Even though Ryan Murphy’s only big-screen writer/director credit has been the botched, critically lambasted 2006 adaptation of Augusten Burroughs’ “Running With Scissors,” he’s considered a creative heavyweight because of a pair of TV triumphs. First came “Nip/Tuck” and then the staggeringly popular “Glee.” And now, accompanied by heaps of hype, his “Eat Pray Love,” based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s autobiographical best seller and starring Julia Roberts, has landed at your local cineplex.
In a celebratory mood, Murphy recently dined and chatted with Brooks Barnes at L. A.’s Chateau Marmont for an interview published in The New York Times Arts & Leisure section on August 8, just five days before the film’s opening. Unsurprisingly, no mention was made in The Times article of “Dirty Tricks,” Murphy’s movie starring Meryl Streep  as Martha Mitchell, the woman who drove Richard Nixon as nutty as he ever got.

One can certainly understand Barnes not knowing what to say about Murphy’s cinematic version of John Jeters’ Off Broadway comedy-drama. Or if the movie is even for real. Wikipedia finally deleted its page giving details about "Dirty Tricks,"possibly because nobody involved with the project would confirm or deny rumors about Paramount’s plan to either shoot it or scrap it.

Yahoo! Movies, on the other hand, reports that 17 of its site users have actually submitted reviews of the finished film, giving it an overall rating of B-minus. On February 21, 2007, JessicaV, one of those volunteer critics, rhapsodized: “This Movie is Worth Seeing. Meryl Streep does a tramendes Job In This Movie. As She Always Does. It may not sound like a good Movie but It is a Must See Movie.” (To which I’d like to add, “You can’t BUY a review like that!”)

IMDB, playing it safe, lists “Dirty Tricks” as a PENDING PRODUCTION. As for me, all I know is what I posted ages ago on (see below). And I must say the flick sounds like a lot more fun than “Eat Pray Love.” --Guy Flatley



Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jim Broadbent, Annette Bening, Jill Clayburgh, Sharon Stone (Written and directed by Ryan Murphy; Paramount)

They called her Martha the Mouth, Mouth of the South or simply Moutha. Her real name was Martha Mitchell, and she was the full-throttle wife of John Mitchell, Attorney General to President Richard M. Nixon.

Never one to hold back, Martha, who died in 1976, had this to say about her hubby’s boss: “Nixon bleeds people. He draws every drop of blood and then drops them from a cliff. He’ll blame any person he can put his foot on.”

Nor did Martha go all that easy on Mitchell himself, referring to him at one point as “that gutless, despicable crook.” Is it any wonder that in an effort to shut her up, her enemies eventually drugged her and held her captive in a California hotel room?

Ryan Murphy, director of “Running With Scissors” and TV's popular "Glee," was long ago announced as the helmer of this adaptation of John Jeter’s play about the woman who spilled the beans that hastened Tricky Dick's departure from the White House. And, best news of all, Murphy had the smarts to cast Meryl Streep as the biggest Moutha ever. Also on prominent display: Jim Broadbent and Jill Clayburgh as Dick and Pat Nixon; former off-screen sweethearts Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow as John and Maureen Dean; Sharon Stone as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham; and Annette Bening as Helen Thomas, the White House correspondent who received many a late-night phone call from the whistle-blowing Martha.

The film, to be distributed by Paramount, is a production of Plan B Entertainment, the company in which co-producer and co-star Pitt was once partnered with former spouse Jennifer Aniston.

Opening date to be announced, but who knows where or when?