Meryl Streep Bio Gets Creative Promo

Former Village Voice critic Karina Longworth offers anyone who buys the Jan. 2014 book for Christmas a free T-shirt or poster featuring the actress.

Since Karina Longworth, the Village Voice and LA Weekly film critic, switched to book writing and freelance journalism one year ago, she has finished her third tome, an illustrated 50,000-word feminist coffee-table-book-with-a-brain, Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor, commissioned by Cahiers du cinema, the French publication that invented the auteur theory.

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But she has a problem: It won't be published until Jan. 15, 2014 -- right after holiday shopping season and precisely when those likeliest to cover it will be swamped by Sundance and Oscar nominations.

So Longworth decided to conduct what she says is a fun little experiment. "If you order the book by 6 p.m. EST Dec. 16, I'll send you a free gift: either a limited-edition Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor poster by Zachary Johnson [who did the film posters for Looper and Brick], or a Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor T-shirt." Her idea is to give the poster or T-shirt now "as a placeholder," and the book will arrive soon after. 

"As a journalist covering indie film, I know a filmmaker is his/her own best advocate and salesperson," says Longworth. "I figured it couldn't hurt to apply that same theory to my book."

Longworth declines to speculate on whether August: Osage County, Streep's current film, will boost her book by scoring at the Oscars. "I'm not an Oscar prognosticator. But the book does talk about Streep's Oscar history, as part of an analysis of her as a movie star who has at various times in her career embodied what Hollywood values, while also subverting and fundamentally altering some of those values -- particularly in terms of how the industry responds to powerful and/or aging women."