Akira Kurosawa had Toshiro Mifune. Ingmar Bergman had Liv Ullmann. Martin Scorsese still has Robert De Niro (and Leonardo DiCaprio), from time to time. To the shortlist of immortal director-actor collaborations, we must add Kelly Reichardt and Michelle Williams, a power duo now gearing up for their fourth film together.
In a conversation between Reichardt and fellow filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan on the A24 podcast, the news broke that she will re-team with Williams for the upcoming Showing Up, a “vibrant and sharply funny” project that sounds like a departure from the gentle stoicism of First Cow. The podcast also mentions that they plan to commence shooting this summer, hopefully with more widespread vaccinations simplifying the production process.
In the new project, Williams plays an artist “on the verge of a career-changing exhibition” which rearranges her personal life as well. Her many interactions with friends, family, and colleagues complicate her life even as their stresses provide her with inspiration she can channel back in to her work. As with most of Reichardt’s work, expect the film to be driven as much by character and mood than plot.
Showing Up will follow Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, and Certain Women in the Reichardt-Williams canon, all of which capitalized on their star’s combination of understated hardiness and vulnerability. In interviews, Reichardt has said she values Williams for her confidence, curiosity, and unpredictability; Williams prizes the challenges of subdued minimalism that Reichardt’s directing demands of her.
The brief description of the plot suggests a larger cast, and so the coming months will surely bring additional announcements of that nature. Perhaps Richardt will also tap Lily Gladstone for another role, making this their third film in a row together.
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