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Simply Streep Flipbook: Dropped Projects

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    King Kong (1976)
    In 1975, Meryl was one of many young hopefuls to audition for the part of the white woman in "King Kong". A meeting was set with the veteran Italian producer Dino De Laurentis, but Laurentis was unimpressed with her physical attributes and dismissed her crudely in Italian, not realizing that the actress knew the language fluently. "He said to his son, who organised the meeting, 'She's ugly. Why did you bring me this thing.' He didn't realise I'd just graduated and studied Italian 105," Streep said recalling the incident. "When I replied in Italian, he looked like he had been shot," she added. Eventually the role was a breakthrough for young Jessica Lange.

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    The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)
    When "The Postman Always Rings Twice" was remade in 1980, Meryl Streep was the first choice to star as Cora opposite Jack Nicholson. According to a 1980 article in Newsweek Magazine, writing about Streep trying to avoid on-screen stereotypes, they wrote: "She was eager to do a remake of the old Lana Turner movie "The Postman always Rings Twice," which has a promising screenplay and some explicit sex. Streep was willing to play the sex scenes as long as co-star Jack Nicholson would be as visibly explicit as she. The producers gave the part to Jessica Lange.

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    Private Lives (1982)
    Throughout the 1980s, Meryl Streep and Mike Nichols were eager to work together in the theatre. The play of their choice was Noel Coward's "Private Lives". Unfortunately, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were planning the same. Producer Zev Bufman said that he narrowly beat Mike Nichols for "Private Lives". "Mike wanted to do it himself, directing and costarring with Meryl Streep," says Bufman. "But I got the Noel Coward estate to work with us instead. I asked Mike to direct it for us, but he said his schedule wouldn't permit it." Presumably, he wouldn't think of doing the play without Meryl either.

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    The Real Thing (1983)
    After losing "Private Lives", Nichols and Streep eyed "The Real Thing". The witty, pun-filled play about an adulterous couple had been packing the house in London's West End and its art-mocks-life theme tickled Meryl's fancy. But there were several drawbacks. Press agents for Stoppard said Meryl wanted the playwright to rewrite several scenes. Stoppard refused. To sweeten the pot for Meryl, Jeremy Irons, her co-star from "The French Lieutenant's Woman" was cast as the male lead. She reconsidered. Finally, she turned it down. Glenn Close got the part instead. Eventually, Nichols and Streep did "The Seagull" for the Public Theatre in 2001.

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    Evita (1988)
    In the late 1980s, director Oliver Stone and Meryl Streep planned to bring Evita Perron's story to the screen, but due to schedule conflicts, shooting never took place. An article in the New York Times (September 1989) mentioned Meryl's drop-out: "Citing exhaustion she attributed to a heavy schedule of work, Meryl Streep has withdrawn from Oliver Stone's film version of the hit musical ''Evita.'' Filming was to begin in February in Seville, Spain. While actress Isabelle Huppert was the following choice to star in the film, it was eventually made in 1996 under the directon of Alan Parker and starring singer Madonna.

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    Thelma & Louise (1991)
    During its early pre-production, "Thelma & Louise" was considered a small independent film with Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand attached to star - until Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn chose it as a fitting project to work together. "I wanted to play it," Meryl recalled in a 1992 interview. "but the timing was not right, I was pregnant when they were shooting it, so I couldn't. But they didn't put it back to wait, I think, because we were... too expensive." Eventually, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis were cast, Streep and Hawn found eternal youth in "Death Becomes Her" and Hunter and McDormand won Oscars for The Piano and Fargo.

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    Man Trouble (1992)
    Having worked together before twice, Jack Nicholson wanted Meryl to play the female lead in "Man Trouble", directed by Bob Rafelson, with whom Jack made "Five Easy Pieces" 22 years before. Nicholson plays a a small potatoes security expert who is hired by a ditzy opera singer to obtain an attack dog for her apartment, since an unknown person has been burglarizing her home. But of course there's more to the story. During pre-production, however, Meryl got pregnant with her fourth child and had to leave the project. She was replaced by Ellen Barkin. Call it good timing, since the film became a high-profile flop.

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    The Remains of the Day (1993)
    In 1991, Mike Nichols planned to direct "The Remains of the Day" with Meryl and Jeremy Irons. But after both read for him, Nichols apparently decided otherwise. He declined to tell Streep. So did Sam Cohn, who was both Meryl's and Mike's agent. It resulted in Meryl leaving him as an agent. "I left because of something Mike did that I felt Sam should have protected me from. My relationship with them is in the 'life's too short to be mad category,'. "Mike is someone I share an enormous amount of history with. I was very upset to be upset. I have too much of a need for forgiveness in my life." The film was taken over by James Ivory with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.

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    All the King's Men (2006)
    In October 2004, Meryl was in negotations to star as Sadie Burke in "All the King's Men", Steven Zaillian's remake of 1949's Best Picture Oscar winner. The film centers on the rise of politician Willie Stark, played by Sean Penn. Streep was set to play his campaign assistant Sadie Burke, who falls in love with Stark. Also on board were Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins. A month later, Variety reported on Meryl's drop-out due to "schedule conflicts". The role of Sadie was replaced by Patricia Clarkson. The film released in 2006 to lukewarm reviews.

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    The Last Station (2009)
    In June 2006, Anthony Hopkins and Meryl Streep were announced to star in an adaptation of Jay Parini's novel "The Last Station". Set in the last tumultuous years of Leo Tolstoy's life, the historical biopic centered on the battle for his soul waged by his wife, Sofya Andreyevna and his leading disciple, Vladimir Cherkov. But the project got postponed and eventually both Hopkins and Streep had to drop out due to other commitments. It took director Michael Hoffman two more years to get the cameras rolling in Germany. By the time, the Tolstoy's were recast with Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren, both winning Oscar nominations.