Like the phases of the moon, Meryl Streep news waxes and wanes. After a quiet year, Streep’s camp today came forth with some big announcements: an image of her next role, as Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, and an official announcement of the role after that, in David Frankel’s marital comedy Great Hope Springs.
If Lloyd and Frankel’s names, in this context, sound familiar, it may be because both were responsible for recent Streep hits: Lloyd’s Mamma Mia! in 2008 and Frankel’s The Devil Wears Prada in 2006. (Streep’s most recent Oscar-nominated role, for 2009’s Julie & Julia, had been directed by Nora Ephron, who wrote Streep’s roles in Heartburn and Silkwood.) Both Lloyd and Frankel’s previous films were huge and well-loved hits for Streep, while the actress’s recent work with prestige directors like Robert Redford (Lions for Lambs) and Gavin Hood (Rendition) failed to catch on. While Lloyd and Frankel are not risk-taking filmmakers, Streep has been rewarded for her work with them in the past. Thanks to the hits they directed, she’s now free to choose among roles.
And she’s choosing to work with those directors again, albeit in slightly artier contexts. Mike Nichols, another former Streep colleague, was initially set to direct Great Hope Springs, with Streep starring; after his departure, Frankel got the nod. (His last movie was the light-hearted dog comedy Marley & Me.) Lloyd is making what would appear to be a prestige film–at the time of Streep’s casting, the Hollywood Reporter noted that the film’s high profile had led to the producer of a competing Thatcher biopic scrapping his project and joining Lloyd. Today, the circle of Meryl Streep’s late-career resurgence benefits everyone involved. Should we expect another Nancy Meyers role soon?
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