Oct 17
2019

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mossack Fonseca, the Panama City law firm that watched in horror back in 2016 as a treasure trove of its documents became public, is now attempting to stop Netflix from streaming The Laundromat, a dark comedy that is inspired by those “Panama Papers.” The firm and its founders have filed a lawsuit in Connecticut federal court and are pushing for a restraining order to prevent the Friday release of the film. The movie, directed by Steven Soderbergh, stars Meryl Streep investigating the death of her husband in a boat tour and being led down a trail of shady dealings connected to an off-shore tax scheme exploited by some of the world’s most powerful individuals. According to some advance write-ups of the film, some of these dealings are traced to Jürgen Mossack (played by Gary Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Antonio Banderas), the named partners in the firm. As the new lawsuit points out, the movie’s trailer states The Laundromat is “based on some real shit,” referencing what was exposed by the leak of 11.5 million documents three years ago. Mossack and Fonseca complain that the film casts them as “villains profiting from the death of 20 people killed in the small town boat tour,” and also object to a comment in the film from Streep tying them to “bribery, corruption, money laundering.” The film provokes two big claims — defamation and trademark infringement. The former because these lawyers have allegedly been cast falsely as criminals, and the latter because the movie utilizes the film’s registered logo while allegedly diminishing and diluting its value. To each of the claims, Netflix will likely raise First Amendment defenses, including how use of the logos is artistically relevant and not explicitly misleading. But for now, the move for a restraining order is what’s most pressing. Prior restraints on speech face nearly insurmountable odds in court. To overcome the First Amendment, Mossack and Fonseca present a theory of irreparable harm tied to their due process rights as potential defendants in a criminal case.

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Aug 27
2019

As The Hollywood Reporter writes, “The Laundromat” will hit select cinemas September 27 and then debut on Netflix on October 18 – a month earlier than the previously-announced November release. The Steven Soderbergh directed film has also expanded its festival run. After a world-premiere at the Venice Film Festival (September 01), it will be shown at the San Sebastian Film Festival’s sidebar section (no date yet) and the Toronto International Film Festival (September 09), where Streep is set to receive the inaugural TIFF Tribute Actor Award. Here’s the offcial synopsis: When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin (Meryl Streep) begins investigating a fake insurance policy, only to find herself down a rabbit hole of questionable dealings that can be linked to a Panama City law firm and its vested interest in helping the world’s wealthiest citizens amass even larger fortunes. The charming—and very well-dressed—founding partners Jürgen Mossack (Gary Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Antonio Banderas) are experts in the seductive ways shell companies and offshore accounts help the rich and powerful prosper. They are about to show us that Ellen’s predicament only hints at the tax evasion, bribery and other illicit absurdities that the super wealthy indulge in to support the world’s corrupt financial system.

Aug 20
2019

“Let Them All Talk” – a film starring Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest, Lucas Hedges and Gemma Chan – will have its debut on HBO Max. WarnerMedia announced it picked up the project for the streaming service on Monday. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Deborah Eisenberg, the film tells the story of a “celebrated author who takes a journey with some old friends to have some fun and heal old wounds,” a press release said. Hedges will play Streep’s nephew and Chan will play a literary agent. “This is the kind of project where you just say, ‘Yes, please sign me up,'” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max, said in a statement. “To work with Steven Soderbergh and this all-star cast led by Meryl Streep is thrilling and sets the standard for features at HBO Max.” Production was underway in New York and is scheduled to move to the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship and Britain. HBO Max is set to launch in 2020.

Aug 17
2019

According to The Playlist, with the world premiere of his latest film, “The Laundromat” set to screen at the Venice Film Festival in two weeks, Steven Soderbergh is taking some much-needed downtime… by shooting a secret new film called “Let Them All Talk.” Most details are being kept under wraps, but sources close to the project tell us the movie features his “Laundromat” star Meryl Streep and Gemma Chan from “Crazy Rich Asians”. Soderbergh had been hinting at working on something new on Twitter and revealed the title of the film yesterday. Sources have confirmed to us that the project is indeed Soderbergh’s next feature-length narrative movie. One feature of the film is that it’s being shot on the brand-spanking-new RED Komodo Dragon camera, a state-of-the-art digital RED camera meant to be the new platinum standard for digital cameras. The Komodo cameras are also expected to be used for David Fincher‘s upcoming “Mank” film for Netflix starring Gary Oldman. Soderbergh had intended to finish the film and then take it out to market, but the word is out and various studios and streaming platforms—some that haven’t even launched yet—are already getting their checkbooks out and readying for the bidding war. Netflix, who is putting out “The Laundromat” in the fall, and released Soderbergh’s previous 2019 film, “High Flying Bird,” is definitely expected to be one of the bidders. “Let Them All Talk” is currently shooting in New York as we speak and don’t’ be surprised if paparazzi photos of Streep and Chan surface later today. The film will shoot for a few days in NYC first this week—with RED folks on standby—before whisking away to a remote location outside the U.S. where no one will be available to do service work on the camera at all. Here’s hoping everyone stays dry overseas.

Jul 26
2019

According to Variety, Meryl Streep will receive the Toronto International Film Festival’s Tribute Actor Award during this year’s festivities. “Meryl Streep is undoubtedly one of the most talented and versatile actors of her generation,” TIFF co-head Joana Vicente said in a statement. “Her tremendous contribution to cinema, television, and the stage spans five decades; from her early roles in “The Deer Hunter,” “Kramer vs. Kramer,” and “Sophie’s Choice” to later films including “The Devil Wears Prada,” “The Iron Lady,” and “The Post,” she has portrayed characters that are as compelling as they are timeless. TIFF could not be more thrilled to honor such a skilled and exemplary artist.” Streep will be presented with the award at the Tribute Gala on Sept. 9 at Fairmont Royal Oak. Streep stars in Steven Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat,” which will have its North American premiere at TIFF. The 44th annual TIFF runs Sept. 5-15. As previously announced, Participant Media will receive the TIFF Impact Award at the gala. The recipient of the inaugural Mary Pickford Award, honoring a female emerging talent in the industry, will be announced at a later date. In addition to “The Laundromat,” this year’s lineup also includes “Joker” starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers” as well as “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a Mr. Rogers biopic starring Tom Hanks as the legendary children’s television host.

Jul 25
2019

Great news from Venice today. Ahead of the aforementioned premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, “The Laundromat” will also be screened (assumingly its world-premiere) at the 76th Venice Film Festival. With the announcement, a first synopsis for the film has been released which indicates that a) Streep is playing the central character of the film and b) announces James Cromwell and Sharon Stone as co-stars. As The Hollywood Reporter writes, “Netflix will have a solid lineup once again in Venice this year after scoring big last year when Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma took home the Golden Lion and the Coen Bros.’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs won the Best Screenplay award. Also from Netflix, Steven Soderbergh’s uber-timely Panama Papers comedy The Laundromat follows Meryl Streep as Ellen Martin, whose dream vacation takes a wrong turn and leads her down a rabbit hole of shady dealings that can all be traced to one Panama City law firm, run by seductive partners played by Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas. She soon learns that her minor predicament is only a drop in the bucket millions of files linking an off-shore tax scheme to the world’s richest and most powerful political leaders. The all-star cast also includes Jeffrey Wright, David Schwimmer, Larry Wilmore, Matthias Schoenaerts, James Cromwell and Sharon Stone”. After facing backlash for an almost all-male lineup in recent years, the good news is that Venice has doubled the number of female directors in competition. The bad news is that wasn’t too hard to do, going from one director to two out of 21 competition films. The 76th Venice Film Festival runs August 28 – September 07, 2019.

Jul 23
2019

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the finale of the HBO drama scores its biggest audience ever for an initial airing, and the season as a whole is up substantially. Sunday’s episode, which (seemingly) brought the series to a close, drew just under 2 million viewers — 1.98 million, to be precise. It passed the season one finale (1.86 million) as the show’s most-watched hour for its first airing. Replays and streaming pushed the Sunday total to 3.1 million, also a series high. Across all platforms, season two of Big Little Lies is averaging 10 million viewers per episode, according to HBO (which, like the rest of the industry, doesn’t break out streaming figures from the aggregate). That’s an increase of 18 percent over the 8.5 million who watched the first season. That linear increases for the current season are even larger: It averaged 1.64 million viewers for first airings, a 40 percent jump over season one’s 1.17 million. Each episode of season two improved on the comparable installment from the first season. The increases in viewership came despite some cooling of critical acclaim for the series and a report that director Andrea Arnold had creative control taken away in postproduction so the episodes would be more in line with the style of season one helmer Jean-Marc Vallée. Sources say Arnold’s contract did not include final cut on the series, and HBO released a statement praising her work.

May 22
2019

Meryl Streep will be narrating a new audiobook edition of “Charlotte’s Web” and is the first person to narrate the classic since the author’s own performance, recorded nearly 50 years ago. According to People, which has an exclusive first look at its cover-art, the classic story will also be narrated by an ensemble cast and features cover art by two-time Caldecott Honor-winning artist Melissa Sweet. “E.B. White wrote that Charlotte’s Web is a story of life, death, and friendship,” said Sweet, who is also a White biographer. “For the audiobook cover, I chose to illustrate the quintessential moment when Wilbur first meets Charlotte on a perfect spring day in Maine. I am deeply honored.” White’s story of the friendship between Charlotte, a barn spider, and Wilbur, a pig who was the runt of the litter, has moved generations of readers and inspired two film adaptations. “As a piece of work it is just about perfect, and just about magical in the way it is done,” wrote Eudora Welty in her 1952 New York Times review of the book. “What it all proves – in the words of the minister in the story which he hands down to his congregation after Charlotte writes ‘Some Pig’ in her web – is ‘that human beings must always be on the watch for the coming of wonders.’ ” The new Charlotte’s Web audiobook will be published by Listening Library on Oct. 29. The full story can be read over at People. Many thanks to Alvaro for the heads-up.

Feb 20
2019

According to Digital Spy, Peter Dinklage, Meryl Streep and Queer Eye’s Fab Five will lend their voices to Audible Original comedy show “Heads Will Roll”, a new workplace comedy. The show is created by Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon alongside sister Emily Lynne. It focuses on an evil queen who strives for peace and quiet, though is forced to take action when her reign is threatened by a peasant uprising. Queen Mortuana and her ditsy raven sidekick JoJo must then find the prophesied Shard of Acquiescence to crush the rebellion. Alongside Dinklage and Streep, the show will include the voices of Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen, Tim Gunn, Andrea Martin, Carol Kane, Audra McDonald, Aidy Bryant, Alex Moffat, Heidi Gardner, Chris Redd, Steve Higgins and Esther Perel. “Audible is committed to creating extraordinary, top-quality original audio content through thoughtful collaboration with leading innovators, creators and actors,” said David Blum, Editor in Chief of Audible Originals. “We are delighted to work with Broadway Video, masters of creative storytelling and comedy, to create this completely unexpected and genre-defying entertainment.” Dinklage and Streep shared a stage together in 2005 for the Charlie Kaufman’s stage production “Theater of the New Ear”. A premiere date has not been announced yet. Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.

Jan 27
2018

According to Variety, The Society of Camera Operators is awarding Meryl Streep its President Award for Lifetime Achievement for her body of work, and her commitment to the craft of camera operating. The group noted that Streep has been nominated a record breaking 21 times for an Academy Award and has won three times. She received a Best Actress nomination on Jan. 23 for “The Post.” “Ms. Streep’s successes ranging from ‘Kramer Vs. Kramer,’ ‘Sophie’s Choice,’ ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ ‘Mamma Mia,’ ‘The Iron Lady,’ ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ and ‘The Post,’ which can currently be seen in theaters, are examples of her expansive creative genius, and the depth and variety of her performances,” the group said. Streep will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 3 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel.