the screenplay. Streep sung and played guitar live for the role. Her and Demme were friends prior to making “Ricki the Flash.” Demme’s other credits include “Philadelphia,” “Rachel Getting Married,” “Melvin and Howard,” “Swing Shift” and “Something Wild.”
As previously announced, Meryl Streep was among the guests of the Academy of American Poets’ 15th Annual Poetry and the Creative Mind on Thursday, and the Literary Hub has a nice article on the evening and the poems that were read. The sweeping Alice Tully Hall was full, the lobby had been swarmed for almost an hour before, and tickets had sold out in about three minutes. The state of our world is precarious, and it’s hard not to feel uncertain or desperate; the poems chosen for the night seemed to speak precisely to that. As the final speaker of the evening, Meryl Streep said that she was thinking about what Uzo Aduba said about the first poem she ever loved; hers was the lullaby her mother used to sing to her. “It’s not on the program, but I think I have to sing it.” And she did. After the song, she read Gary Snyder’s “Mother Earth: Her Whales,” and then, to cheer us up, “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith. “Life is short and I’ve shortened mine in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,” a mother begins, before saying she will keep it from her children: I am trying to sell them the world. Any decent realtor, walking you through a real shithole, chirps on about good bones: This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful. Would it be too sentimental to say that a large room of poets, singing their childhood memories and pleas for resistance, reading poems that enriched and inspired and devastated them, felt like it had filled in the bones of Lincoln Center and New York and the world for just one evening? When Meryl Streep reads poetry to you, it’s hard to resist romance. Pictures from the evening have been added to the photo gallery.
On this day 40 years ago, Meryl Streep was first seen by a broad television audience in the CBS movie of the week “The Deadliest Season”. In it, Michael Moriarty plays a hockey player who struggles with getting older and uses more and more violent tricks on the field to remain in form, until one of his actions land him in court. Meryl Streep plays his wife, which says pretty much everything about her character – there’s not much to do or anything poignant to say (if you don’t count “When I watched you in a game it turned me on”). This short period of being an unknown film actress lasted for only a year until her breakthrough performances in “The Deer Hunter” and “Holocaust” in 1978, so it’s kind of fun to see Meryl Streep in a bit part, and how she manages to give this character depth and meaning after all. For more information about the film, visit the career page with additional production notes and pictures. To celebrate its anniversary, six exclusive clips have been added to the video archive, with many thanks to Simona for helping me out. Enjoy!
According to Deadline, “The Post will be hitting theaters much sooner than we have thought. Steven Spielberg only said yes this past Monday to direct Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in the Fox/Amblin co-production and they’ve all been clearing their schedules to start production in late May. Deals are still being finalized, but that means the film will be ready for release to qualify for this coming Oscar season. As AwardsWatch continues in a second artice, Spielberg was prepping The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara for a 2017 release (and was heavily predicted by the Gold Rush Gang in those first predictions) and is in post- production on Ready Player One (set for March 2018). That opens up the schedules of Mark Rylance and Oscar Isaac, both set to star in Mortara (but also opens up their Oscar chances in other 2017 films). Hanks was ready to start the WWII thriller Greyhound but now that’s pushed back. This marks Hanks’s fifth collaboration with Spielberg. Streep is currently filming Mary Poppins Returns in London but will be long finished by the time The Post begins. Many thanks once again to Frank for the heads-up.
Meryl Streep drew cheers at yesterday’s annual gala for the Human Rights Campaign, a national group that advocates on behalf of LGBTQ rights, where Streep received the group’s National Ally For Equality Award. Among the other honorees and speakers were Senator minority leader Charles Schumer, who was more impassioned and freewheeling than we are used to seeing him on the Senate floor; Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney; and late-night host Seth Meyers. But it was Streep who carried the night. As Deadline wrote, Meryl spoke of the early and powerful influence of teachers when she was growing up in suburban New Jersey, and particularly of Paul Grossman, her music teacher when she was in sixth and seventh grades. He had taken the class on a field trip to the Statue of Liberty, she recalled. “Our whole class stood at the feet of that huge, beautiful woman and we sang a song that he had taught us with the lyrics taken from the poem by Emma Lazarus engraved at the face of the monument.” Streep paused as if considering her next move, and then began to sing. “Give me your tired your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore Send thee the homeless tempest toss’t to me. I life my lamp beside the golden door.” At one point she turned away from the audience, her eyes red with tears before continuing, and when finished, she half-whispered, “I can’t remember what I did Tuesday, but I remember that.” Streep said that Paul Grossman later became Paula Grossman and was promptly fired, never seeing a classroom again.
Congratulations to Meryl Streep on receiving her 20th – twentieth! – Academy Award nomination. Earlier this morning, she has received a Best Actress nomination for “Florence Foster Jenkins”, alongside Isabelle Huppert for “Elle”, Ruth Negga for “Loving”, Natalie Portman for “Jackie” and Emma Stone for “La La Land”. “Florence Foster Jenkins has received another nomination for Best Costume Design (the expected nominations for Best Hair and Makeup and a Supporting nomination for Hugh Grant were overlooked). To revive Meryl’s past Oscar nominations, have a look at Simply Streep’s Academy Award special. The Academy Awards will be handed out during a live ceremony on February 26, 2017.
While almost all sources cite “Julia” as Meryl’s film debut and “The Deadliest Season” as her first television, the first time that Meryl has ever been seen on a television screen was in “Secret Service“. Originally performed with the Phoenix Theatre Company in April 1976, the William Gillette play was picked by PBS to air for their Great Performances series of theatre adaptations. On January 12, 1977 – 40 years ago on this exact day – American audiences were able to catch a first glimpse of Meryl Streep – surrounded by John Lithgow, Marybeth Hurt, Joe Grifasi and Jeffrey Jones – singing in the chorus of “God Save the South” for the production’s first scene. To celebrate her television debut and the 40th anniversary of her career, I’ve recently launched streeponfilm.com, which will serve as a supplement to Simply Streep – posting background information, rare pictures and articles from back in the day. Imagine it like a 1977 fansite on Meryl Streep, with all the material already waiting to be posted :-) You’re welcome to join Streep on Film, maybe there’s even some old material to contribute. Below you will find one of the rare instances in which Meryl Streep was interviewed on “Secret Service”. She has fond memories of the theatre group, although not so much on Gillette’s “awful” play.
Congratulations to Meryl Streep for receiving a BAFTA Award nomination as Leading Actress for “Florence Foster Jenkins”. She shares the category with Amy Adams for “Arrival”, Natalie Portman for “Jackie”, Emma Stone for “La La Land” and Emily Blunt for “The Girl on the Train”. The BAFTAs have embraced “Florence Foster Jenkins” with a total 4 nominations, for Hugh Grant as Best Supporting Actor as well as Costume Design and Hair & Make-Up. Throughout her career, Meryl Streep has received two Best Actress prizes from the British Academy, for “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” in 1982 and for “The Iron Lady” in 2012. The BAFTAs are handed out on February 12, 2017.
Condolences to the Fisher family so quick again after Debbie Reynolds has passed away only a day after her dauhter. Carrie Fisher, the actress and writer best known for her iconic role as Star Wars’ Princess Leia, died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack four days earlier. She was 60. The daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, she carved out her own idiosyncratic career as a truth-telling Hollywood wit. Frankly addressing her own problems with substance abuse and bipolar disorder, she penned the 1987 hit novel “Postcards From the Edge”, an only slightly fictionalized version of her own life as a sometimes-depressed actress and the daughter of a major, and occasionally intimidating, Hollywood star. She went on to write the book’s screen adaptation for the 1990 film version, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Whenever Fisher appeared on the Hollywood awards circuit to pay tribute to another star, she could be counted on to offer up a wry observation that provoked laughter. Speaking at the 2004 AFI Life Achievement Award given to Streep, she recalled what it was like to have the Oscar-winning actress play her. “After Postcards premiered, I began daily to see the pain and disappointment in the eyes of my family and friends every time I wasn’t Meryl,” Fisher admitted. “There’s a name for this condition as it turns out — Merylnoma Streepdecoccus.” Streep and Fisher grew close during the pre-production of “Postcards from the Edge” and remained friends and frequent red carpet companions. This is truly sad news. Rest in peace.
Congratulations once again as Meryl has received a Best Actress Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, as well as a Best Actress Phoenix Film Critics Society nomination, for “Florence Foster Jenkins”. At the SAGs, Hugh Grant was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor. at the Phoenix Society, “Florence” racked up four nominations – for Best Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor and Best Costume Design. The Phoenix winners will be announced on Tuesday, December 20, 2015. The Screen Actors Guild Awards are handed out on January 29, 2017. This is Meryl Streep’s 16th SAG Award nominations, with acting categories and ensemble categories combined. She received her first nomination at the 1st annual awards for “The River Wild” in 1995 and her most recent nomination in 2015 for “Into the Woods”. Congratulations. Thanks to Frank for the Phoenix news.