Tuesday, February 8, 2011

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Iron Hopes, Springing Eternal

People, I cannot resist the Call of the Streep, and today offered two bits of news re: the two-time Oscar winner, one-time Hollmann Award winner.

First: the release of an official image of Madame Meryl in costume and makeup as Margaret Thatcher for her new film The Iron Lady.

Hubba hubba.

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, pic follows Thatcher's decision to give Argentina what-for in the Falklands. Lloyd used to have a reputation for mounting admirable stage productions -- The Handmaid's Tale, Boston Marriage, the Tony-nominated Mary Stuart -- but we in America only know her for her cinematic debut, the guilty pleasure Mamma Mia!. Truth: saw that movie three times in one week. Love it, love it, LOVE IT.

Naturally, the film is already controversial. Thatcher is largely reviled by the artistes of showbiz, and so of course there is concern that liberal-leaning Lloyd will take aim at the former Prime Minister. Deserved or not, I sometimes find cinematic crucifixions to be a bore (unless you have the aesthetic of Oliver Stone), but I have faith in Meryl. There's a lady that searches for dimension, and she's already said she hopes to bring "as much zeal, fervour and attention to detail as the real Lady Thatcher possesses". Besides, I want to be able to see a political film without hearing all the reasons why my family refuses to see it. It makes everything I learn and discuss automatically irrelevant: "Oh, well you're drinking the liberal Hollywood Kool-Aid." You know what? THAT KOOL-AID TASTES DELICIOUS.

Cool, refreshing liberalism

In all fairness, I don't know much about Margaret Thatcher. I know people feel her conservatism drove a great divide between the classes, but I also know people credit her with Britain's return as a major world power and helping to end the Cold War. My grandfather owns her memoirs, my blog friends call her a Satanist. What I'm hoping for is something like The Queen, where everyone can glean something from the performance. For instance, I feel even more in love with Elizabeth II and applauded Mirren's performance; others, apparently, did not feel as positively toward the royal, but the point is, the portrayal allows for both sides to see support from the same film.

[Quote and pic source: Deadline London.]

Meanwhile: Meryl has officially signed in to Great Hope Springs, in which she plays one-half of a couple going off to a retreat to repair their marriage. When first we heard of this, it was a year ago, and Mike Nichols was circling the project with Jeff Bridges attached to play the husband and Philip Seymour Hoffman as their therapist. Since then, David Frankel, who directed Streep to her Oscar-nominated turn in The Devil Wears Prada, has signed on to direct; Bridges dropped out, James Gandolfini was attached, but now this press release says there is no male lead attached. Is Hoffman still with it? Who knows?

May I make a suggestion? I know some people may want another re-team of Streep and Stanley Tucci, and I would totally go for that. However, as long as we're keeping in mind reunions of The Devil Wears Prada and Doubt, I just want to throw into the conversation another actor who has worked both Streep and Frankel. I am referring, of course, to Steve Martin, the versatile writer-actor-musician who played so winningly opposite Streep in It's Complicated and can next be seen in The Big Year, a birdwatching comedy helmed by -- guess who? -- David Frankel.

The kids will love this

Of course, I'm still disappointed that it's not a director along the lines of Nichols or Jonathan Demme, since I do think some directors are so enamored of Meryl sometimes that they fail to reign her in. But Streep's performance in The Devil Wears Prada is so right. Eh, I'll give Frankel the benefit of the doubt.

[Story source: The Playlist]

They are 2011 and 2012 releases respectively, so we're looking forward to nominations 17 and 18 for Meryl. She will be the front-runner to win until some younger, un-awarded veteran shows up at the last minute.


TomS said...

Walter, good news indeed! You know, the musical "Billy Elliot" had a number devoted to the miner's dislike for Thatcher...it was a scathing and very funny number, maybe you can find it on-line.

Curious, too, when "August:Osage County the movie will be released. Isn't Streep also attached to that film? Nomination # 20 no doubt.

(BTW I am doing my best to keep up here...you are prolific, and I am either slow, or busy...will comment soon on your casting pieces.)

Walter L. Hollmann said...

I *love* Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher! I have both the Broadway version and the Elton John demo, and it *is* a fun piece!

I forgot about August: Osage County... That's 2012, too. Maybe supporting? Oh, who am I kidding, she may have to compete against herself for a nom come 2012!