Meryl Streep to Play Famously Bad Opera Diva Who Lived in Philly
If you’ve never heard of Florence Foster Jenkins, the famous opera singer of the early 20th century, it’s probably because she was famous for being the worst opera singer of the early 20th century. A new generation will learn about the Wilkes-Barre-born superstar in the upcoming biopic, Florence, starring none other than Meryl “Oscar-bait” Streep.
Jenkins was a socialite born to wealthy Pennsylvanians in 1868. She studied music as a child and wanted to spend her life studying opera. When her parents said no, she eloped with Philadelphian Frank Thorton Jenkins. They divorced a few years later and Jenkins taught piano in Philly until her father died, leaving her with an inheritance that allowed her to follow her operatic dreams. Despite being a terrible singer, Jenkins truly believed she had the voice of her generation. Making her stage debut in New York in 1912, she spent the next 32 years performing for the social elite who loved to hate-watch her tone-deaf performances.
Florence will reportedly culminate in Jenkins’ last show: she played to a sold-out crowd in 1944 at the age of 76 and died just a month later. Streep (who, you know, can actually sing) will of course play Florence, and Hugh Grant is set to co-star as actor St. Clay Bayfield, Jenkins’ longtime partner and protector. Philomena’s Stephen Frears is on board to direct. No word yet on how many award nominations Streep will receive for her role.
Hear Jenkins massacre Mozart in the video below—if you dare!