Thursday, September 30, 2010

Streep and Roberts for "August: Osage County"

The news, which isn't actual news yet so much as 'in talks' talking-points (the bulk of online movie articles), is this: Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts will take the plum Oscar bait roles of the pill-popping abusive matriarch Violet and eldest control-freak daughter Barbara in August: Osage County. The new (to feature directing) John Wells will sit in the director's chair instead of Mike Nichols as previously rumored.  It seems quite risky to give a project this complex and fraught with ways in which it could go wrong to a newbie but maybe his debut film (The Company Men) is unexpectedly rich?


 One of the most popular posts in the history of The Film Experience was our discussion of the casting of this genius actress-heavy play. It's THE stage-to-screen project to watch for any actressexual out there since the cast that matters is all female and the roles, to a one, are juicy with extra pulp. (The supporting female roles could put Oscars on shelves, too.)This news, if it does become actual news, is a weird sort of exciting/disappointing.

As many of you have gleaned I am something of an über Streep fan but I think she's wrong for this part. Streep has a glorious earthy warmth as a performer and Violet needs the opposite. Streep's most successful "cold" performances were in A Cry in the Dark (which came during the amazing chameleon years) and The Devil Wears Prada (see previous post) which came during her comedic ascendance. To do justice to Violet, she'd need to be as good as she was in both pictures... simultaneously. And sometimes when Streep goes cold (Doubt, The Manchurian Candidate) she pushes too much. Violet is more complicated than either the Prada or Cry roles and requires both jagged comic steel and dormant volcanic drama ... and both need to be channelled through a druggy fog for the entire film. In short: it's an A+ dream role, better than many whole Best Actress rosters combined.

I like Julia Roberts.

If Julia works as hard for August as she did for Erin Brockovich or Closer than she might absolutely nail the role of exhausted controlling Barbara. But how often does Julia work as hard as she does in those two movies? When you're a massive star with more innate charisma than most performers can muster over the entirety of a career, coasting is an ever present danger. If she coasts at all, you'll lose the electricity of the play. The play just crackles with the stuff. Any loss of that and you could have a disaster on your hands.

Streep is such a consummate performer that, whether miscast or not, many people will demand she win a third Oscar because she will be so spectacularly watchable in the end. Even if it's not quite what the movie needs. (We'll see. I can't say how badly I hope to be wrong.)

I watched the 3 hour play from the edge of my seat and loved-loved-loved. I will anxiously await the movie. But both casting decisions feel like the kind anyone could and would make without actually knowing anything about the play, the roles, the tone or what kind of movie it would need to be to be a great one. It reeks of corporate laziness. They are rather inarguably the most famous senior citizen actress and the most famous middle age actress; "STREEP | ROBERTS" will look great on a marquee. But it's sad to cast source material this magnificent with no regard for the actual source material, and all eyes towards some imaginary marquee.

Movies should come first, not their ad campaigns.
*

64 comments:

IslandLiberal said...

Wells' "The Company Men" has gotten great reviews; but even if this was his first, he's a TV writer/director/producer of considerable skill.

Dame James said...

I'm not familiar with the play, but I'm worried about Streep & Roberts with the untested director. When you have two MEGA stars like Meryl & Julia, especially in what sounds like a high-strung, intense work such as this, you need a director who will be able reign those two in. And if you have a second-timer like Wells, is he really gonna have the balls to say to Meryl motherfucking Streep, "Um, Meryl, that's not exactly what I want. Can you try it this way?" If he loses control of those two women, the whole movie could be a disaster.

Sam Brooks said...

I agree that they probably should've looked elsewhere to find actresses more suited to the roles; I would've loved to see Close or Spacek or Huston in this role, but I think they went for who would get people into the cinemas. And in those age groups, those actresses are Streep and Roberts.

I don't know how they'll do in the roles, but if they're pushed we could be looking at career heights for both of them.

I saw the play only last week in a local production (I live in NZ) and it was the only play that made me cry. That last act devastated me.

I'm wondering about the budget of this thing because those actresses cannot be cheap. Is this another Nine god forbid?

Scott said...

Awful casting. Awful awful awful. Streep in particular makes no sense, but Roberts isn't really on target either. It's an amazing play, and a wonderful opportunity for a great work of art. Maybe this could still be that - but it'll be quite different from the play.

ShoNuff Lives said...

another adventure in miscasting for box office. meryl isn't right at all for violet (ellen burstyn would kill, anjelica huston would be fantastic). and julia has none of the pathos barbara requires. none. she's an excellent actress, but always plays to the audience. holly hunter was made for this role, and laura linney could nail it cold.

brandz said...

Let me start off by saying I'm a huge, huge Meryl Streep fan, rather tepid about Julia Roberts. I saw this play a few months ago in Boston with Estelle Parsons in the lead role. Overall, the thought the paly was over-wrought. I'm hoping with a strong cast, the film version will be better. I do worry about a first-time (weak, ineffective?) director at the helm with two huge talents and personalities. If anyone can pull it off it's Streep. I thought she was super great in Cry In The Dark and just very good in Doubt. I really can't think of anyone better (my bias) in the lead role. It seems to me Ms. Streep has many, many projects currently lined up. So I'll believe it when I see it.

Leehee said...

UGH - how so very Hollywood, and so very disappointing. I love, love, love the play (saw the original cast twice) and was SO looking forward to the movie but...As much as I like both actresses (Streep more than Roberts, of course), they are both so very wrong for their parts. But, they will get butts into those seats, and that's what producers think about nowadays. Gone are the days when one could at least dream of getting the original cast on the screen, or at least some of them. I would KILL for Amy Morton to play the role she created on stage so brilliantly.

UGH.

NATHANIEL R said...

the sad thing about casting for box office is that it negates the possibility of other people ever becoming bankable... and sometimes if a work is great you don't need bankable people at all you just need people who are magic in the roles

(i htink AMERICAN BEAUTY is a really good example of this. Bening & Spacey were not "bankable" but people loved them in the roles and the movie did very very well)


Plus it doesn't necessarily insure bank (see NINE)

Terence said...

I too was initially excited but its sort of dwindled down now.

I actually like the casting of Julia Roberts but I would have loved to see Close or (my fav) Sally Field take on the role of Violet.

What I think will make or brake this is the director. I would have loved to see someone who came from or has directed theater pieces taking over this (a la Kazan or Nichols).

Jason H. said...

"Movies should come first, not their ad campaigns."

Never have I heard a more true statement.

Leehee said...

Oh and I forgot to mention - to go from Mike Nichols to a first time director?? Huh? You betcha they need popular actresses in order to sell this!

Derek said...

I pretty much agree with you 100%, Nathaniel, on every count. I love that you're able to find optimism in everything. That being said, I think that this casting is not necessarily disastrous, but could definitely be a lot more inspired (and you know I'm a Streep fanatic as well).

This play is ridiculously amazing, and while I still don't know exactly who I'd pick for Violet, the role of Barbara is like a dream compilation of everything that Laura Linney excels at. She would absolutely, without a doubt, be the person I'd love to see play this role, even if it is a bit typecasting for her.

But in the spirit of optimism, I hope for the best.

Robert said...

I'm a little iffy about this, even though I am a HUGE lover of Meryl and Julia is fine. I just feel like it's too predictable! But you never do know.

Danielle said...

Nataniel, I thought this might make you happy - Baz Luhrmann is working on two projects... one is The Great Gatsby, but the other is a.. musical!!!

Danielle said...

oops, sorry, here is the link: http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2010/09/30/baz-luhrmann-great-gatsby-vs-mysterious-musical-project/

Julian Stark said...

I haven't seen the play (unfortunately, I live nowhere near NYC), but I wouldn't be surprised to see both Streep and Roberts take on the roles. It feels like locked Oscar nominations already... unless this director messes it up, of course...

Alex said...

Well, I knew Susan Sarandon and Laura Linney were pipe dreams. Streep and Roberts are just so uninteresting. It's hard to believe that a project with those names doesn't have Nichols on board as well. He ADORES both them.

Arkaan said...

Meh. Tell me in what universe Streep and Roberts are a believable mother-daughter duo and I'll tell you a universe that has LSD for mother's milk.

/3rtfu11 said...

Hollywood casting is so boring. Inspired alternate casting: Sigourney Weaver and Mary-Louise Parker….I’m quite pleased with myself. Get another director….Darren Aronofsky he’s good with women.

/3rtfu11 said...

Hollywood casting is so boring. Inspired alternate casting: Sigourney Weaver and Mary-Louise Parker….I’m quite pleased with myself. Get another director….Darren Aronofsky he’s good with women.

Ryan T. said...

Well I haven't seen the play, so I'll react to this news just like this...

OMG Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep will be in a movie. Together. Brain. Exploding. Too. Epic. Want. Now.

Whew, thank goodness I got that out of my system.

JoFo said...

The Original cast JUST finished touring in Sydney and I saw it twice. I love love love love loved it. In a dream world that original cast would be also in the film. I just cant see anyone playing Barbara as well as Amy Morton.

I just cant see Roberts becoming the drunken, sloppy, tragic, hysterical mess in the third act.

oh and Marcia Gay Harden for Maddie Fae!

Anonymous said...

@/3rtfu11 (and others):

While I understand the calls for different actresses, I think it's pretty unfair to be criticizing a director whose work you've presumably never seen. Sure Aronofsky and Nichols are great, but how are new great directors supposed to come around if they never get good material to film?

Billy said...

Funny - Casting Julia Roberts as Barbara doesn't bother me at all...I can see it.

The real issue here is Streep ; I simply do not buy here in the role.

I adore Streep but this one isn't for her.

Billy said...

JoFo has it nailed - Marcia Gay Harden. Absolutely.

gabrieloak said...

Roberts was wrong for Closer and she's wrong for August. The role needs a better actress, someone as good as Streep. Roberts isn't that person.

Aaron said...

"dormant volcanic drama"??? Sorry, I don't really understand this statement. It doesn't make much sense to me. I've seen the play, and for the most part there's nothing dormant about it. All the bottled up anxiety and emotions are in full, volcanic action. There's so many scenes of unabashed emotional outbursts, that it almost makes the viewer uncomfortable to be sitting in the room...

...as for the casting, I'm all for Julia Roberts. Sue me. I actually think this role is tailor made for her. Barbara is a wise-crack, unforgiving smart ass...which is kind of how I see Julia Roberts (and I love her for it!) And I'm sorry, I detest Laura Linney with a passion. I find her incredibly affected in all her performances and think she's one of the most overrated actresses in the past twenty years. Sorry!

...and I don't really understand all the reservations for Meryl Streep. I know she's not infallible or anything, but my god you're talking about one of the greatest film actresses of all time...you know she's always deeply prepared and committed, and will give it all she has. Yes, I can see how Glenn Close or Anjelica Huston would've been better choices (although I think Huston is a bit too young). Spacek would've been awful. She's too timid and reserved for this apart, IMO.

I'm not familiar with Wells's work, but I'm willing to give him a chance...in fact, I think it's quite exciting to have a relative newbie directing it and see what he brings to it (hey, if Nichols's film debut can be an acclaimed broadway play, why can't the other guy give it a shot)

So, I'm still very excited about this. God of Carnage and August: Osage County in the works? I'm in heaven...I'll only start to get worried if they somehow ending up casting Cameron Diaz and Julia Stiles as the two younger sisters...YIKES!

Joe said...

I agree with others who noted that Streep is best when she has a strong director willing to stand up to her or if she has a director that she gets along with in a comedy. My biggest problem with Doubt is that Shanley let her do anything.

But, wells is a veteran director and has worked with some big names on television - Clooney, Sheen - so I suspect he can handle them (or I hope).

However, while I can actually understand your trepeditation about Streep I feel like Julia brings her A-game to every film she is in. While not all of her films may be stellar I don't feel that she has ever been anything less than aggressive and amazing in all of them. I also don't think she would really take a role she isn't right for.

With that being said, who would you have cast Nathaniel? Just curious as they are difficult roles, but I imagine you had other (less "bankable") actresses in mind.

okinawaassault said...

I think I either talked about people waiting for Meryl to get her third Oscar here. I trust her more than I trust Julia.

And I guess the British cast directed by Mike Leigh is in the ashes now.

Also, can Tommy Lee Jones or someone less obvious be Beverly or Charlie, please?

cal roth said...

I don't get the reservations, too, but that's maybe because I think Streep is always cold and even her earthy warmth is calculated, too.

Greatly and precisely calculated work, like only a brilliant and skilled actress can do.

Her warmth is of a different kind of the warmth of Winslet's, for example, that is absolutely raw.

So, being cold is not a problem. Her style of acting only can do half of the job (I don't think she pushed too much in Doubt at all).

MRRIPLEY said...

I also think streep pushed to hard in doubt,main reason i did not nominate her was her last scene it rang untrue for me and so did various points of her performance in the film yet in some scenes she was riveting as for the manchurian candidate again in some parts off key yet in some parts riveting.

she is the consumate professional and i have no doubt she has seen the paly and will take elements of that and mix them with her own play on the character and we will all have to see what she gives us another doubt or a new creation like miranda.

let's face it guys thet were never going to go with close or huston after all they need to make money and to get finance and others to come on board they need a roberts or a streep not a hershey or linney,hopefully with the main 2 roles going to big stars they can look at character actresses like frances mcdormand and marcia gay hareden to fill out the supporting roles i think that is were the interest will lie.

Yavor said...

how can Anjelica Houston be too young for this? She's only 2 years younger than Meryl and doesn't look younger than Meryl for sure!

I'm among the people who are OK with Meryl in this, she always prepares well enough for her films and tries to explore new ground.

Yet she's got: Bella Luna, Mommy and Me, The Iron lady and Great Hope Springs all attached to her name, she surely won't do all of them; I think she'll be choosy, and whichever project she decides not to do will be a great opportunity for some other actress :-)

NATHANIEL R said...

AARON -- my metaphor got a little mixed up there i admit. I mean that there is definitely volcanic drama... but that it's always threatening to explode (thus the dormant comment) but i don't actually think the play is consisently explosive. one of the things i loved most about it was it's total build to that amazing dinner scene (which i REALLY worry about on film. it's the high point of the play but i can see a film staging it in very boring series of close ups of each character reacting to each other. zzzz and missing the group explosiveness.

EVERYONE -- it's a little depressing to read the constant "they have to cast this way!" rationalization. I'm sure this is what happens in Hollywood meetings. But FACT: Many hit films have not had bankable stars in them and many films with big stars have flopped. "Bankability" is only one piece of a movie puzzle. Sometimes you can load up with big stars and they are wrong for the parts and you have a spectacular disaster see tom hanks and co. in "bonfire of the vanities" and many other examples.

and my feeling is with an ensemble dramedy like this, you're DEAD if you don't have electricity in the actual film and great casting and great reviews. Bankability only wins you an opening weekend (and not a guaranteed one at that).

i guess i object to the notion that famous people are totally unbankable unless they are blockbuster titans (like streep & roberts).

for example: i know that Bening and Moore aren't "bankable" in that sense but don't you think they helped sell tickets to THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT? Yes, it's an indie... but that's half the gross of THE HOURS which had two much more "bankable" actresses and the added bonus of awards season hoopla to sell it.

to make a long story short -- too late -- i think bankability is overrated as a concept. Especially when the material is strong.

Anonymous said...

I would have to say that we will have to wait for the trailer to be released at least for us to have a peek at Meryl's perf.

She surprised everyone with her Prada perf - not that that wasn't expected of her. But still, we all went out of the theater craving for more of Meryl's perf.

Leehee said...

Nathaniel - i just thought of INSPIRED casting for Violet (that will never happen) - Charlotte Rampling!!!

Anonymous said...

"Violet is more complicated than either the Prada or Cry roles and requires both jagged comic steel and dormant volcanic drama ... and both need to be channelled through a druggy fog for the entire film."

You are absolutely right on this Nathaniel ... and only Meryl could do it perfectly ... with a precise direction. That is why my fears are about Wells -who's kind of a rookie- maybe a talented one but still a rookie.

Kim said...

Ugh. Amy Morton, the original Barbara, is on my Board at work, and she told me a year ago on an elevator ride that Julia was circling her role for the film. I had hoped it wouldn't be true. I always thought it should be a role for Laura Linney. I still think Sissy Spacek needs to be in this in some capacity...

And I totally agree about Wells...I hope he is able to reign these ladies in.

Richter Scale said...

In case you're wondering, John Wells worked on ER for a good chunk of its run, and one episode he directed was the "Breakfast Club" type episode "Secrets and Lies", which is one of my favorite episodes in that season (and he's done plenty of the more ambitious episodes in that show). He gets really good performances out of actors in his episodes, so I think he can pull it off. Having said that, I've said many times that as amazing as Meryl is, she is not right for every single role ever written (I did not buy her in Doubt, and she looked ridiculous in Mamma Mia), and Julia Roberts does not have the gravitas necessary to handle a role like Barbara (I saw the play last April in Philadelphia, it was amazing!!!) Why not cast Estelle Parsons? She's an Academy-Award-winning actress who hasn't been in film for a long time, this could be a great comeback role for her (and she nails it). Although Sally Field also seems like an amazing choice, given how she's worked with John Wells before (she was Abby's mom on ER) and Laura Linney, as someone suggested, would nail this. I feel this would be more suitable as an arthouse project rather than a blockbuster though.

James T said...

I have to say I'm a "yes" re: the news.

I haven't seen tha play but I really wanted Meryl to get this part so she can:

1) give a really great performance
2) win her third Oscar

Yes, she might be wrong for it (theoretically) and/or she might just not deliver. That's always a possibility. But I wanted her to get the chance so she can at least try!

And if Roberts was indeed interested for a while, it probably means she wants to give it her best. And her best is quite good.

Fingers crossed.

BillBill said...

The play is one of the best works of fiction I've ever read. Ever. Streep and Roberts are wonderful actresses, and I hope they do wonders with Violet and Barbara, who are both such amazing characters that it would be hard to really screw up. But could the casting have been more imaginative than that? Absolutely. Grace Zabreskie, Sissy Spacek, Celia Weston, Patricia Clarkson, Laura Linney, Cate Blanchett, Robin Wright, etc., should have been the names thrown in the ring for these roles. And you know that Deanna Dunagan and Amy Morton were never given a moment's thought either. But it's about dollars and financing, so I can live with the allowances made. But John Wells? "ER" John Wells? No Mike Nichols? I wonder why that fell through. Oh well. Adore the play, hoping for the best with the film.

Fiona Flint said...

To play devil's advocate, the last role that Julia Roberts actively pursued (meaning that she wanted the role, not that someone asked her to do it as was the case with Duplicity, Charlie Wilson's War, Eat Pray Love) was in Erin Brockovich - which is one of my favorite performances of the decade. Was she the best that year? Bjork might have been slightly better, but still Roberts was quite fantastic.

If she really WANTS this role as has been long rumored, I think she will work her ass off for it, which is the only way that she's going to be able to nail the role of Barbara and do it justice. When she isn't lazy (and Julia does coast on charisma) she can be pretty damn great.

Fernando Moss said...

I've never seen the play, but for what I've heard I think I would have love to see Sigourney Weaver in the role of Violet or maybe Shirley MacLaine... is Shirley too old to play her?

I think I like the idea of Julia Roberts...

John said...

Does Diane Keaton's name ever get mentioned for these type things?

troyhopper said...

The idea of Julia Roberts's involvement intrigues me much more than that of Meryl Streep, though she's typically aces in my book. I'm always fascinated to see actors challenge themselves beyond the publics perception of them and/or their abilities, and while we expect greatness from Meryl -- her suitability for a role notwithstanding -- we generally don't from Julia, at least not outside her niche.

Are there more interesting choices available who are just as or more capable and well-suited? Of course, but we get what we get.

Rick said...

I have seen the play, and let's face it, it is quite a downer ... If big "star" names are not in the movie, then NO ONE will go and see it!!!! That has been proven again and again.

I loved the play and I feel that Streep would actually knock the Barbara role out of the ball park ... yet I feel she will do excellently in the Violet role.

Roberts, I am not so sure of... Linney would be my choice.

I, too, would like to see Nichols, and not a newbie behind the helm.

We'll see....

Jeff said...

Hopefully they'll edit down the plot which felt like a cheesy soap opera (which maybe was the point, but it just didn't work for me). I had high expectations for this when I saw the tour last year, but was seriously disappointed. Maybe a film version can change my mind, but I didn't get the praise heaped on this play one bit.

billybil said...

I look forward to seeing Meryl do a great role - I look forward to seeing what she'll bring to it. It's funny reading about how she's getting this part because she'll put butts in the theatre seats. She's a 60 year-old-actress, for God's sakes. How many other actresses that age would get this sort of crap? She's earned first choice on EVERY fucking role in her age range and some outside of it. No matter what she does, it will be fascinating, intelligent, powerful shit and it will be entertaining. Oh please - Glenn Close - oh please...

And Julia Roberts will be just as fascinating. I can't wait to see her in such a dramatic piece - probably the most dramatic environment of her screen career to date. And she is right for the role and be extremely entertaining.

These are Goddesses who have earned the right to these parts. I know that's what you're complaining about in some ways - but, hell, when you have worked as hard and as long as these women have - and achieved so much success and appeal - I say give it to them first and celebrate what they do.

Glenn Close...oh please!!!

And, to be perfectly honest, Julia Roberts is a MUCH MORE INTERESTING choice than Laura Linney. Talk about predictable casting.

And Glenn Close or Anjelica Huston? Again, predictable (and you're going to write that it's because they're so right for the parts!). Well, once again and for the last time, oh please....

NATHANIEL R said...

billybil -- i'd prefer Meryl to Glenn in this role (i think Glenn would make it too cartoonish... it's too close to what she does) so i'm not sure what your point is.

i would never ever claim Meryl Streep hasn't earned her status. I love her. I just think the public and Hollywood and casting directors have collective amnesia about other women who have also earned our collective respect and love.

i guess my point is this: it's GREAT that Meryl Streep is bankable at 60. But we'll never have a film culture that's good for actresses if we only care about one woman who is over 60. This is not a situation that is game-changing. It's just an aberration if you get me.

a beautiful abberation but i'd prefer a film culture where people cared about more than just one actress.

billybil said...

It is, indeed, a sort of catch 22 - but I believe the real problem is that more great scripts need to be written with great roles for women over 60 and more producers need to give them a chance to find an audience.

Beyond that - and I mean this quite sincerely, I can't think of any other actress in Meryl's age group who has earned as much collective respect and love as she has so she rightfully gets the juicest parts. I am totally OK with this, as predictible as it may be. Hell I'm still praying that they make SUNSET BLVD, the musical, SOON and cast Meryl despite Glenn's great reviews. (I saw Close in it and I'd still rather see Streep!)

This is probably where we differ the most, Nate - I just can't care about any of the other actresses as much as I care about Meryl because Meryl is beyond normal - she is a true, bonafide goddess. Quite frankly I feel NO other actress has ever been quite as unique and blessed as Meryl (actually, in her own way Elizabeth Taylor is an equal goddess but of a different sort - Taylor's beauty was as other-wordly as Streep's talent). So, for me, if you're casting the best role written in the past 10 years (or more) for a "mature" woman, then Streep should get it.

As for my Glenn Close comments - they were more for the other commenters than for you.

I always love your imagination and adoration regarding actresses but I'm such an obvious fanatic about Streep that I can get a little boring too.

So, by all means, let's write and produce more great pictures for women of all ages so that the #2, #3, #4 and #5 most talented and fascinating actresses can all get plum roles (because Streep will already be busy working on the most succulent one).

I suspect you'd agree that would be the best answer to both our wishes. Short of that, I'm perfectly fine if Meryl get's first choice - always.

Aaron said...

I also bet $50 that Kathy Bates gets the role of Mattie Faye (is that the character's name?...regardless, Violet's sister in the movie)...I think she would be great for it.

/3rtfu11 said...

Since Hollywood is going obvious….may I suggest Kathy Bates for the fat female character. Her Best Actress win has her beating Streep, Roberts and film experience’s pet Anjelica Huston.

NATHANIEL R said...

aaron & 3rtfull -- if they're going this obvious, then yes. it'll undoubtedly be Kathy Bates yes. zzzzzz.

i'd kill to see Kathleen Turner or Dianne Wiest get a crack at Mattie Fae. Or Dianne Ladd. Or... so many interesting ways that could go. but yeah. if they're not using imagination, fo' sure it'll be Bates.

BillyBil -- well, that's where we part ways. I'm not fine with Meryl ALWAYS getting first choice. Consider how much i love Michelle PFeiffer and knwo this: I'd hate it if she got every part too. I don't like to eat the same meal every night of the week and I don't want to see the same actress in every A list project. variety is the spice of life!

Alex said...

Kathy Bates and Dianne Wiest are too old to be playing Meryl's younger sister. I agree she'd be the obvious choice if they were casting an age-appropriate actress for Violet, so Kathleen Turner is now pretty much the obvious choice.

Anonymous said...

Streep will be brillant as Violet and knock it out of the park. She is the perfect actress to play this part. Nate's reservations are just bullshit...

NATHANIEL R said...

why is it always the anonymous people ? :)

must be oscar season starting again.

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CaribMamacita said...

Nathaniel, a question for you since you have seen the play; what is the character of Barbara like (how would you describe her) and would Meryl and Julia be co-leads or is one role more supporting than the other?

I read that Julia Roberts spoke to Amy Morton over a year ago about the play. Apparently Roberts saw the film 3 times and has been chasing the part since 2008.

Anonymous said...

Yes,I said it a year ago,,,,consider KATHLEEN TURNER for Mattie Fae!

Apparently Mary Louise Parke, Natalie Portman will play the other daughters and Jack Nicholson and Phillip Hoffman are in as well...rumor has it.

Don't worry about Streep. She hardly ever disappoints and is not always grand but never less than great.

Roberts was rumored back then also when Mike Nichols was in talks. No surprise there.

Given the daughters casted are all brunettes, I guess it is safe to assume they will age Streep up with a dark wig? lol

NATHANIEL R said...

anon -- is this the new rumor? This movie is sounding worse and worse.

as for streep never being less than great i beg to differ. Like all mega-talented actors she is capable of misstepping. In some ways the greats are worse when they're off because part of their greatness is their confidence. But when someone is confident about something that's not going well it can be ... strange to watch.

Ian said...

So Jacko's playing the patriarch, and Hoffman's playing the perv fiancé? Or Barbara's husband? I can go either there I think. But with Hoffman, just like in "Doubt," he'll play out his guilt squarely on his sleeve, and it shouldn't be that obvious for either character at first. Why not give someone like Kevin Bacon a chance, or maybe John Slattery or Woody Harrelson? (The guys should get a little bit of ink around here too).

Mary-Louise Parker would be the middle sister and Natalie Portman the youngest sister, correct? Karen is much older than Portman is, so that's kind of troubling. They'll need to go younger for Steve then. Parker can make a good Ivy. Kathy Bates pretty much has Mattie Fae written all over her. Would love to see that role go to Celia Weston instead, even if she is around the same age as Meryl.

Now for Meryl and Julia. I don't mind either in those roles separately, but the two together is kind of jarring. I can't picture them as mother and daughter at all. Their age disparity isn't that much, and their star power together, yikes, it'll be hard not to think JULIA and MERYL all through seeing that. If it's all about money, then so be it, but there are so many other choices out there. Most of them have already been named (and yes, Glenn Close would have made a killer Violet too, just as much as Sissy Spacek or Sally Field), but what's done is done. It's not like they can't deliver with these roles, but some others being given the chance to TRY would have been nice too. This play is one of the most brilliant pieces of fiction I've read in a long time. I can't wait to see this adaptation with pretty much any capable cast and director (iffy on John Wells though).

Anonymous said...

Nate, I know you hate her but Renne Zeee needs a comeback role and it is Barbara! She's a fine actress, is bankable (or was, maybe not Julia Roberts bankable but more bankable than Laura Linney for exmaple), was great with La Streep in One True Thing. I'm wishing for Renne

Keegan

Anonymous said...

Nate, I know you hate her but Renne Zeee needs a comeback role and it is Barbara! She's a fine actress, is bankable (or was, maybe not Julia Roberts bankable but more bankable than Laura Linney for exmaple), was great with La Streep in One True Thing. I'm wishing for Renne

Keegan

Anonymous said...

Nate, I know you hate her but Renne Zeee needs a comeback role and it is Barbara! She's a fine actress, is bankable (or was, maybe not Julia Roberts bankable but more bankable than Laura Linney for exmaple), was great with La Streep in One True Thing. I'm wishing for Renne

Keegan

Leigh said...

So Julia, Mary-Louise and Natalie as sisters? I could see that.

Never having seen the play (im in Australia - yes you have readers here Nate!!! - and its only been to Sydney)but from what i've read on here it does seem that they are casting younger then the stage. So therefore i dont see a problem with NatPort playing Karen.

Do you think this is why she turned down Gravity?