Meryl Streep to Talk in Diablo Cody-Speak as a Rock Star in ‘Ricky and the Flash’

By  · Published on March 26th, 2014

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With VOD numbers still kept a secret by most of Hollywood, it’s tough to tell if Diablo Cody’s directorial debut, Paradise, was any kind of success when released last fall. But reviews were not good (our own Jack Giroux gave it a ‘C’), and no one was really talking about it, so let’s just assume it was at least a cultural failure if not also financial. Considering neither Young Adult nor Jennifer’s Body were hits, either, the Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter could use a shot of relevance. And that shot seems very likely to come with a report from The Wrap that none other than Meryl Streep is set to speak Cody’s dialogue in a new movie directed by Jonathan Demme titled Ricky and the Flash.

Demme himself hasn’t been in the spotlight much in the past five years and could also use this intriguing project. He’s actually been making a bunch of films – primarily docs like Neil Young Journeys and I’m Caroline Parker (and many others even smaller) – but his last major feature was 2008’s Rachel Getting Married. He has worked with Streep in the past, on the arguably unnecessary Manchurian Candidate remake and, as producer, Spike Jonze’s Adaptation. Also, he’s proven himself to be something of a music film master, having directed one of the best concert docs of all time in Stop Making Sense and been involved with interesting soundtrack-significant efforts like That Thing You Do! (Rachel was a kind of musical, too), so he’s a good fit for Cody’s story of an aging rock star.

Who is playing that rock star, you wonder? It couldn’t possibly be Streep. Well, as a matter of fact it is. She’ll be playing a role that’s like her Oscar-winning part as the mom in Kramer vs. Kramer, only she never came back, and she’s a famous singer. Streep’s shown some musical talent before, belting out tunes in Postcards From the Edge, A Prairie Home Companion and Mamma Mia! (and this montage of random moments through her life), and she’ll be doing some more vocal work in the upcoming Into the Woods. Hopefully with Ricky and the Flash she’ll be channelling some real rock star – not unlike how Sean Penn basically played an old Robert Smith in This Must Be the Place. Let me suggest it be her old co-star Cher, who never abandoned her children but did notoriously and temporarily have issues with one of them (Chaz Bono) down the road.

If all comes together right, we could see Streep win her hundredth Oscar and both Cody and Demme earning their second. And if it doesn’t, well, hopefully we can at least hear Streep utter phrases like “honest to blog” and “tragedy boner” while – please, please, please – wearing some Cher-style fashion fiascos. And, who are we kidding, she’d still be nominated for it.

Watch Streep (sorta) rocking out in a scene from Postcards From the Edge to get you read:

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.