Casting News: Streep's Thatcher, Penn's Paskowitz, Ruffalo's Normal Heart

by Sophia Savage
July 1, 2010 8:04 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

- Meryl Streep is in talks to star as Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's Thatcher (the two worked together on Mamma Mia!), and Jim Broadbent may play her husband, reports THR. The story, written by Damien Jones (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) and Brian Fillis, follows the British prime minister during the 17 days leading up to the 1982 Falklands War, which wound up saving her career (and doubled her approval ratings). While this is certainly not the first biographical character for Streep (Julia Child being the latest), the role of Thatcher may carry enough weight to land her a third Oscar. Even if it doesn't, she'll still likely outperform any other working actress out of habit. HitFix says Streep's 14 consecutive Oscar losses are "an embarrassment for both Hollywood and the Academy" - perhaps - but statues aside, does anyone truly question whether or not she's the greatest?

Sean Penn in Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz biopic (with Surfwise clip) and Mark Ruffalo in The Normal Heart (and MTV video interview) after the jump:

- Another A-Lister, Sean Penn, is amping up for a biopic on surf icon Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz. In addition to producing, Variety reports he may star in the title role (though this surfer will differ from his fictitious Fast Times At Ridgemont High character). It wasn't until Penn signed on to the project that 89-year old Paskowitz gave his blessing, twenty years after producers (from Matt Weaver to Graydon Carter) began vying to secure the rights to his life story. Paskowitz took his wife and nine children in a campervan in the 50s to live a nomadic life while founding the continental US's first surf camp. Doug Pray's 2008 doc Surfwise examined the Paskowitz' life. The trailer and a clip from the documentary are below.

- Mark Ruffalo, while promoting the July 9th release of The Kids Are All Right, revealed that he will star in an adaptation of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart. Kramer will adapt his semi-autobiographical script, which premiered in 1985. Set in New York City during the AIDS outbreak (1981-1984), the period is seen through the eyes of a gay Jewish HIV activist. Speaking to MTV below, Ruffalo calls the script "really powerful and sprawling and beautiful" and anticipates playing the "juicy" lead role of Ned Weeks (which has been portrayed on stage by Richard Dreyfuss, Martin Sheen and Tom Hulce).

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