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.”
In new Screen for Life television and radio public service announcements (PSAs), Meryl Streep says, “There is so much in life we can’t control. But here’s something we can: colorectal cancer.” She talks about getting screened herself and urges others to do all they can to prevent colorectal cancer and get screened. Streep, who filmed the PSA in June 2012, joins an outstanding group of celebrities who have participated in CDC’s Screen for Life campaign, including actors Terrence Howard, Jimmy Smits, Diane Keaton, and Morgan Freeman, as well as journalist Katie Couric. PSAs featuring these celebrities were created in partnership with the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA), cofounded by Ms. Couric. NCCRA is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. To learn more about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visit their official website.
According to The Playlist, “August: Osage County” has finally received a theatrical release date for the USA – November 8, 2013. The picture is an adaptation of Tracy Letts’ dark comedic play (a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and centers on a troubled family that tries to overcome their differences when their alcoholic patriarch goes missing. Letts wrote the deeply acidic play “Killer Joe” that William Friedkin adapted to fantastically bonkers effect last year and also penned the screenplay to both films. Directed by John Wells, it’s his follow-up effort to “The Company Men,” which starred Ben Affleck, after spending almost three decades in TV writing, producing and directing (notable credits include “Shameless,” and “E.R.” among many). The cast is unstoppable. The mother and father are played by Meryl Streep and Sam Shepard and the adult daughters are played by Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis and Julianne Nicholson from “Boardwalk Empire.” The cast also includes Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin and Dermot Mulroney. Unless there is something botched in the execution, expect this picture to be a big awards player.