Oscar-Winning Filmmakers Find Right Tone for "Ricki and the Flash"

Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody collaborate with Meryl Streep in TriStar Pictures’ “Ricki and the Flash.”

In 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.

Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer; Rick Springfield, portraying a Flash member in love with Ricki; Kevin Kline as Ricki’s ex-husband; and Audra McDonald as Kline’s new wife.

“Everyone has part of their past they wish they could change,” says director Jonathan Demme. Ricki is a guitar-shredding, hard-rocking mama, filled with regret for the mistakes of her past, who now has a chance to make things right. “When Ricki sees her daughter in desperate straits,” Demme adds, “she understands that it’s a chance for a certain kind of redemption, and she’s going to make good on all of the bad choices she made in her past.”

“Ricki Rendazzo is definitely a Meryl Streep we’ve never seen before,” Demme continues. “Meryl has been taking these incredible acting chances – bringing to life some famous figures, or the terrifying witch in `Into the Woods,’ she’s doing a lot of extreme characters. In this film, Ricki has her extremes, but Meryl plays it so down-to-earth – an actual, authentic, singing guitar player, a real twenty-first century woman.”

Ricki was born in the mind of Diablo Cody, the Oscar® winning screenwriter of “Juno” and “Young Adult” and the television series “The United States of Tara.”

“When I read the script, initially, I found myself completely rooted in the characters – especially the journey of Ricki, and her relationships with her daughter, her ex-husband, and her new boyfriend,” says Marc Platt, a producer of the film. “By the end of the journey, I was very moved – I was elated. That’s the barometer for me, to see whether I want to get involved or not – do I have that kind of visceral reaction and response when I read a script? And I did. It left something real in my heart upon the first read.”

Cody says that the inspiration for such an original character actually came from real life and very close to home. “The character of Ricki was actually inspired by my mother-in-law, Terry, who is the lead singer in a Jersey Shore rock band called Silk and Steel,” says Cody. “Terry is a grandmother of six, and she’s still up there rocking out every weekend, walking on the bar, just electrifying the audience. Rock ‘n’ roll is her life, and I think there have been people in her life who have thought it was kind of a silly thing for a mom or grandmother to do – and she doesn’t give a damn. I love that about her.”

In the film, Ricki Rendazzo heads from her home in L.A. to be with her daughter, Julie, at a moment of crisis. From her rock ‘n’ roll world, Ricki heads to Indiana, to the life she left behind as Linda Brummell, a wife and a mom of three. Still, Cody notes, as much as Ricki wants redemption, she still wants it on her own terms. “Ricki is Ricki,” she says. “In the past, she was Linda Brummell, Pete’s wife. She was a mom, she lived in Indiana. She doesn’t want to be that again; she’s very secure in her Ricki-ness.”

Bringing the film together is director Jonathan Demme. “If there was ever a script for Jonathan Demme to direct, it’s `Ricki and the Flash,” says Platt. “Think of Jonathan’s work – he’s brilliant with female actresses and roles. He’s made some of the great films with music groups – he lived in the world of rock. The texture of his films is all about diversity and tolerance and different people from different walks of life finding a life together. He was the inevitable choice. So when he called me and said, ‘I have to direct this movie,’ it was music to my ears, but not a surprise.”

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.

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