When a movie is based on a celebrated Broadway play, the first question you want to ask is pretty basic: Does it play? In the case of August: Osage County, an adaptation of Tracy Letts’ 2007 Pulitizer Prize-winning stage drama about a feisty Oklahoma family marinating in its own miserablism, the answer is a resounding yes. The fights and insults and sadistic parent-child mind games, the disease and addiction, the decades’ worth of gnarled domestic resentments, the powerhouse acting that sometimes shades into overacting (though in this case I’ll be damned if you could the draw the line)…the movie is red meat for anyone who thrives on confrontation and a certain brand of punchy, in-your-face emotional shock value. Yet the pull of what was happening on screen came, for me, with a major qualification: I went with it, I often enjoyed it, but I didn’t entirely buy it. As a play, August: Osage County might have been designed to make every last person who sees it think: “Thank God for my family! Looking at these raging Middle American crazies, I never realized how much I had to be grateful for!” Which is to say: The film, directed with head-on prosaic craft by John Wells (who made the very sharp downsizing drama The Company Men), is an extremely canny theatrical contraption that spreads its darkness like whipped butter on a roll. Is it a good movie? Let’s call it the feel-good feel-bad domestic snake-pit melodrama of the year. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Meryl Streep (21-30 of 56)
Ready to be “excited and scared”?
Viral video star Sophia Grace Brownlee (of “Sophia Grace and Rosie” fame) will play Red Riding Hood in Disney’s upcoming adaptation of the musical Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall, EW has confirmed.
Into the Woods tells the story of the Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt), who make a deal with an evil witch (Meryl Streep) in order to conceive. Their journey into the woods brings them face-to-face with many famous fairy tale characters, including Red Riding Hood (Brownlee), The Wolf (Johnny Depp), Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), and Jack (Les Miserables’ Daniel Huttlestone) and his magical beans.
For those familiar with the work, the young age of Brownlee may give viewers pause. She’s 10, and will be metaphorically seduced by The Wolf (a.k.a 50-year-old Depp) and then develop a little bloodlust by the end of the movie.
For some context, check out Broadway star Danielle Ferland singing Red Riding Hood’s big number (full of veiled sexual references!) from the Broadway production of Into the Woods:
READ FULL STORY
Casting Net: Meryl Streep in talks to join 'The Giver,' set to reunite with Robert De Niro; Plus more
• You know filmmakers mean business when they cast two Oscar winners to star in their adaptation of a best-seller. Meryl Streep is set to star as Hildy Good, the main character of Ann Leary’s The Good House. Hildy is a grandmother, a real-estate broker, and an alcoholic. The book is set a year after her family tried to intervene, when Hildy starts to immerse herself in the sordid secrets of her Massachusetts town as she befriends, and then tries to protect, a younger transplant named Rebecca, who has yet to be cast. Robert De Niro, who starred with Streep in The Deer Hunter, Falling in Love, and Marvin’s Room, will play Frank, a fellow resident of the town who Hildy reconnects with. Michael Cunningham (The Hours) is writing the adaptation, and there is currently no director attached. [Deadline]
• Streep is also in talks to join Jeff Bridges in the adaptation of The Giver, where she’d play the part of the Chief Elder. Bridges plays The Giver and relative unknown Brenton Thwaites will play Jonas in the big screen take on Lois Lowry’s new classic. Production is expected to begin in South Africa in two months, with Phil Noyce directing. [Deadline]
The latest stars to be subjected to “yes, but can they sing?” scrutiny: Heartthrobs Jake Gyllenhaal and Chris Pine, potentially. EW has confirmed that Gyllenhaal is in talks to join Disney’s film adaptation of Into the Woods, the 1987 Stephen Sondheim musical about interwoven fairy tales. Deadline writes that Pine, too, is in talks for the film, though his rep would not confirm the news.
The actors are up for the roles of Cinderella’s Prince and Rapunzel’s Prince. There’s no word yet on which would be playing which. (Cinderella’s Prince is the bigger part, though.)
If their deals go through, Gyllenhaal and Pine will join a cast that already includes Meryl Streep (The Witch), Gavin & Stacey‘s James Corden (The Baker), and Johnny Depp (The Wolf, a role traditionally played by the same actor as Cinderella’s Prince in stage productions). A screenplay reading last October featured actors including Anna Kendrick (Cinderella) and Allison Janney (Jack’s Mother), though there’s no word yet on whether any of those actors will be cast in the film.
Casting Net: Johnny Depp might go ‘Into the Woods’ with Meryl Streep, more
This Week on Stage: Alec Baldwin fizzles and fumes, Christine Baranski returns to her roots
‘Smash’ recap: Not Dead Yet
August: Osage County (out Nov. 8) may well become the year’s fanciest movie about a trashy family. It’s based on Tracy Letts’ hours-long, Pulitizer prize-winning play (which we said was “horrifyingly, deliciously mesmerizing”) and is directed by John Wells from Letts’ adaptation. The cast is stuffed from every angle with talent: Ewan McGregor, Sam Shepard, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Julia Roberts (as the favorite daughter), and Meryl Streep (as the hated mother).
As the film’s first trailer makes clear, Osage County is a Jenga-like drama of family dysfunction, with funerals and divorces piling atop dinner-table conflicts. Roberts is weary. Streep, with a frizz of black hair, has the juiciest role in the play. Edward Sharpe plays in the background.
Is it foolish to admit I’m most excited for Juliette Lewis?
• Johnny Depp is in talks to join Disney’s film adaptation of Into the Woods, Stephen Sondheim’s 1986 musical that borrows characters from classic Grimm fairy tales while following a baker and his wife as they venture into the woods to find the witch who put a spell on them. Meryl Streep will reportedly play the evil witch, a character originated on Broadway by Bernadette Peters, and Depp would play the baker. Rob Marshall (Chicago) is set to direct the project, and held a script reading in October 2012 with Anna Kendrick reading the role of Cinderella, Patrick Wilson as her Prince, and Megan Hilty as Lucinda, among others. But don’t get too excited — participating in a script reading doesn’t necessarily mean any of them are up for the roles. [Variety]
• Jon Favreau (Iron Man) is going back to his indie roots. He’s currently in talks to secure the financing that would allow him to write, direct and star in Chef, a comedy about a chef in Los Angeles. Favreau became known for writing and starring in 1996’s Swingers, but in the 2000s he transitioned into directing (and sometimes acting in) big budget productions such as Elf, Iron Man and its sequel, and Cowboys & Aliens. [Variety]
• Key and Peele favorite Keegan Michael Key might be joining Jake Johnson (New Girl) and Damon Wayans, Jr. (Happy Endings) in the comedy Let’s Be Cops. Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door), will direct the film, which he also wrote, about two guys who decide it’ll be fun to impersonate police officers. [The Wrap]
• Would you want to relive the worst day of your life? Well, for some reason the lead character in Unmasked does, and he joins a dangerous club in order to do so. That part has yet to be cast, but Christina Ricci (Speed Racer) is in talks to join the independent feature from first time writer Peter Scott Vicaire. It will be directed by Geoffrey Sax (White Noise). Ricci can be heard in the upcoming Smurfs 2 (out July 31) where she voices the part of Vexy. [THR]
One of the tricky bargains that actors have to make when they choose to play a living person in a film, is that they’ll be forever inextricably linked to that figure. Meryl Streep won an Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the 2011 film The Iron Lady, and on news of her passing issued a heartfelt statement expressing her complicated admiration for the former Prime Minister.
Streep did not shy away from the fact that Thatcher was a divisive figure, noting her controversial policies. But the legendary actress also was unafraid to praise Thatcher’s “grit” and her important place in history. Streep wrote: “To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable.”
Read the statement in full below.
Meryl Streep wants you to stop and smell the roses with mesmerizing 'Wings of Life' doc -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Spring is in the air, and Meryl Streep would like to tell you about the birds and the bees.
The three-time Oscar winner 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.
It’s the perfect project for Streep, especially when you hear the Adaptation star wax poetic about an ingenious orchid. She gives voice to the planet’s flowers, to whom “beauty is our strategy” to invite animals and insects for a transaction that perpetuates both species.
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. In an exclusive clip from the documentary, which becomes available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital and On Demand on April 16 — just in time for Earth Day — a hummingbird’s task is visually deciphered into a divine aerial ballet. Watch the clip — followed by the trailer — below. READ FULL STORY
How did the producers manage to keep the First Lady’s involvement in the ceremony a secret? Why didn’t Meryl Streep open the envelope for best actor? Did Host Seth MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth actually know the identity of the losers before they wrote that snarky ode to them? We asked Director Don Mischer to answer some of our burning questions about Sunday’s telecast of the Academy Awards.
When did they book Michelle Obama to reveal the Best Picture winner? “That happened about two weeks ago and we kept it all a secret,” Mischer told EW. “There were just a few of us who knew. We had a code name for it… Operation Florence. Nobody on our crew knew until Sunday afternoon before we went on the air.” READ FULL STORY
No surprise here, but now it’s official. Last year’s acting winners Meryl Streep, Jean Dujardin, Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer will present at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.
“We are honored to have Meryl, Octavia, Christopher and Jean, last year’s Oscar winners in each of the acting categories, return to the Oscar stage,” said Oscar show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron in a statement.
This isn’t the only bit of presenter news lately: Earlier, Mark Wahlberg confirmed he would be presenting alongside the animated bear, Ted.
The Academy Awards, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, air Feb. 24.
Mark Wahlberg and CGI costar Ted to present at the Oscars
Seth MacFarlane serves up a martini for James Bond in Oscars promo
Oscars luncheon on-the-scene: Jennifer Lawrence, Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, and more
Latest Videos in Movies
- 'Sons of Anarchy' wraps series finale, team shares pics from set
- 31 scariest movies of all time: Chris Nashawaty's picks
- 17 creepiest TV shows
- 'How to Get Away With Murder': Talk about 'Freakin' Whack-a-Mole' surprises
- 'Scandal'; 'Vampire Diaries'; 'Reign'; more TV recaps
- 'Big Bang Theory'; 'Project Runway All Stars'; 'Graceland'; more TV recaps
- 'Modern Family' Halloween: Welcome to AwesomeLand
- Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ewan McGregor in 'The Real Thing': EW stage review
- 'Fifty Shades of Grey' star joins Kevin Williamson's CBS drama pilot
- Get an exclusive first look at 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies'
- Lily Rabe to appear on 'American Horror Story: Freak Show,' reprise 'Asylum' role
- Videogame face-off: 'FIFA 10' vs. 'NBA2K10'
- Children of the Revolution: An exclusive first look at 'Terminator: Genisys'