Hollywood stars used to turn their noses up at television, but now Meryl Streep and George Clooney are stealing the show in your living room. Who might join them next?
There have been plenty of surprises concerning Meryl Streep joining Big Little Lies. First, there was the Streep Scream, an earth-shattering howl that launched 1,000 memes. Second, there has been her performance as a whole: sometimes Deirdre Barlow channelling Willy Wonka; sometimes a less considered Mrs Doubtfire. Yet for many watchers, the main surprise remains that were seeing Streep on TV at all.
With her three Oscars, Streep is the queen of Hollywoods old guard, the kind of film icon who at one time would never have done telly. She did appear in HBOs Angels in America, but that was hardly normal TV more theatre looking down its nose at a camera. Her appearance in Big Little Lies, a big, silly, schlocky TV series, signifies something else. Heres a film legend accepting that, in order to stay big, the pictures have to get a little smaller.
Streeps not alone. George Clooney, who fought so hard to shrug off his role as hunky Dr Ross in ER, is back on TV in Catch-22. Sean Penn, has already starred in one series, astronaut drama The First, and will soon star in another, American Lion. Julianne Moore will head up Liseys Story, produced by Apple TV, hot on the heels of Julia Roberts in Amazons Homecoming, and Amy Adams tackling HBOs Sharp Objects last year.
Its no surprise that movie stars are now doffing their caps to the growing cultural and financial might of TV and its associated streaming services. With Hollywood seeming ever staler, patriarchal and stuck in the same formats, TV is leading the way in writing and representation. It wasnt exactly an abasement when Thandie Newton tackled Westworld and Line of Duty, and no one thought their auras were tarnished when Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson tried True Detective.
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