Vulture: 100 most valuable stars of 2013


13. Meryl Streep

The Grand Dame

Which actress was blessed with the highest studio score on this list? It wasn’t Jennifer Lawrence, Sandra Bullock, or Angelina Jolie whom our studio executives gave their highest marks to; instead, it was 64-year-old Meryl Streep. And can you blame them? Simply put, Streep is the closest thing to a guarantee you can get in this business: If she’s the star of a movie, it’s smart, important, and bound to be a quality production. (Or it’s Mamma Mia … but hey, that was a mammoth hit, at least!) But though Streep is often referred to as the world’s greatest actress, she cleverly plays against her reputation with charming acceptance speeches in which she fumbles for her glasses and drops self-deprecating bons mots. It’s no wonder that her likability score is the same as Most Valuable Stars king Robert Downey Jr.

And she’ll need every ounce of that likability for her next role as Violet Weston, the cruel and cancerous matriarch at the center of August: Osage County. The family drama, adapted from the Pulitzer-winning play by Tracy Letts, has Streep tearing into Julia Roberts and her kin with a ferocious meanness; Streep also tears into the scenery, delivering a performance so big that some critics were moved to pan it at the film’s Toronto Film Festival debut. But even so, those same pundits took it as fact that Streep would earn an Oscar nod for the role, so beloved is she by the Academy. And Streep is pretty fun even when she’s being bad, a quality she’ll continue to mine as the Witch in the currently filming Into the Woods, where she’ll get to sing onscreen for the first time since Mamma Mia.

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Meryl Streep takes part in new music video of Paul McCartney’s, Queenie Eye (2013)


I’m told: “There were a whole host of celebrities taking part. It was a really mixed bunch. Meryl Streep and Gary Barlow were in the studio, and there was an audience on set. But the big talking point was Kate and Johnny.

Johnny Depp and Kate Moss were confirmed to be joining as well. [Article] Jude Law and Chris Pine are also in!

Also first video from on set. We get a glimpse of Meryl at the very beginning as well.

[Video]

Courtesy to coconutmilk83

TIFF 2013: ‘August: Osage County’ ending could be changed for release


[Warning: This post contains plot spoilers about the upcoming movie “August: Osage County.” While we don’t think they’ll ruin the experience, you might be mad anyway. Please read at your own risk.]

TORONTO — If you saw Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning black comedy “August: Osage County” on the stage in any of the numerous cities it played a few years back, chances are you were struck by one scene above all else. The final one, that is, in which matriarch Violet Weston is seen sitting on the stairs of the house she once ruled, abandoned by her adult daughters,  especially eldest daughter Barbara, who don’t/can’t/won’t stay and take care of a woman who, let’s face it, has made her and her sisters’ lives pretty miserable.

For those who saw the John Wells-directed (and Letts-scripted) movie at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, a different ending awaited.

Violet, played by Meryl Streep, is indeed shown toward the end of the action in the house she once ruled, calling for the Native American nurse who serves as the sort of eyes and ears of the audience. But the film doesn’t end with the play’s iconic image of Violet on the stairs. Instead, in the following scene, Barbara, played by Julia Roberts, can be seen driving away, conveying in a rather different way she’s leaving her mother and shifting the focus to the younger character.

It’s impossible not to notice the difference, and filmgoers exiting the premiere were buzzing/arguing/complaining about the movie’s final scene.

But here’s the thing: It might not be the movie’s final scene.

Wells and Letts are still in a push-pull with producers and Weinstein Co. executives over whether the movie should end in the current manner, as many in the latter camp want, or with a shot of Violet in the manner of the play, as Letts and Wells have long learned toward.

In fact, in his first cut Wells left the ending as it was on the stage — with the shot of Violet on the stairs. But when the film was screened for early audiences they didn’t approve.

“We tested it over and over again and people rebelled in the theater,” Wells said in an interview Tuesday. “They were terrified about what happened to Barbara.”

Keeping it the way it was in the play, he said, was just too alienating to the people the film needed to appeal to.

“They felt like we were hitting them on the head with a hammer. I heard it over and over again — to the point that it was ‘Let’s see what happens if we put Violet on the steps and then cut to Barbara.”

That went over better, with audiences now saying they had more closure with the daughter character. And so, in went the final ending for Toronto.

But that result — though blessed by Weinstein — isn’t something Wells is convinced of. And he may yet triumph in his bid to revert to the other ending.

“I’m not sure I’m OK with doing it that way,” he said. “I don’t want to say there’s anything wrong with the current ending, because there isn’t. But it’s something we’re still talking about. We don’t open for three months, and it’s possible you’ll see something different.”

A Weinstein Co. spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

In an interview alongside Wells, Letts agreed but struck a somewhat more ambivalent note. He said he felt there was something stark and powerful about ending with Violet on the stairs — that’s how he wrote it for the stage, after all — but he also said that closing with a Barbara drive scene was OK if it clarified the matter for viewers.

“A little ambiguity is not a bad thing,” he said. “But we don’t want audience confusion, where it’s suddenly ‘I don’t know where the ball is.’ So this is what we’re trying to figure out.”

Why audiences were OK with a Violet-centric ending on the stage but not the screen remains an open question. Letts wryly suggested that it’s because the play didn’t afford the option; he couldn’t very well show Barbara offstage in a prop car that she pretend-drove.

Whatever the reason, there’s more at stake than just the plot point, though the idea of focusing on Barbara’s leaving instead of Violet’s solitude has some implications in its own right. There’s something of a fundamental question about the ending: How much freedom should creators have in adapting a work as they see fit. It’s a question that transcends this piece and, indeed, stage-to-screen adaptations generally. Should those putting a new spin on a popular entertainment brand be given wide latitude to make the choices they want to make? It’s been a question turning up a lot lately, from the Ben Affleck’s Batman casting to – why not? – Miley Cyrus twerking her image.

The “August” ending also raises a curious wrinkle in the world of filmmaking. As Wells noted, not that long ago, when film was still presented on film, once a cut was locked it was locked. It cost a hundred or two hundred grand to change it, which allowed little last-minute dithering over an ending. But like so many other things that have gone digital, from Web journalism to cable news coverage, a finished story is never really finished

At the close of the “August: Osage County” movie, Meryl Streep is, symbolically speaking, standing alone. Does Julia drive? The Weinsteins and its director are, for all the film-festival chatter, still hashing it out.

‘August: Osage County’ premiere at TIFF 2013 – Schedule + Streaming links


Red carpet:
September 9, 05:30pm (Toronto time)

Streaming links {x}:

http://www.ctv.ca/eTalk/Live-Stream-Schedule.aspx

http://www.cp24.com/features/tiff-2013

http://www.livestream.com/watchtiffslivestream

http://www.cbc.ca/live/livestream-cbc-live-tiff-today-at-1230-pm.html

Press conference:
September 10, 09:00am (Toronto time)

The conference is going to be streamed on Youtube:

Meryl Streep attends TIFF13; ‘Into the Woods’ movie filming at Dover castle soon?


I literally bumped into Meryl Streep @ David Pecaut Square. We were both trying to avoid the crowds! Hahahaha #TIFF13

Tweet @JsnJWlsn

Showed Meryl Streep to her seat tonight at the theatre. It was pure unadulterated awesome…

Tweet – @DavieKB

A casting notice has gone out in anticipation of a reported on location UK shoot as part of director Rob Marshall’s big screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine fairy tale-themed musical INTO THE WOODS, starring Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp.

Scheduled for the end of this month, Disney is now casting people in the UK ages 16 through 90 with “easy access to Dover or Canterbury.”

Given the location and its proximity to landmark Dover Castle, it appears Cinderella’s castle as seen onscreen – and as portrayed by Anna Kendrick – may very well have a real-life historical background.

Additionally, as for the casting notice itself, producers are seeking “men who are between 5ft 6in and 6ft 2in tall and ladies of dress sizes ranging for six to 14”.

And, as for the payment? A minimum of £102 per day.

According to the announcement, “applicants must be available for filming in Dover on Wednesday, September 25, and Thursday, September 26.”

Also, casting will reportedly be completed “immediate[ly] to allow costume fittings”.

The confirmed complete cast for INTO THE WOODS is as follows: Meryl Streep as The Witch, James Corden as The Baker, Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife, Johnny Depp as The Wolf, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, Chris Pine as Cinderella’s Prince, Billy Magnussen as Rapunzel’s Prince, Mackenzie Mauzy as Rapunzel, Lucy Punch as Lucinda, Tammy Blanchard as Florinda, Christine Baranski as Cinderella’s Stepmother and Tracey Ullman as Jack’s Mother, now with Sophia Grace Brownlee as Little Red Riding Hood and Daniel Huttlestone as Jack.

BroadwayWorld