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.

Coinciding with the #VotingMatters campaign, Focus Features has released a trailer (more of a teaser of an upcoming trailer) for director Sarah Gavron’s upcoming historical drama Suffragette starring Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson. Check it out below after the official synopsis.

“Suffragette” is a moving drama that will empower all who are striving for equal rights in our own day and age. The stirring story, inspired by the early-20th-century campaign by the suffragettes for the right of women to vote, centers on Maud (played by Carey Mulligan), a working wife and mother who comes to realize that she must fight for her dignity both at home and in her workplace. Realizing that she is not alone, she becomes an activist alongside other brave women from all walks of life. The early efforts at resistance were passive but as the women faced increasingly aggressive police action, the suffragettes become galvanized – risking their very lives to ensure that women’s rights would be recognized and respected.

Suffragette is set for release October 23rd in the States and October 30th in the UK.

Meryl Streep may have three Oscars and dozens of Golden Globes on her shelf, but one award has been missing so far (no, not the Tony, the other one). This Sunday, Meryl won the MTV Movie Award as Best Villain for “Into the Woods”. This has been her second nomination in the same category after a first nod in 2007 for “The Devil Wears Prada”. Since Meryl didn’t attend the ceremony, there’s nothing more to report from the ceremony. In other news, actress Nina Arianda has joined the cast of “Florence Foster Jenkins”. Arianda will play Agnes Stark, “a sexy showgirl trying to work her way into the social stratosphere with the help of her husband. When she first hears Florence’s singing, she cannot help but laugh, but eventually she becomes one of her biggest supporters.”

Another nice batch of older appearances pictures have been added to the image library. These additions range from 1994 to 2000 and include Meryl’s footprint ceremony at the Mann’s Chinese Theatre, the Women in Film Crystal Awards in 1998 and some great pictures from the 1999 and 2000 Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Enjoy the new additions.

Image Library – Public Appearances – 2000 – Screen Actors Guild Awards – Red Carpet
Image Library – Public Appearances – 2000 – Screen Actors Guild Awards – Show
Image Library – Public Appearances – 2000 – Golden Globe Awards
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1999 – Screen Actors Guild Awards
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1998 – “One True Thing” Premiere (Los Angeles)
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1998 – Women in Film Crystal Awards
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1994 – “The River Wild” Premiere (Los Angeles)
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1994 – Footprint Ceremony at Mann’s Chinese Theatre

In an interview with Rolling Stone, director Jonathan Demme revealed that Streep covered songs from artists like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Lady Gaga. Streep performed in front of a live audience and no playback was used to enhance her vocals — Streep is a very talented singer, as many of you are probably already aware. The actress covered Petty’s “American Girl” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” which means a group of lucky people on this planet got to watch Streep perform like a rock goddess and somehow managed to not hyperventilate to death.

Entertainment Weekly’s April 17 issue features a look at the Summer movies to look forward to – including the Jonathan Demme directed “Ricki and the Flash”, starring Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer. Besides a nice article on the film that includes interviews with Demme and Gummer, a new picture of Meryl as Ricki Randazzo is featured as well. Both the magazine page and the production still can be found in the image library, with many thanks to Claudia.

Some fantastic images from the past have been added to the image library, featuring public appearances pictures ranging from 1979 to 1988. Among the new additions is Meryl at a 1979 Broadway opening night of “The 1940s Radio Hour”, promotion for “The Seduction of Joe Tynan” and “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” and the 1983 Academy Awards. Many thanks to my friend Claudia for helping me with these wonderful pictures. Scroll down for a complete list. Enjoy the new pictures.

Image Library – Public Appearances – 1988 – “Project Vote” Reception Party
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1983 – Academy Awards – Press Room
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1983 – Academy Awards – Show
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1982 – New York Rallye Against Nuclear Power
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1981 – 26th Annual Obie Awards
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1981 – “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” Screening
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1980 – Oscar Nominees’ Party at Tavern Green
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1979 – “The Seduction of Joe Tynan” Premiere (New York)
Image Library – Public Appearances – 1979 – “The 1940s Radio Hour” Opening Night

Rebecca Ferguson is set to join the cast of Stephen Frears’ “Florence Foster Jenkins” opposite Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant and The Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg. The Pathe-financed pic follows the true story of the titular character (Streep), a wealthy woman in the early 2oth century NYC high society who used her relationships and her fortune to gain traction as a singer. With one catch: She couldn’t actually sing. Grant plays her butler and best friend, while Ferguson will play Grant’s long-suffering wife. Earlier this week, Deadline exclusively revealed that Helberg would be boarding in the role of Cosme McMoon, Florence’s accompanist on the piano. Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.