According to Variety, Meryl Streep has funded a screenwriters lab for women writers over 40, to be run by New York Women in Film and Television and IRIS, a collective of women filmmakers. The creation of the lab, and Streep’s involvement in its founding, was announced Sunday at a panel discussion presented as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. Called the Writers Lab, the screenplay development program aims to increase opportunities for female screenwriters over the age of 40. This year the initiative will accept submissions May 1-June 1, with eight winning scribes named Aug. 1. Among the mentors to participate in the Lab’s inaugural year are writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Beyond the Lights”), producer Caroline Kaplan (“Boyhood”), and writers Kirsten Smith (“Legally Blonde”) and Jessica Bendinger (“Bring It On”). According to NYWIFT, Streep ponied up a “significant” contribution to fully fund the Lab. The actress has been a longtime supporter of NYWIFT. The Writers Lab will take place at a retreat in upstate New York. Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.

Very sad news today: Mike Nichols, who made such films as The Graduate, which earned him a best director Oscar, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, has died. He was 83. Meryl was one of his frequent collaborators, appearing on four of his projects – Silkwood, Heartburn, Postcards from the Edge and Angels in America – and was slated to team with Nichols for a fifth time for the HBO adaptation of Masterclass in 2015. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Streep once said of Nichols, “no explanation of our world could be complete and no account or image of it so rich, if we didn’t have you,” in hailing him as one of the essential artists of our time. Nichols presented Streep with her AFI Life Achievement Award in 2004 and Streep repeated that duty in 2010, presenting Nichols with his award. With Nichols, Hollywood loses one of his most unique and crafted directors. He will be greatly missed. Edit: Meryl Streep was quoted in today’s USA Today.

An inspiration and joy to know, a director who cried when he laughed, a friend without whom, well, we can’t imagine our world, an indelible irreplaceable man.

Artists from three media will come together for a special event at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium on Sept. 19, as three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep joins the Takács String Quartet for readings from Philip Roth’s novella, “Everyman.” The readings will be interspersed with music by Franz Schubert and Arvo Pärt. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. The event is already sold out (in less than 12 hours); however, obstructed view seats will be put on sale on Sept. 2. In the unlikely event there are remaining tickets, they will be made available for purchase after Sept. 2 at the Frist Campus Center Box Office, at (609) 258-9220. As described by The New York Times, Roth’s “Everyman” is the story of “a nameless, multi-divorced advertising man in New Jersey grappling with family estrangement, illness and death.” The event will be presented by Princeton University Concerts, which will also collaborate with the Princeton Adult School to offer a two-session course on Sept. 15 and 16, exploring the themes of Roth’s novella. The complete announcement can be read here. Many thanks to Glenn and Rachel for the heads-up.

“The Homesman” will have its world-premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it’s running in competition! Starring Jones, Hilary Swank, Hailee Steinfeld, William Fichtner, Miranda Otto and Meryl Streep, this period Western is the actor-director’s first helming effort since his 2005 debut, “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” which won two prizes at Cannes (including an acting award for Jones). Meryl’s last trip to the croisette dates back to 1989, when she won Best Actress for “A Cry in the Dark”. It might be unlikely this year for her to attend since her performance in “The Homesman” is mentioned to be small turn / cameo appearance. Exact premiere dates will be announced closer to the festival’s opening, which runs from May 14th to the 25th.

From April 3-5, 2014, New York’s Lincoln Center will once again pulse with live, journalistic storytelling as inspiring women leaders share their stories of courage and determination. Tickets for the three-day event are on sale now—you can also watch live on The Daily Beast. Joining Tina Brown as co-hosts will be Laurene Powell Jobs, Executive Director of United Nations Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Diane von Furstenberg, Alyse Nelson, Mellody Hobson, Meryl Streep, Barbara Bush, and Ambassador Melanne Verveer.

And on September 19, Meryl will be performing a special, one time only concert with Takács Quartet at Princeton University. The program was conceived by Edward Dusinberre, the first violinist of the Takács, in close collaboration with Philip Roth, after Ed read the Roth novel “Everyman”. Ed calls it “an exploration of the theme of death; Roth’s powerful meditation Everyman, placing Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” in an unusual and inspiring context.” Meryl Streep will read passages from Everyman and the Takács will perform Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” and also music by Arvo Part. More information can be found at their official website.

According to The Wrap, there’s a new project on the horizon, written by Diablo Cody and to be directed by Jonathan Demme. Hollywood is salivating over a red-hot package making the rounds that has Jonathan Demme attached to direct a Diablo Cody script, with none other than Meryl Streep attached to star, an individual familiar with the project told TheWrap. In “Ricky and the Flash,” Streep would play a woman who abandoned her family when she was younger to find fame and fortune as a rock star. Decades later, she decides to be a mother again to her estranged children, one of whom is going through a rough divorce. Marc Platt, who worked with Demme on “Rachel Getting Married,” will produce, while Cody’s manager, Mason Novick, is also expected to be involved in a producing capacity. Novick produced the Cody-scripted films “Juno” and “Young Adult,” as well as Marc Webb’s directorial debut “(500) Days of Summer.” The prestige package is being shopped to studios and high-level production companies with access to financing. Universal and Fox 2000 are among the studios that have expressed interest in the project, according to one insider. Many thanks to Frank for the heads-up.

Jimmy Kimmel’s post Academy Awards bash has been a tradition of awards season for the past nine years with previous guests for the hour long special including Ben Affleck and Tom Cruise. This year, the host has scored a lineup that includes nominees and some of his favourite guests. Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep will join Best Director favourite Martin Scorsese along with Captain Phillip’s newcomer Barkhad Abdi and this year’s Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres. Also dropping by will be Kevin Spacey who will serve as the lead guest while big names like Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman will also make an appearance. Fans of the Hemsworth brothers are in for a treat as both Chris and Liam are scheduled to appear along with Christoph Waltz, Ben Kingsley, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Seth Rogen, Andy Garcia, Adam Driver, Queen Latifah, Gary Oldman and Anjelica Huston. Kimmel’s A-list guest list is largely helped by the fact he shoots his show across the street from the Dolby Theatre where this year’s Oscars will take place on Sunday night. The show will air live on ABC after the 86th Academy Awards and will also include a popular comedy video segment following the success of last year when Kimmel premiered the trailer for the star-filled Movie: The Movie. Many thanks to everybody for the heads-up.

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center announced that tickets are publicly available for the 14th Annual Monte Cristo Award, honoring Meryl Streep. The award, presented to Ms. Streep at a Gala event in her honor, will be held at the Edison Ballroom, New York City, on Monday, April 21. Individual tickets start at $750, and can be purchased at www.theoneill.org. The Monte Cristo Award celebrates and honors a theater artist who exemplifies the great American dramatist Eugene O’Neill’s pioneering spirit and unceasing artistic commitment to excellence. The 14th Annual Monte Cristo Award will be presented by close friend, colleague, and fellow O’Neill alumnus Joe Grifasi. Meryl Streep’s great empathy for her characters and the diversity of women she has chosen to portray have distinguished her work in film, television, and theater for nearly three decades. A graduate of Vassar College and Yale School of Drama, one of Ms. Streep’s first professional jobs after Yale was with the O’Neill’s National Playwrights Conference in 1975, acting in five plays over six weeks. More information on ticket purchases can be found here.