After recently playing two-time Tony winner Dee Dee Allen in the film adaptation of The Prom, Meryl Streep will portray another fictional Broadway leading lady in Places, Please. Deadline reports that Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cristofer (The Shadow Box playwright) will direct, with Elisabeth Seldes Annacone penning the script.
The movie, which Cristofer refers to as a "love letter" and "valentine" to theatre artists "who fight to survive, survive, and triumph," will follow Broadway star Lillian Hall, who throughout her stage career has never missed a performance. But as her latest show, a revival of The Cherry Orchard, approaches, her resilience is questioned, and she must confront the consequences of neglecting that which she gave up.
Production is expected to begin this summer.
The Chekhov play at the center of the story is one that also plays a role in Streep and Cristofer's collaboration; both appeared in a 1977 Broadway revival of The Cherry Orchard at Lincoln Center Theater (Streep was Dunyasha, Cristofer made his Broadway debut as Trofimov). A year later, Streep appeared in The Deer Hunter, earning her first Oscar nomination. She cites co-star Robert De Niro being in the audience during a fateful night of the play (in which the cast performed by candlelight due to a blackout) as an inciting incident in her shift to screen work.
"When you make a play, you are this group of people so emotionally tied to each other," Streep told Deadline. "Film can be a more disjointed thing where people fly in and out, do their thing and leave. Now, with the challenge that COVID has placed before us, people are isolated from each other, and there is that feeling in this piece. The pull of when you become alienated from this group of people with whom you’re working. It’s really pungent in that way."
Streep will produce with Steven Rogers and Jane Rosenthal, with Berry Welsh executive producing.