Industry News: Meryl Streep, Diversity, Paul Rudd and More!


MERYL STREEP JOINS LILLY: Meryl Streep has joined Rachel Feldman’s Lilly Ledbetter fair pay film, Lilly, as a backer. The long-in-the-works film is based on the life of the equal pay icon. Ledbetter rose to fame fighting the Goodyear Tire Company in a bid to be paid as much as her male counterparts. In a statement, Feldman said: "Historic dramas often chronicle the external forces of politics, but Lilly tells the story of what happens to a woman’s inner life when patriarchal injustice overwhelms every aspect of her existence. Lilly is the perfect film for this moment in time.”

DIVERSITY STUDY FINDS OMISSIONS: According to a new study from UCLA, there is a glaring absence of women and people of color in leading positions at Hollywood studios. The Hollywood Diversity Report only looked at film, and overall, it showed that women and people of color are represented more than ever on film, but behind the screens, writers, directors and executives are notably less diverse. “As of 2019, both women and minorities are within striking distance of proportionate representation when it comes to lead roles and total cast,” said Darnell Hunt, dean of the UCLA College division of social sciences and the report’s co-author. “But behind the scenes, it’s a very different story. That begs the question — are we actually seeing systematic change, or is Hollywood just appealing to diverse audiences through casting, but without fundamentally altering the way studios do business behind the camera?”

PAUL RUDD, JACK MCBRAYER, MORE CAST IN ESCAPE FROM VIRTUAL ISLAND: Paul Rudd, Jack McBrayer, Amber Ruffin and Paula Pell will lead Escape From Virtual Island, a new scripted Audible Original comedy series from SNL vet John Lutz and Lorne MichaelsBroadway Video. Other cast members include Olivia Wilde, Seth Meyers and Jane Krakowski. “This astonishing group of comedy all-stars took a hilarious script and turned it into a wildly imaginative and brilliant series,” said David Blum, editor-in-chief of Audible Originals. “When we kicked off our collaboration with Broadway Video in 2017, we did so with the vision of creating distinctive new Audible Originals with top talent in the business; we’ve been thrilled with the results and we can’t wait for our listeners to join these familiar voices on a wild comedy adventure series like no other.”

GLAAD LAUNCHES NEON: GLAAD has unveiled a new digital content series, Neon, a bid to increase the visibility of the Black LGBTQ community and their experiences. Throughout the month, a photo and video a Black LGBTQ figure will be released. “GLAAD’s continued commitment to communities of color is exemplified with the launch of Neon. We hope to help shift the narratives of underrepresented communities in media, especially for the Black LGBTQ community and their allies. With an increase in violence and murders of Black Trans women, LGBTQ youth suicides, and a decrease in LGBTQ acceptance, Neon comes at a time when it’s absolutely critical to showcase diverse, fair, and accurate representations of Black LGBTQ people within the media” said DaShawn Usher, Programs Officer, Communities of Color and producer of Neon.