On the surface, putting Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift together in the same movie sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
Meryl Streep is an ultra serious actress of unparalleled skill whose movies often don’t do well at the box office.
Katie Holmes is more of a celebrity than an actress because many movie fans know her best as Tom Cruise’s ex-wife and for her interest in Scientology.
Taylor Swift is a very young singer who surely couldn’t have the acting chops to be credible in a scene with Streep.
Fortunately, Streep, Holmes, and Swift are more accomplished and versatile than many people believe. Movie fans will soon find out whether they can succeed together on screen because they are in a movie that will be released this summer.
“The Giver” is a science fiction novel written in 1993 by Lois Lowry. It’s about a society where most people have no memories of the past so they can live pain free lives.
Occasionally, though, people need facts from the past to make a decision so one person has them to help community members. “The Giver” has all the memories and gives them to “The Receiver,” who later becomes “The Giver.” The novel received several literary awards.
The Weinstein Company, the production company of the 2010 (“The King’s Speech”) and 2011 (“The Artist”) Best Picture Oscar winners, bought the film rights to the novel and hired Jeff Bridges as “The Giver” and a boy named Brenton Thwaites as “The Receiver.”
Meryl Streep has third billing in the movie “The Giver” as the community’s elder, Katie Holmes is billed fifth as the boy’s mother, and Taylor Swift is billed seventh as the daughter of “The Giver.”
Movie fans won’t know until August, 2014, whether Streep, Holmes, and Swift will work well together on screen, but the production company bodes well for the success of “The Giver.”
Meryl Streep’s versatility
On the surface, putting Meryl Streep in a science fiction movie is a bad match because she is known as a dramatic actress who has the all-time record for Academy Award actor nominations (18; six more than second-place Katherine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson) and her record-tying three Oscar wins were in dramas “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Sophie’s Choice,” and “The Iron Lady.”
However, her record shows that she is an accomplished actress in science fiction and fantasy movies like “The Giver.” The Saturn Award is the top award for science fiction, fantasy and horror movies. Streep was nominated for Saturn best actress awards three times – for “Defending Your Life,” “Death Becomes Her,” and “The Manchurian Candidate.” She received Golden Globe award nominations for the latter two movies.
In addition, Streep is more popular than is generally believed. She won the annual “Favorite Motion Picture Actress” award at the People’s Choice Awards five times and in 2013 won the “Favorite Movie Icon” award at the People’s Choice Awards.
How good is Katie Holmes?
There’s no debate about Meryl Streep’s acting chops, but there’s a disagreement about Katie Holmes’s ability.
In fact, Holmes was nominated for “Best Supporting Actress” (Saturn Award) and “Worst Supporting Actress” (Golden Raspberry Award) for the same movie – “Batman Begins.”
Nevertheless, she might be a better actress than her reputation.
Many movie fans might have not paid attention to “Dawson’s Creek, ” a 1998-2003 television show, because it was about teenagers, but many critics liked the show, where Holmes played the lead role and was nominated for the Teen Choice Award for TV five times.
Holmes was also nominated for a Saturn Award for her performance in “Disturbing Behavior,” a 1998 science fiction movie.
Holmes’ major problem in “The Giver” might be that she is playing the mother of a 24-year-old actor although she is only 35. Playing mature adult roles differs from playing teens and young adults.
In other words, Holmes and Streep together onscreen might not work because of Holmes’ role rather than her general acting ability.
How good is Taylor Swift?
Taylor Swift, 24, is known primarily as a singer, but she began acting in 2009.
Swift’s first movie role was in “Valentine’s Day” in 2010. Critics from the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Time magazine, The Boston Globe, and Salon magazine praised her performance, while Variety, the Daily News, and Slant Magazine panned her.
Swift’s performance in “The Giver” will be her third movie role after she had a voice-only role in “The Lorax” (2012).
Many singers succeeded in more than one movie, including Frank Sinatra, Cher, Whitney Houston, and Dolly Parton. Others such as Elvis Presley were hammered for subpar acting.
Whether Taylor Swift can hold her own in a scene with Meryl Streep is uncertain, but assuming that it will be a disaster is a big mistake.
So, yay or nay?
Putting Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, and Taylor Swift onscreen together seems like a disaster at first blush, but the history of all three indicates that they could succeed.
“Could be” and “will” are different. Whether they succeed in “The Giver” depends more on the script’s writing and director Phillip Noyce’s ability to utilize Holmes’s and Swift’s skills correctly than the three actresses’ innate talent and on screen compatibility.