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17.02.2016 NEWS Exclusive teaser: watch Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins

florence-foster-jenkins.jpg
Streep stars as the worst opera singer of all time in Stephen Frears's new biopic

Meryl Streep has often been celebrated for her extraordinary vocal talents. But in director Stephen Frears's new film, the three-time Oscar winner takes on the voice of Florence Foster Jenkins, a soprano who has been dubbed the worst vocalist of all time.
Born in 1868, Jenkins was a child prodigy as a pianist who performed at the White House in her youth, and later worked as a piano teacher, but fell into poverty after an arm injury left her unable to play the piano. While living with her mother in New York, Jenkins began to dream of becoming an opera singer – despite her lack of natural talent. She fell in love with St Clair Bayfield, a British Shakespearean actor (Hugh Grant) who supported her ambition, and later became her agent and common-law husband.

Jenkins enjoyed a brief notoriety for her woeful performances: "People may say I can't sing," she once remarked, "but no one can ever say I didn't sing." More recently, she has found a second wave of fame online, with her recordings gathering hundreds of thousands of hits on Youtube
.

In this exclusive teaser trailer, we glimpse Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory's Howard) as her long-suffering accompanist, while Grant encourages Streep through a concert and a session in a recording studio. Crucially, we never hear her voice - but the audience reaction shots say it all.

Playing an amateur singer with delusions of grandeur, Streep is revisiting familiar territory: in her last film, Ricki and the Flash, she appeared as an aging would-be rock-star who abandons her family in search of fame.
the real Florence Foster Jenkins, in an undated photograph
The real Florence Foster Jenkins, in an undated photographCredit: Library of Congress

The film’s producers have a strong background in female-led historical drama: Tracey Seaward previously worked with Frears on The Queen, which landed Helen Mirren a Best Actress Oscar in 2006, while Michael Kuhn’s credits include the Bafta-winning Keira Knightley vehicle The Duchess (2008).

Jenkins might not have the cultural heft of Queen Elizabeth II or Georgina Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, but Streep’s performance could well bring lasting fame to one of the early 20th century’s most mocked figures.

Florence Foster Jenkins is released on May 6
12.03.2016 17:43:51
kabby15
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