If Steven Spielberg called you up and asked you to take a role in his new film, what would you do? I'll tell you what you'd do: sign on the dotted line so fast your nagging wife would think the contract was for a divorce. Wow, that was a bit harsh, but you get the idea. Spielberg's one of those guys that actors pray to get the chance to work with their entire lives so when the opportunity arises, there's no screwing around. You've got to bring your A-game to the set because there are no second chances. It's all or nothing.
I'd bet, then, that right about now a dozen or so of Hollywood's finest are a bit jittery over being asking to join the Oscar-winning auteur's highly-anticipated new period drama Lincoln, which has been in the works for more years than I can remember. DreamWorks has stated that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce McGill, James Spader, David Costabile, Joseph Cross, John Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson, Hal Holbrook, Byron Jennings, Dakin Matthews, Boris McGiver, Gloria Reuben, Jeremy Strong and David Warshofsky have joined the production. That is an impressive pool of talent, adding to the award winning duo of Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field playing Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln.
Most of the actors' roles are unspecified at this time, but a few have been revealed. Jones will play Thaddeus Stevens, while Gordon-Levitt will portray Robert Todd Lincoln, meaning that he's going to get to share many frames with multiple Oscar winner Day-Lewis and will hopefully learn lots from the chameleon-like thespian. A report filed yesterday stated that production on the epic biopic would begin in the fall in Virginia for a possible late 2012 release.
I don't really know what else to say other than "Oscar bait." This film has all the makings of an Academy Award sweep, with a screenplay from the great Tony Kushner (Munich) and Doris Kearns Goodwin (who also wrote the novel from which the film is based) and Spielberg's regular acclaimed production crew on board to bring 19th Century America to vividly breathtaking life. We'll return with more information on further casting and role identification as it becomes available.
Source: DreamWorks Pictures
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Julie & Julia melds the analogous stories of cooking legend Julia Child’s life in 1950s France with the modern-day tale of writer Julie Powell’s real-life quest to prepare all 524 recipes in Child’s classic tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The film neatly covers Child’s life in post-World War II Paris with her foreign diplomat husband Paul her foray into and eventual mastery of French cooking and the difficulties she encountered while trying to publish her groundbreaking cookbook. Intercut with Child's story is Powell’s decision to shake up her life as an unfulfilled government employee in post-9/11 New York by challenging herself to cook and blog. Her inevitable trials (she burns an important meal gets in trouble at work and pisses off her husband) and victories (a perfectly poached egg a write-up in the New York Times) are all included.
WHO’S IN IT?
Ever lovely Amy Adams plays endearingly bedraggled Julie with hopeful conviction and Chris Messina is cute and convincing as her sweetly supportive husband. It is of course Meryl Streep who steals the show with her joyful high-energy portrayal of the 6-foot-2 master chef. Streep as she is apt to do turns in a nuanced humanizing and wholly hilarious portrayal of a cultural icon many associate with Dan Akroyd's impressions on Saturday Night Live.
Stanley Tucci proves a savvy charismatic match for Streep as Paul Child Julia’s affectionate charming and unflinchingly supportive husband. Jane Lynch momentarily steals Streep’s spotlight as Julia’s equally tall equally whirling dervishy sister Dorothy.
Julie’s life in Queens is populated by Mary Lynn Rajskub who plays her pragmatic friend and Casey Wilson and Vanessa Ferlito who make memorable cameos as Julie’s condescending corporate ladder-climbing carb-avoiding frenemies.
All of it. Nora Ephron’s script elegantly weaves the story of Child in Paris and Powell in Queens portraying both locales as the prettiest freshest versions of themselves. The film is a joy to look at not only for the sumptuous shots of Powell’s many creations and Child’s rich French fare but also for the pristine recreation of the style and fashion of 1950s Paris. It will make you want to drink champagne cocktails wear chiffon and eat chocolate cake. And beef. And bruschetta. And anything else available.
The film is superbly acted and manages to be funny inspiring and poignant without falling into schlocky chick-flick territory. The story is refreshing in its depiction of two happy drama-free marriages. The true romance here is with all the gorgeous food which Streep Tucci Adams and especially Messina consume with joyful gusto.
At just over two hours the film runs a bit long especially for a comedy. Although it never slows or bores several scenes about publishing the cookbook could have been shortened or cut completely to pick up the pace. While the ending is lovely the film then wraps up a bit hastily.
Julia first learning her cookbook might be published and frenetically rushing into the house screaming “Paul! Paul Paul Paul!” while nearly tripping over herself has just a slight advantage over the scene in which Julie confronts her moral dilemma about killing lobsters and is subsequently traumatized while boiling them alive.
Finely crafted from start to finish Meryl and the food take the cake so to speak in terms of star power. The movie is lighthearted fare for anyone desiring inspiration in the kitchen — or any other life department for that matter.