According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tracey Ullman is in negotiations to join the growing cast of Into the Woods, Disney’s adaptation of the Broadway musical being directed by Rob Marshall. Ullman will join an all-star roster that is likley to include Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Emily Blunt, all of whom are in various stages of negotiations to be part of the production. The play is a darkly comic mashup of classic fairy tales that revolves around a childless baker and his wife (Blunt), who attempt to lift a family curse by journeying into the woods to confront the witch that put the spell on them. Along the way, they encounter a group of characters including Rapunzel, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. Ullman will play the mother to Jack the Giant Killer, who has yet to be cast. Streep is playing a witch and Depp is taking on a variation of the fairy tale wolf. Gyllenhaal and Pine play princes to Cinderella and Rapunzel. Many thanks to Frank and Glenn for the heads-up.
According to BroadwayWorld, a new casting notice for Disney confirms the commitment of Streep and Depp in the film’s pivotal roles, along with the addition of James Corden playing the Baker: “Starring in “Into The Woods” is three-time Academy Award nominee and Disney favorite Johnny Depp, who is playing a hungry and sexy vicissitude of the fairy tale Wolf. Also starring as the vain and charismatic Witch is three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep. Rounding out the first three roles Disney has cast is Tony Award winner James Corden playing the role of The Baker. Corden, who is hugely popular in England, recently played the role of “Britain’s Got Talent” sensation Paul Potts in the film “One Chance”.” The casting notice is available here. Thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.
And another event update. On April 22, Meryl Streep and husband Don Gummer have attended the the 50th anniversary gala of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, an organization founded in the early 1960s on the model of artists supporting one another’s creative efforts. It started as visual artists supporting performing artists, but since 1993 artists working in just about any medium have been eligible for a grant. More information can be found here. A picture from the anniversary gala has been added to the image library with many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.
Yesterday, Meryl Streep was a surprise guest at Indiana University’s dedication and demonstration of Big Red II, the first one petaFLOPS supercomputer in the state and the fastest university-owned system in the nation. Indiana University continues to lead the state, nation, and world in using high-speed computation to expand the frontiers of research. But in an age where each day brings a life-changing discovery, staying at the forefront means working at the speed of innovation. While there’s little coverage on the event, one picture has been added to the image library.
Here’s an update on “Into the Woods” courtesy Deadline: Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep filming together and singing. Who can resist? Not Disney any longer. It’s taken 16 months to get off the ground – ever since January 2012, when the studio sent out a press release announcing Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine) would be directing Stephen Sondheim’s iconic 1987 Broadway musical Into The Woods as a feature film for Disney. A table read was held in NYC this past October featuring Donna Murphy, Megan Hilty, Christine Baranski, Allison Janney and quite a few other Broadway stars. Buzz of Streep’s interest first surfaced last summer and this past week Marshall confirmed in an interview to Playbill that she was “in” to the play the witch. Today Variety reported Depp’s interest. Now I’ve confirmed that Johnny and Meryl “almost have their deals wrapped up for the film,” according to sources. Marshall directed 2011’s Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 (which might have been more palatable as a musical because it stunk as the franchise’s fourquel) so he’s already Mouse friendly. The original musical with music and lyrics by Sondheim and book by James Lapine is about a childless baker and his wife who attempt to lift a family curse by journeying into the woods to confront the witch that put the spell on them. Along the way, they encounter classic fairy tale characters. Thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.
Meryl Streep’s voice will be heard on a special project this summer: the first audiobook edition of the late Nora Ephron’s “Heartburn”. Random House Audio announced Friday that Streep will narrate Ephron’s autobiographical novel based on her marriage to journalist Carl Bernstein, first published in 1983. The Oscar-winning actress starred in the film version, which came out three years later. Streep was a close friend of Ephron, who died last year. They worked on several movies together. The audiobook is scheduled for July. Audio editions are planned for other Ephron books, including the essay collections “Wallflower at the Orgy” and “Crazy Salad.” The narrators haven’t been chosen. Many thanks to Glenn and Frank for the heads-up.
According to the New York Times, Meryl Streep will present and award at the Obie Awards ceremony on May 20 at Webster Hall in the East Village. She will be presenting the lifetime achievement Obie to Lois Smith and Frances Sternhagen. Ms. Smith is a veteran of Broadway, television and Hollywood who played the mother, Mable Murphy, in Sam Shepard’s “Heartless,” which opened at Pershing Square Signature Center last August. Ms. Sternhagen has also had a long career in film, television and theater. She can currently be seen as Rose, the car-crashing mother in Liz Flahive’s “The Madrid,” a Manhattan Theater Club production at City Center Stage I. The co-hosts at the Obie Awards will be Jessica Hecht and Jeremy Shamos. Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.
Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Diane von Furstenberg and Tom Hanks will be featured speakers at Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Women in the World Summit in New York on April 4 and 5, The Daily Beast announced Thursday. The summit highlights global women’s issues and features activists, CEOs and artists. “We tell the stories of the courageous and intelligent women who are battling the status quo in their countries, picking up the pieces in the aftermath of war and shattering glass ceilings in every sector,” The Daily Beast announced. Update: According to this source, Meryl Streep will pay tribute to Inez McCormack at the Women in the World Summit on April 4. Streep has portrayed Inez in the documentary play “Seven”, which tells the personal stories of Inez and six other women who triumphed over enormous obstacles to create major positive change in their home countries, at the same event three years ago.
Meryl Streep narrates Wings of Life, an eye-popping, hi-def nature documentary from Disney that zooms in to examine the pollination partnerships between flowers and the butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and bats that make our quality of life possible. Using amazing high-speed camera equipment that can shoot up to 1,500 frames per second, Wings of Life will open your eyes to the majestic beauty and mystery of nature, both exotic and familiar. “Wings of Life” becomes available on Blu-ray, Digital and On Demand on April 16, just in time for Earth Day. Click on the left to watch the trailer.
There’s one reason I’m posting this, rather speculative, news: The last time Meryl was mentioned to appear in a cameo, I thought, yes sure, that never happens. But since it was “Stuck on You” and really happened, I’ve kind of learned from it. So here we go: In a recent interview with Shortlist, Steve Carell dished on the upcoming sequel of “Anchorman” and mentioned he could imagine Meryl having a cameo in it. “Meryl Streep told me she was a huge Anchorman fan and she’d love to have a cameo in the sequel. That could be really funny. There are going to be plenty of great cameos in this movie.” “Anchorman 2” already boasts big names: in addition to original cast members Carell, Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate, “The Legend Continues” will also feature appearances from Kristen Wiig, James Marsden and Harrison Ford. So, if “Anchorman 2” happens with Streep, I’ll have my fingers crossed she’ll share the screen with Kristen Wiig, which would be worth its ticket alone.
Update: Well it has taken just one day for Carell to deny his words again :-) He told Access Hollywood that Meryl won’t be able to fit the film into her schedule. “When I did ‘Hope Springs,’ [Meryl] mentioned she was a fan and she said, ‘Oh, I’d love to be in it,'” Steve told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Friday’s Access Hollywood Live. “But that’s not gonna [happen] – that’s not a thing. “She’s actually busy – she can’t do it,” he added, with a laugh.”