Thursday, June 24, 2010

Great Hope Springs Tailspin

Wasn't it just yesterday in a comment thread when someone mentioned Meryl Streep & Jeff Bridges not having worked together. To which I was all "hey, they're the same age but they never let actresses play romantically opposite actors the same age!" Funny how these things pop up in the internet ether and the next thing you know, we all seem like prophets.

The Bridges & The Gummers
Jeff & Meryl know a little something about longterm coupling

But I'm burying the lead... or at least muddying it. Okay. As you may have heard Streep & Bridges are close to signing for a marital drama called Great Hope Springs about a couple who've been together for decades having an intense weekend therapy session that will decide the fate of their marriage.

I always argue with myself about movies in development. To wit:

Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges working together = Probably gah!some and reason enough to be very excited.

But...

Another marital drama for Jeff with a blonde lovely (see also: The Door in the Floor) and it's not Michelle Pfeiffer again??? Only La Pfeiffer would make me sad about a Streep/Bridges pairing. I just don't get what the problem is with getting The Fabulous Baker Boys onscreen together again?

<-- Jeff @ Michelle's star ceremony in 2007

From all reports ever shared orally, written on paper, or otherwise recorded in the history of the existence of the world and its movies, Jeff and 'chelle are as super fond of each other offscreen as they are amazing together onscreen, which is to say: very very very fond of each other. How did Pfeiffer tagging along on his Oscar campaign (It wasn't just Oscar night. There was also Palm Springs) go unnoticed by everyone in world who might be involved in movie industry dealings that might lead to them reuniting, fictionally speaking.

But, okay. What's that?

Oh yes, the Great Hope Springs director is Jessie Nelson, the woman who made I Am Sam, and we don't care for that movie so much.We thank it for bringing us wee Dakota Fanning (nice to meet'cha!) but otherwise we have very little time for it even though we thought Pfeiffer was sort of quite good in a weird/thankless/unlikeable way. So maybe it's best that she not repeat that situation.


If that movie is indication, which it might not be since it was a first film, Great Hope won't be subtle and that might be bad for the material since marital dramas that are too histrionic are really hard to sit through and often titled We Don't Live Here Anymore or Revolutionary Road.

Plus, if we're being honest we all know that Streep is a big ham -- a big ham we love, don't forget. (More soon on the Streep series. I'm just a few days behind.) So if a director WANTS big attention grabbing acting and doesn't want her to save some for the next movie, you'll get it all. But therein lies the rub. You can't say that you weren't getting it all with Sean Penn in I Am Sam even as you wanted to give at least half of it back.


Finally, if Streep is doing a marital drama, the movie has a big old cloud hanging over its head and that cloud's last name is Kramer. As in Kramer Vs. Kramer. Because, how you gonna measure up Great Hope Springs? Tread carefully.

The third crucial role of the psychiatrist is not yet cast. Philip Seymour Hoffman had to pull out of the project to ruin P.T. Anderson's next masterpiece (argh and also: calm down if that sentence made you angry) so maybe somebody less ubiquitous but able to keep up with Jeff & Meryl is in order. Might I suggest David Strathairn? Doesn't he deserve better after Good Night, and Good Luck.? Couldn't he have a go?

I'm trying to stop jabbering away.

I'm in a tailspin... HELP. Talk to me.
*

30 comments:

Terence said...

I like the thought of them working together...but it kinda screams OSCAR to me. As in they want it to contend for awards.

As far as the acting, doesn't the academy like overacting?

But I digress, I think the key to this film will be who they cast as the psychologist. Bickering couples are made more watchable when there is someone sane we can latch onto.

Volvagia said...

Straithairn may not be the age or sensibility they're looking for. What about Sam Rockwell?

W.R. said...

Sounds like an exciting pairing. Hope this one actually gets made. Has Jeff Bridges ever worked with Susan Sarandon, another sexy sixty-something?

Strathairn is a great suggestion but, for the psychiatrist role, I wouldn't mind seeing either Campbell Scott or David Morse score the role. If they go the ubiquitous route they could always get Christopher Walken.

The Man Behind The Curtain said...

Terence: I agree with you on the key being the psychiatrist. Remember Judd Hirsch in Ordinary People? His performance strengthened Timothy Hutton's, and as a result what could have been dull was electrifying.

I also like the idea of Strathairn, but I also really like W.R.'s suggestion of David Morse. Or any great character actor, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

OMG! OMG! OMG! Meryl's returning sooner than I thought!

The Pretentious Know it All said...

You don't know that Philip Seymour Hoffman's going to ruin the new Paul Thomas Anderson's new movie. He was pretty good in Magnolia and he didn't ruin Boogie Nights insomuch as he wasn't in the movie long enough to ruin it. However, had we had to sit through one more scene of Hoffman's mumbling, overacted Scotty, I might have pulled a "Little Bill." Incidentally, I understand there are actual fans of PSH's performance in Boogie Nights and they are welcome to come at me because he is all kinds of awful in that movie and I am not backing down from that.

ClaudeMedwenitsch said...

Why not Michelle Pfeiffer as the psychiatrist?
Ha!
;)

James T said...

When I read the news earlier I recalled the conversation here and i was like "I don't rememmber - did they know about this before starting talking about Streep-Bridges?". Really cool coincidence and if Streizand becomes an exec producer, I will be The Prophet of the century :p

I have to say that even though I like Hoffman, I totally lol'd when I read.. you know what.

Anyway, I am happy that Meryl is already attached to a project and that she will be with Bridges (though I kind of can't find any sexual or "in love" chemistry)

Anonymous said...

It seems Streep will only work with female directors at this point in her career (and most of those are all sub-par: Ephron & Meyers). She really needs a strong male or female director to nab her third Oscar. Mike Nichols, Alexander Payne, Darren Aranofsky anyone???

The Man Behind The Curtain said...

Anonymous: Payne + Streep sounds like a delicious pairing!

SoSueMe said...

I want a Meryl action comedy with Sandra Bullock...like now!

Anonymous said...

Jessie Nelson also cowrote "The Story of Us", so maybe Pfeiffer doesn't want to do another film exploring marital issues.

NATHANIEL R said...

The Pretentious -- my feeling on Hoffman, ESPECIALLY in PT Anderson movies (with Magnolia being a glorious exception) is that he overdoes it. It's like he sees Anderson's directorial grandeur and he' slike I CAN DO THAT, TOO. WITH MY ACTING but he's not Daniel Day-Lewis and a P.T. Anderson movie should be P.T. Anderson's movie. Not some supporting player's. So i worry about him in a lead role especially.

especially since he's playing a "charismatic" leader.

SoSueMe -- could you imagine?

WR -- Oooh, susan with anyone her age, you know? She even made Kevin Costner sexy.

/3rtfu11 said...

Hoffman isn’t going to ruin the movie but I don’t believe PTA needs a stock company of actors – he’s beyond or should be beyond his Altman phase with TWBB. I just wish he’d pull a Tarantino and base a whole film around an older female lead.

Anonymous said...

What about this:
http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/exclusive-mike-nichols-talks-direct-great-hope-springs-18757

The Film Junkie said...

That'd be really cool if Mike Nichols got his hands on this, but with Meryl and Jeff attached I'm already a guaranteed audience member. I've actually been on a Nichols binge for a few of days now, Wolf was on tv recently and I've watched Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Closer and The Graduate on DVD all this week. Not to mention I just got Carnal Knowledge, so maybe I'll stop after that (whew!).

NATHANIEL R said...

the film junkie - Nichols has a lot of goodies in his filmography for sure. But it's pretty uneven nonetheless.

Billabong said...

Accidentally published this under the Soderbergh topic, so here's another stab...

How bout Sissy Spacek as the psychiatrist - 3 brilliant iconic 60+ oscar winning thespians in a decent adult film. Would be heaven!

Volvagia said...

I'd love PT Anderson to do that, but (sigh) the only living actress who could follow his current career path is locked up with Burton. (He's done two movies about crazy people. A woman would have to match, if not exceed, the performances in Punch Drunk Love and TWBB. So he's focused on men. So long as he keeps doing good stuff, anything's fine with me.)

SoSueMe said...

Billabong, Sissy Spacek is a great choice for the psychiatrist...maybe I'm wrong here, but, oddly enough, Meryl hasn't really done many films with other leading actresses of her generation..like Spacek, Lange, Mirren, Sally Field...the only ones I can think of are Diane Keaton and Glenn Close.

And yes Nathaniel, Kevin Huvane needs to get on that Meryl/Sandra action comedy pronto!

Kev said...

Meryl and Jeff Bridges are only six months apart in age. I always thought that Meryl was at least five years older than Bridges. Weird and cool at the same time. I just always get such a matronly vibe from Streep whenever I see her on the red carpet that makes me think she's older than she really is.

So much haterade in one post! I loved "Revolutionary Road" (that should have been Kate Winslet's Oscar win) and "We Don't Live Here Anymore" (that could have been a Laura Dern nod if the stars aligned for her right, and Peter Krause = me there), and I'll give Jessie Nelson a break on "I Am Sam." It's heart was in the right place, even if Sean Penn went overboard with things. I do agree that Michelle Pfeiffer was thankless in that lawyer role, and why she hasn't paired up again with Bridges yet is baffing. This "Great Hope Springs" project would have been perfect for the two of them together.

Mike Nichols routinely gets gold from Meryl though, so that's good news. Mixing it up with Bridges should be good too. Nod# 17, coming up.

W.R. said...

Random Thought: If they were to change the gender of the doctor I would LOVE to see Vanessa Redgrave play it.

NATHANIEL R said...

WR -- YES. Redgrave opposite Streep. that'd be so good to see outside of the Evening context. And they didn't have any scenes together in Julia

/3rtfu11 said...

I'd love PT Anderson to do that, but (sigh) the only living actress who could follow his current career path is locked up with Burton. (He's done two movies about crazy people. A woman would have to match, if not exceed, the performances in Punch Drunk Love and TWBB. So he's focused on men. So long as he keeps doing good stuff, anything's fine with me.)

Force of Nature Actresses –
Sigourney Weaver – Responds best to well written material and strong direction
Kathy Bates – Her Dolores Claiborne performance is underrated but in all fairness it was also under directed by Taylor HACKford
Ellen Burstyn – She’s Aronofsky’s muse but certainly isn’t above working with PT Anderson
Judy Davis – Does anyone miss her signature approach to bitchiness?
Sally Field – He doesn’t seem right for her
Glenn Close – Yes
Sharon Stone – Only supporting in one of his epic ensembles if he gets around to ever making another one
Anjelica Huston – Like Stone supporting only (although I believe she’s multi-lingual) which would make her the perfect American actress to for an Almodovar (it broke my heart to read that Meryl Streep is his favorite American actress: yuck!)
Kate Winslet – Yes
Tilda – Yes
Cate – Yes

SoSueMe said...

I'm a Comment du Jour!
(this comment is to be read in the voice of Dolly Parton as Truvy in Steel Magnolias...specifically, the same exclamatory tone she uses in the scene at the tail end of the film when Spud (Truvy's husband, played by Sam Shepard) surprises Truvy with a brand new hair salon and she excitedly proclaims, "I'm a chain!")

Thanks Nathaniel!

And where is our Steel Magnolias sequel...Shirley ain't getting any younger!

Anonymous said...

Let's HOPE Nichols directs this piece. Perhaps Michael Caine, Jeremy Irons as the shrink. Could be Nichols directs Meryl to a third Oscar...

cal roth said...

I'm calm because I know PSH + PTA is pure gold.

Volvagia said...

Sigourney: There's a difference between "bitch" and "insane."
Kathy Bates: A bit fat for a PT Anderson lead.
Burstyn: Forgot about her. Maybe, but she's also almost 80.
Judy Davis: See Weaver above.
Glenn Close: If they can weasel around Damages, sure.
Sharon Stone: We are talking leads here.
Angelica Huston: Repeat above.
Kate Winslet: Could work, but American roles come across as a bit over performed as is.
Tilda Swinton: Maybe.
Cate Blanchett: Unlikely. Again, we're looking for performers that could pull off "crazy."

/3rtfu11 said...

Kathy Bates: A bit fat for a PT Anderson lead.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is fatter than her.

Volvagia said...

I concede that current plans are looking like he'll have a heavy leading man, but you never know: Disease, heart attack, that Jack Goes Boating thing being delayed as well.