Last week, we passed along news of a rather intriguing new project for 18-time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep: an untitled Diablo Cody script, to be directed by Jonathan Demme, in which she'd play a fame-hungry mother reuniting with her estranged family. Today, a few more choice details were announced, beginning with a title: the film is to be called “Ricki and the Flash.” Tastier still: Streep will be unleashing her inner rock chick.
Deadline describes the project as the story of an aspiring rock singer who abandons her family to pursue her musical career, working as a checkout clerk by day and gigging by night, before getting one last chance to reconcile with her daughter. (Shades of “The Wrestler?”) This is terrain Demme should know well, having directed concert documentaries for Talking Heads and Neil Young, as well as music videos for the likes of Bruce Springsteen; you can bet he'll secure a killer soundtrack for his first music-themed narrative film.
For Streep, meanwhile, this should be a fun change of pace — perhaps in a comparable vein to her Oscar-nominated turn as Hollywood actress and recovering addict Suzanne Vale in “Postcards from the Edge.” Anyone who remembers her belting out that film's country-and-western theme “I'm Checkin' Out” (another Oscar nominee) in the closing scene knows that she has what it takes to rock out on screen. We've also seen her sing in a number of other films, from “Ironweed” to “Death Becomes Her” to “A Prairie Home Companion” to, of course, “Mamma Mia!.” (We'll have added “Into the Woods” to that list by the year's end.)
The film begins shooting in the autumn, with Marc Platt (“Drive,” “Into the Woods,” “Rachel Getting Married”) and Mason Novick (an Oscar nominee for “Juno” and regular Cody collaborator) producing. TriStar are said to be closing in on the project, with studios including The Weinstein Company and Fox also having expressed interest. As well they might have done — sounds like an umpteenth Oscar play for Streep, at the very least.