Here are the good news: Some of the nation’s finest artists, scholars, and entertainers will be at the White House tomorrow as President Obama awards the National Medal or Arts and the National Humanities Medal. Among the 20 recipients: Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, jazz legend Sonny Rollins, singer/songwriter James Taylor, classic pianist Van Cliburn, To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee, and other acclaimed writers such as Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates. And here are the bad news: Streep and Lee will not be in attendance, the White House said.
News on the previously mentioned “Great Hope Springs” have been slow lately. Although it was promoted as a done deal back in Autumn 2010, there hasn’t been any news on the comedy drama ever since. Now, Deadline not only reports that director Mike Nichols has been replaced by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada), but also that Steve Carrell has been cast as the couple’s therapist (thanks for those letting me know since I originally wrote he was cast as the husband). As the husband, the latest news have been on James Gandolfini. No further sources or dates have been published. Personally, I think this is not close to being official as of now – especially since the first article says that Meryl is “in final negotiations” while the second article quotes the first one by saying she “officially signed on”. Let’s wait :-)
Bernd Eichinger, a German screenwriter and producer who made films in Germany and Hollywood, including the 1993 literary adaptation “The House of the Spirits” starring Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close, died in Los Angeles on Monday. In 1979, Mr. Eichinger became director of Constantin, which was then a struggling company but has since become one of Germany’s most important production and distribution houses. In addition to “The NeverEnding Story” (1984), Mr. Eichinger’s producing credits include works like “The Name of the Rose” (1986), “Last Exit to Brooklyn” (1989), “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” (1997), “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” (2006) and “The Baader Meinhof Complex” (2008), about a terrorist group in West Germany in the 1970s, which was nominated for an Academy Award as best foreign language film. He was 61.
Many thanks to Pam for bringing this to my attention! Though she has won her Oscars for dramatic roles, Forbes reports that over the last five years, Meryl Streep’s comedies – “Mamma Mia,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Julie & Julia,” “It’s Complicated” – have earned $1.3 billion at the box office worldwide, earning the actress the Forbes’ 1st place as highest grossing actress in comedy. Despite “Sex and the City 2” underperforming both commercially and critically, Sarah Jessica Parker ranked No. 2 with $916 million. (The SATC sequel may have earned $95 million in the U.S., but it raked in an impressive $193 million overseas.) No. 3: Katherine Heigl, whose comedies have earned $773 million over the last five years. Cameron Diaz comes in fourth with $768 million. Anne Hathaway rounds out the top 5. Her comedies – which include the mega-popular, “The Devil Wears Prada” – have earned $727 at the box office worldwide.
Today has brought two big updates for Meryl’s potential next project “August: Osage County”. First, Hollywood Elsewhere has the scoop that the film will “reportedly begin filming next summer (presumably between May and August), or a month or two after Streep finishes portraying conservative British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady.” Then, Julia Roberts has talked to Entertainment Weekly and was asked about the project.
Q: Your next movie is August: Osage County with Meryl Streep. Could that be your return trip to the ceremony? A: I think that will just be my trip to heaven to be with Meryl Streep in that scenario. It’s a dream come true.
I think this project can be treated as official from now on ;-) “August: Osage County” is a darkly comedic play by Tracy Letts. When the large Weston family unexpectedly reunites in Oklahoma, after their father disappears, their home explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. This new play unflinchingly – and uproariously – exposes the dark side of the Midwestern American family. Meryl Streep is cast in the role of the mother and family matriarch of the Weston family, Violet. She is addicted to several prescription drugs, mostly depressants and narcotics. Julia Roberts is cast as her oldes daughter, Barbara.
Various British sources have reported on current funding news for “The Iron Lady”, sounding quite negative, most probably due to the original negative statements by the Daily Telegraph. According to the Guardian, the UK Film Council’s last large-scale donations has been to the forthcoming Margaret Thatcher biopic, The Iron Lady, which was awarded £1m in October. Some see the move as an 11th-hour snook cocked at the Conservatives who, if rumours surrounding the script are to believed, may not welcome the project. Tim Walker of the Daily Telegraph reports that Thatcher’s family were “appalled” by the sound of the film, which apparently involves the former prime minister reassessing her career with some regret after the death of her husband, Denis, and while she is suffering from dementia. “They think it sounds like some left-wing fantasy,” Walker quotes a friend of the family as saying. Pathé, who are producing the film, insist it will be made with “appropriate sensitivity”. Meryl Streep plays Thatcher, and will be reunited with her Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd. Jim Broadbent is Denis, while Olivia Colman takes on the role of their daughter, Carol. To be fair, these quotations were published some time back by the Telegraph, quoting “a friend of the family” at a state when the script was probably not seen by anyone except those who were working on it, so let’s see if the negative press will keep up on “The Iron Lady” once it goes into production in early 2011.
The three episodes of “Web Therapy” with Meryl can be now watched at the show’s official website.
Deadline has been a frontrunner lately with exclusive news on upcoming collaborations, such as the planned “August: Osage County” and Michael Patrick King’s untitled comedy. Now, they reporting on a possible appearance on Lisa Kudrow’s web series (!): It seems like the great Meryl Streep is heading to the Web with a stint on Lisa Kudrow’s popular Internet series Web Therapy. I hear that the Oscar-winning actress quietly shot a three-episode arc on the series’ upcoming batch of fresh episodes, which LStudio is expected to launch soon. Details about her character are sketchy but word is she is playing a counselor. Streep has been in such great demand in features (she recently signed to do Michael Patrick King’s new comedy at Universal) that she rarely does anything else, with the exception of an occasional prestige longform TV project such as HBO’s Angels in America. The Webby-winning improv comedy series Web Therapy, created by Kudrow, her producing partner Dan Bucatinsky and writer-director Don Roos, stars Kudrow as Fiona Wallice, a therapist of unspecified credentials. In April, Showtime picked up the produced webisodes of Web Therapy to air as a half-hour series on the pay cable network.
Article courtesy the New York Daily News. Mayor Bloomberg will team up next Monday with Meryl Streep to co-host the Mayor’s Awards for Arts & Culture at Alice Tully Hall. Bloomberg said he’s “excited” but also a little intimidated by the “Devil Wears Prada” star. “She is one of the greatest actresses of our time, so I’ve got a lot of rehearsing to do before next Monday,” said Bloomberg. “The awards give us a chance to recognize the achievements of some of the people who make extraordinary contributions to culture in the five boroughs and help keep the city a vibrant place for artists and audiences,” Bloomberg said. New York City’s highest award for achievement in the arts, the Handel Medallion, will go to dance great and outgoing Alvin Ailey Artistic Director Judith Jamison. Other honorees will include photographer Bill Cunningham, Bronx Theatre High School Principal Deborah Effinger and Amy Fischetti-Boncardo, executive director of the Queens County Farm Museum. The Brooklyn Community Foundation and Staten Island’s Sandy Ground Historical Society are also slated to be honored.
Indiana University announces a free event featuring Meryl Streep and Jane Pauley on Friday, Nov. 12 at 4:30 p.m. at Indiana University Auditorium. Entitled “An Evening of Conversation with Jane Pauley and Meryl Streep at Indiana University,” the event is free and open to the public. On Nov. 1 at 10 a.m., tickets will be available in person at the IU Auditorium box office for IU Bloomington students, faculty and staff with valid ID; tickets will be available for the general public on Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. The program will feature an introduction by IU’s first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie followed by a discussion between Pauley and Streep. The evening will conclude with a question and answer session with questions submitted by audience members. More information can be found at the University’s official website.