You could always count on Meryl Streep to give a great performance, but now the 60-year-old’s become a bankable movie star, too.
The transition began with The Devil Wears Prada which earned Streep another Oscar nomination and the attention of Hollywood after the comedy scooped up an unexpected $327 million US globally.
Her follow up as the headliner in the film version of the popular musical Mamma Mia! was the mega-hit that made the difference. While Streep missed out on an Academy Award nomination, she shared the glory of the picture’s bountiful box office of $603 million US world wide.
Even last year’s Doubt, featuring Streep as a stern nun, managed to attract $51 million worth of business and win her another Oscar nod.
So writer-director Nora Ephron couldn’t believe her good fortune when Streep agreed to play celebrated cookbook author and TV icon Julia Child in her film Julie & Julia which opens on Aug. 7.
Not only did the filmmaker get the best person for the job, she also received a green light for the movie when Streep came on board.
“It’s always hard to make a movie that isn’t about a video game,” notes Ephron, “but Meryl’s the hottest actor in America right now so that was very helpful to me.”
The peculiar thing is that Streep’s in only half of the comedy, which is adapted from two books. One is Child’s autobiography, co-written with Alex Prud’homme, recalling her time in Paris during the 1950s with husband Paul (Stanley Tucci from The Devil Wears Prada). The other portion is Julie Powell’s modern-day memoir and blog Julie & Julia which outlined how Powell (played by Streep’s Doubt co-star Amy Adams) became obsessed with Child when she decided to cook, in 365 days, each of Child’s 524 recipes from her famous book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
The movie, written by Ephron, interweaves both stories but, as usual, it is Streep who stands out by recalling Child’s distinctively chirpy voice and rambunctious behaviour without lampooning it.
And that’s good news for Streep fans. Despite her new position as a commercial powerhouse, her craft hasn’t suffered.
“I seem to have more choices in the last five years than in the previous five years,” notes Streep while smiling bashfully during a recent interview. “Part of me thinks it has to do with the fact that there are more women executives making decisions because everything starts with what gets made.”
It helped, too, that the obsessive foodie Ephron has a decent track record in the romantic comedy department, with gems such as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, to her credit.
But she didn’t write the script with Streep in mind because she didn’t want to be disappointed if she didn’t get her.
For her part, Streep had more than just the challenge of doing Child on her mind.
“I’m doing an idealized version of Julia,” admits the actress. “But I was also doing a version of my mother who had a similar joie de vivre, an undeniable sense of how to enjoy her life. Every room she walked into she made brighter.”
On the other hand, Streep’s mother didn’t have an interest in cooking – at all. Born and raised in Summit, N. J., Streep had a middle class childhood. Her mother Mary was a liberal and lively commercial artist while father Harry William was a more conservative dad and pharmaceutical executive.
Yet home-cooking didn’t exist in the Streep household.
“I remember when I was ten going to a little girl’s house, and she and her mother were sitting at the table and they were doing something to tennis balls, ” says Streep chuckling at the memory.
“And I said, ‘What are you doing?’” she continues. “And they said, ‘Making mash potatoes.’ I said, ‘What do you mean? Mash potatoes come in a box.’”
Yes, they were peeling potatoes. “And I had never seen a real potato,” she says. “My mother’s motto was, ‘If it’s not done in 20 minutes, it’s not dinner. ‘”
Streep can cook “although I wouldn’t call myself a chef.”
And if she needed support and encouragement, she was surrounded by it on set. Ephron and co-star Tucci are above average in the kitchen.
And the Oscar-honoured actress had a long list of Child things to reference, including her TV show The French Chef.
“Julia’s so vivid and she left behind such an articulate trail of her journey in the book that she wrote with Alex (Prud’Homme) and in her cook books, ” Streep says. “Her voice really comes through.”
So does Streep – again – doing what she’s always loved doing. That’s why her recent box office success is unexpected.
“I still feel I am like every other actor,” says Streep matter-of-factly. “I’ve been unemployed more than I’ve worked because of the nature of what I do. So I’ve never gotten used to either working or being out of work.
“It’s a very uncertain life and there are only a few people that would sign up to be married to someone doing that,” she says. “My husband (Don Gummer) is an artist and he understands. So I’m just really glad people aren’t sick of me. ”
She thinks about that for a second. “Even I’m sick of me a little bit,” Streep adds giggling.
But how could that be? You have all those awards and accolades.
“Well, fortunately, the ‘blogosphere’ supplies you with the other side of all the accolades,” she confesses smirking. “Just sign on and get humble.”
Thousands of wanna-bes are planning to risk long lines, heat exhaustion and thunderstorms – not to mention broken ankles from their 6-inch heels – for a bit part in the “Sex and the City” movie sequel.
“Think you’ve got the look? Show off your sense of style in the newest Sex and the City movie!” gushes one of the ads for next Tuesday’s open audition for extras in Chelsea.
The call from New York casting company Grant Wilfley is expected to attract record crowds.
Hopefuls do not have to be members of the Screen Actor’s Guild but are asked to show up looking “Sex and the City fabulous.”
Producers say they need to cast a variety of non-speaking “fashionistas” and “chic New Yorkers” for the movie, which is reported to start shooting soon.
The ads call specifically for: “models, celebrity types, upscale socialites, urban clubgoers, gays and lesbians, international types (Middle Eastern, Arabic, Asian, European, British) and professional soccer players.”
Competition will be tough: There is a lot of interest in appearing – no matter how fleetingly – in the sequel to Sarah Jessica Parker’s 2008 box office smash.
If you think you have the look but can’t make the casting call at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 W. 18th St., e-mail a headshot to firstname.lastname@example.org
That might be the safest option. Back in March, the casting call for “America’s Next Top Model” was far from pretty.
A bevy of beauties launched a mini-riot on the sidewalk after waiting on line for hours without food or restrooms.
If the same thing happens at the “Sex and the City” auditions, beware: Those stilettoes could prove lethal.
IGN Movie paid a visit to Iron Man 2 in Los Angeles where spoke at length with Robert Downey Jr., director Jon Favreau and and Marvel Studios Kevin Feige about the sequel, which just wrapped this month. (Beware spoiler alert)
[Please be advised that this article is potentially spoiler-ish for some.] IGN Movies visited the set of Iron Man 2 on an uncharacteristically rainy day in Los Angeles this past June. While on-set at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach, we spoke at length with star Robert Downey Jr., director Jon Favreau, and Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige about the sequel, which just wrapped this month.
The majority of our set visit was spent in Tony Stark’s new and improved workshop/lab. The entire floor is made of shiny, dark glass — which required visitors to wear booties over their shoes so as to not scuff it up — that, in the film, will project holographic images and schematics throughout the lab for Stark to interact with. In the far side of the workshop is the armory where Tony’s Iron Man suits are stored. Curiously, one of them was missing, a mystery that wasn’t solved until it was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con that Don Cheadle will be wearing a modified version of it as War Machine.
The first scene we observed being shot that had Tony examining a miniature model of the 1974 Stark Expo, a cross between Macworld and the 1964 World’s Fair if it had been staged by the late Howard Stark (played by Mad Men’s John Slattery). Howard hid something of great value on the grounds way back when and now Tony desperately needs to find it. “The key to the future is … where?,” Downey asked in character take after take as the camera swooped over the miniature and settled on his scrutinizing face.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) looks over a model of the 1974 Stark Expo
The biggest surprise we had on set wasn’t even on the schedule for us to see, but Marvel and Favreau were kind enough to arrange for us to meet Scarlett Johansson in costume as the sexy spy Black Widow. She had been filming second unit stuntwork on a nearby soundstage when she graciously took a few moments out to chitchat with us. As you can now tell from the newly released photos, Scarlett is ridiculously hot as Black Widow. She was even more jaw-dropping in person.
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.
Without giving too much away, there are two interconnected personal crises that Tony is dealing with in Iron Man 2 (and alcoholism isn’t one of them): Tony’s lingering father issues and an energy crisis of some sort. The shadow of Tony’s celebrated, brilliant father — a man who helped America win World War II and stay armed during the Cold War — looms over the entire film. Howard’s past somehow holds the key to Tony’s future. (Tony isn’t the only character with daddy issues; Mickey Rourke’s Ivan “Whiplash” Vanko also has them. Vanko and Stark are two sides of the same coin; Vanko even has a famous scientist father, Anton.)
“It’s one of the major themes of the movie, which is that no man is an island. Here’s a guy who’s said, ‘I’m going to run the company myself. I’m going to take control of all of my own technology, use it only for benefit. I’m going to introduce this giant, new Stark Expo to advocate all sorts of new energy sources and all sorts of new technological wonders to the world, the world of tomorrow,’” Feige said. “But he’s a Marvel superhero and so it takes about six months for everything to go to hell once he’s done that.”
Although the sequel won’t be using the famous “Demon in a Bottle” storyline, Iron Man 2 will have echoes of it as it shows Tony succumbing to the pressure he’s under. “About midway through the film he hits rock bottom. Rock bottom is not in alleyway with alcohol alongside of a dumpster. That’s not what it is in this movie,” Feige explained. “But it is all of these things that he’s trying to do and pressuring himself to do. He sort of loses control of that.”
This collapse will affect Tony’s relationships with both Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). “He’s just one of those guys though that thinks he can do everything by themselves and that he can do it best and people start to kind of get turned off by that and turned away by that. Then he does something in a very charming, funny [manner],” Feige revealed. “I think the audience is going to cheer and laugh and it’ll be a high point of the movie, but the other characters aren’t going to be quite as amused.”
In a corner of the workshop there was a relaxation area with Tony’s personal effects and paperwork strewn about. Among the items spotted were a German passport, newspaper articles, a map of Antarctica … and a diagram of Captain America’s shield! Antarctica, Cap … Marvel really is laying the seeds for an Avengers movie in Iron Man 2. Outside the soundstage, several of us in the group of visiting journalists also noticed boxes marked “Project Pegasus.”
In the original Marvel comics, Project Pegasus was a government program that researched unusual forms of energy and also served as a prison for super-villains; in the Ultimates universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. operates the Project Pegasus facility where bizarre and powerful objects are stored. I’m not sure exactly how Project Pegasus is used in Iron Man 2, but it could be related to Howard Stark’s past, an energy crisis, Captain America, or all of the above.
How all of these plot threads play out — and how they may lay the groundwork for future Marvel movies — will become clear when Iron Man 2 finally opens May 7, 2010. Look for our on-set interviews with Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. down the line!
Release date: Friday October 16, 2009 Genre: Family, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy Director: Spike Jonze Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers Producer(s): Gary Goetzman, John B. Carls, Maurice Sendak, Tom Hanks, Vincent Landay Cast: Catherine Keener, Max Records, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Michelle Williams, Michael Berry, Jr., Paul Dano, Tom Noonan Official Site:wherethewildthingsare.com Rating:PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language Available film art:Where the Wild Things Are movie posters
Synopsis This adaptation of the classic 1963 children’s book concerns a restless little boy, Max, who is banished to his room for prancing about dressed like a wolf. He eventually sneaks out into a world created by his own imagination, which is populated by massive furry beasts who make him the king of their world.
Star Trek screenwriter Roberto Orci revealed that the next Trek movie might be the first instalment of a two-part story.
Speaking to io9 at Comic-Con, he was asked if they had any further meetings about the sequel, and he replied: “Nothing was decided [at the last meeting]. It was really about… [They said to us] ‘We thought maybe you could do that as like 2 and 3.’”
It’s a fairly vague quote, but it does raise all kinds of possibilities as to the future of Trek. Will they film parts two and three back-to-back like Pirates of the Caribbean? Will part two end on a cliff-hanger a la The Matrix Reloaded?
Obviously we don’t know, but after the great job done by Abrams and Co. on the first Trek we’re looking forward to finding out.
Length: 85 minutes theatrical version 100 minutes uncut version MPAA Rating: Rated PG for intense sequences of action/violence and brief mild language
Based on the Japanese manga series, this live-action movie is a martial-arts fantasy. On his 18th birthday, the film’s hero, Goku (Justin Chatwin), is given a Dragonball, a mystical shiny sphere, by his grandfather. Whoever unites this Dragonball with six others will be granted a wish. It turns out the evil Lord Piccolo (James Marsters) is trying to obtain all seven spheres and destroy the world. The only way to stop Piccolo is to get the Dragonballs before a solar eclipse, and Goku sets out on that quest, assisted by characters played by Chow-Yun Fat and Emmy Rossum.
Cast: Justin Chatwin, Joon Park, Christopher Sabat, Jamie Chung; Directed by: James Wong
Selected DVD Special Features:
Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
Watch a deleted scene trailer:
Fast & Furious
Length: 107 minutes MPAA Rating: PG-13 for for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual content, language and drug references
This actioner is the follow-up to The Fast and the Furious (2001), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), and Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster reprise their characters from the initial movie. The 2009 film opens with Dom (Diesel) and Letty (Rodriguez), still a couple, hijacking a huge truck in the Dominican Republic. Then Dom heads back to L.A., where he reunites with Brian (Walker), now an FBI agent trying to bring down a drug kingpin. Soon the romance between Brian and Dom’s sister Mia (Brewster) gets rekindled.
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Gal Gadot, Shea Whigham, Tego Calderon, Liza Lapira; Directed by: Justin Lin
Selected Two-Disc Special Edition DVD Special Features:
Selected Single-Disc DVD Special Features:
Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
Watch the “Shooting the Big Rig Heist Bonus Feature Clip”:
Length: 90 minutes MPAA Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
A young man (Zach Cregger) awakens from a four-year coma to hear that his once virginal high school sweetheart (Raquel Alessi) has since become a centerfold in one of the world’s most famous men’s magazines. He and his sex-crazed best friend (Trevor Moore) decide to take a cross-country road trip in order to crash a party at the magazine’s legendary mansion headquarters and win back the girl.
Dose.ca is giving away a trip for two to Paris, France!
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis.
The Basterds soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.
Foodtv.ca is giving away a free ticket for a gourmet getaway for one lucky winner.
Inspired by two bestselling memoirs – Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia and My Life in France, by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme – Julie & Julia intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends… until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.
Tell us who inspires you for your chance to win a Gourmet Ottawa Getaway with private cooking lessons at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa.
The Sin City helmer on what’s coming up next for him.
Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez appeared at San Diego Comic-Con today to talk about his new family film Shorts, during which time the Sin City and Planet Terror director also updated fans on what’s happening with several of his upcoming projects.
Rodriguez said that he’s producing the remake of The Creature From the Black Lagoon now, which he said was as fun as any of the family films he’s made. He is also producing Predators, which he recalled was a script that he originally wrote back in 1994. 20th Century Fox reapproached him about it recently because, as the filmmaker put it, they thought the Predator franchise had gone astray with the Alien vs. Predator movies.
Rodriguez said Fox is letting him make the movie his way at his Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas, and that his ’94 script will be the basis for it. K&B are already doing effects work on it for a 2010 release.
The next project that Rodriguez will helm will be Machete, based on the faux trailer he did for Grindhouse. That will start filming in the next few weeks. He recalled how he and Danny Trejo have actually been kicking the idea around since 1993. Rodriguez promised fans that Machete will be as good or better than the mock trailer, “out of control,” “crazy” and “a lot of fun.”
Rodriguez said his dance card for the next year is full so don’t expect Sin City 2 to go before cameras for at least another year.
Mint condition; double-sided; Jack Black Mask Advance; rolled. This is an original movie poster and not a reprint. Original 1 Sheet that has printing on both the front and the back of the poster (prin...