Fast-rising star Mamie Gummer (“Cake,” “Side Effects”) gets the chance to be paired in scenes with her famous mother, Meryl Streep, in Columbia Pictures’ critically acclaimed drama-comedy “Ricki and The Flash.”
From Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody, “Ricki and the Flash” is an original film loaded with live musical performances. Streep stars as Ricki Rendazzo, a guitar heroine who made a world of mistakes as she followed her dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom. Returning home, Ricki gets a shot at redemption and a chance to make things right as she faces the music with her family.
A mother-daughter story at its core, the real-life frisson that results gives the film added potency. Demme insisted that the two not talk outside of the scenes. Very close in real life, their estrangement on film is as palpable as their resemblance. True genetics adds a rare level of reality to the film.
“Mamie is very dramatic and always has been, from the age of three – or maybe three months – so we’ve been acting together for a long time,” says Streep. “I’m so in awe of her and her willingness to go barebones at it. It’s tough to come into our business, with a mother who’s so prominent in Hollywood, but kids have a unique vision of their parents, which is not really to put them on a pedestal. So, finding a way to be mad at me, manufacture rage – no problem.”
“Having known Meryl for years, I’ve also known Mamie personally, but also as an actress,” says producer Marc Platt. “I’ve always felt that she’s a terrific actress and there’s that role out there for Mamie that would make her a star. When I read the script and was thinking of Meryl in the role of Ricki, the thought came into my head that this would be a perfect role for Mamie. That would be true whether or not Meryl was playing Ricki, but when you add in the fact that it’s a mother-daughter story and Meryl would be playing the mother, I thought, this is that role.”
“She owns the role of Julie,” says Platt. “She’s made Julie even more interesting and complex and moving, and her relationship with her mom is fraught with complexity and love and anger and a whole mix of emotions.”
“Julie and Ricki are completely different, but as it turns out, they have incredible similarities,” says Demme. “The way they become close is really terrific. It was a lot of fun working with Mamie. Part of my job was to try to put a wedge between her and her mother – ‘That’s not your mom. That’s not Meryl Streep. This is a whole other mother we’re dealing with, and let’s team up and really give her a very tough ride, because she deserves it.’”
As one might expect, acting against one of cinema’s most renowned actresses, who also happens to be her mother, was an inspiring, but demanding, experience for Gummer. “It was more challenging than I anticipated, but also very rewarding and a rich experience,” she says. “It was tricky and fun and enlightening and empowering – every human emotion came into play. She’s the person who I’m intrinsically connected to, so to examine that bond and take it apart and put it back together every day was intense.”
“I think Ricki has always loved Julie, but has been so paralyzed by guilt over what she’s done, she’s been afraid to reach out,” Gummer explains. “In this story, she finally has an opportunity – suddenly Ricki is not the troubled person in the family. She can come in and say, from experience, that it gets better and it’ll be okay.”
“Julie was so committed to not being her mother,” says Gummer. “She was planning to be a stay-at-home mom. She was going to devote her life to her family and be the kind of mother that Ricki never was to her. So when it all blows up, she doesn’t know who she is or what her purpose is.”
“Diablo Cody created an amazing character, and Mamie brings her to life – she’s shocking and hilarious and heartbreaking and unpredictable,” says Demme. “She just slays it beyond belief.”
To be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas nationwide starting Sept. 9, “Ricki and the Flash” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.