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They’re not exactly Tracy and Hepburn, but Robert De Niro has shared the screen with Meryl Streep three times in the past (The Deer Hunter, Marvin's Room, Falling in Love), and the powerhouse acting talents have just circled the fourth project on which they’ve chosen to collaborate.
FilmNation Entertainment has announced that it has acquired the rights to Ann Leary’s bestselling novel The Good House, which will be shaped into a feature-length film for Streep and De Niro to star in. Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham (The Hours) will adapt the book for the screen, with Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh producing for Tribeca Productions.
We knew right away with Jane’s and Michael’s demonstrated talent and Ann’s bestseller that we have the opportunity to create something truly entertaining,” said FilmNation’s EVP Production Karen Lunder. “It is undeniable the authenticity and chemistry Meryl and Bob will offer us as they bring these characters to life.”
Published in January 2013, Leary’s novel follows recovering alcoholic Hildy Good (Streep), a reclusive member of a small Massachusetts coastal town who is recently out of rehab – sent their by her suspicious daughter – and trying to put her life back together. A friendship with a wealthy newcomer helps. Soon, Hildy is sharing secrets with pretty young mother Rebecca McCallister… though the truths that they are telling could unravel the entire town. De Niro has been pegged to play Frank Getchell, another local eccentric with a mysterious tie to Hildy’s past who tries to protect his old acquaintance - with chilling results.
Leary, in an Amazon.com interview, admitted that getting a handle on Hildy was the greatest challenge of writing this book.
“My narrator was a bit of a handful. The Good House is told from the point of view of Hildy Good, who may or may not be an alcoholic. Her daughters think she is, but she is quite confident that she is not. So my biggest challenge was to make Hildy reliable enough to have the reader on her side and actually rooting for her, yet at the same time, question whether she's being completely honest.”
It sounds like a great role for Streep, not that anyone has a single doubt that she’ll be able to demolish the material. Casting Streep in an adaptation of a bestselling work basically guarantees her a slot at the Oscars these days. Or, at least, that’s what the producers of this fall’s August: Osage County certainly hope.
As for De Niro… well, who knows? This could be the next Silver Linings Playbook, or it could be the next The Big Wedding, a star-studded dramedy that no one wants to see. With Streep in tow, I’m betting on the former. Now they just need to hire a director. We’ll keep you informed.