Jun 13
2020

We conclude our weekly series on Meryl Streep’s films of the 1990s, which started 12 weeks ago and was originally designed with the thought that our lives would have been back to normal 3 months later. Unfortunately this is not yet the case. To all visitors, readers and friends, stay healthy and strong. And enjoy a Saturday dose of “Music of the Heart” if your’e strong enough :-)

The combination of Wes Craven and Meryl Streep in the late 1990s seemed like the most far-fetched idea Hollywood could offer around that time. After all, Craven had single handedly revived the slasher genre with „Scream“, the following films in the franchise and countless knock-offs of who did what when during Summer vacation. Of course, Craven wasn’t new to the genre – he created „A Nightmare on Elm Street“ in 1984, significantly mixed horror cliches with humor and satire and became the „Master of Horror“ for legions of fans. So, what could he possibly be filming with Meryl Streep, if it wasn’t a part of Ghostface’s crazy mother? The story behind the making of „Music of the Heart“ is a prime example to never judge a book by its cover, nevermind how bloody or gory it may be.

“Music of the Heart” tells the story of real-life teacher Roberta Guaspari as she rebounds from a painful divorce and moves to New York with her two sons to start what’s become the hugely popular East Harlem Violin Program. “I wouldn’t have the ability to play the violin. I never would have even thought about it without the gift of that program,” she said during a interview with the Los Angeles Times prior to the film’s release. „“The only reason that I’ve fought so hard through the years is that I love teaching, and I don’t want to stop. The only thing that’s changed in my life now is that I’ve got 10 more things to do all the time.” Guaspari hesitated when Miramax Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein asked to do a feature based on her life, and then told her that a man known for horror films would direct the project. “I was really frightened, to be quite honest. It was like selling myself to have to put my life up on the screen. All of my friends and family said, ‘No, don’t let them do it,’ ” Guaspari says. But she is satisfied that Weinstein and Craven kept their promise to take care of her story, though it is one that presents a slightly warmer classroom atmosphere than the more disciplined learning environment favored by the real-life instructor.

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Oct 12
2016

This update comes with a story, a personal one for Simply Streep. As you know this website runs in its 17th year, which is insane – it’s probably older than many of our visitors. Back in 1999, when I started this as a project, it was way harder to get hold of material. A fellow German, Anke, who has been a tremendous help over the years, sent me a VHS tape with some of Meryl’s talkshow appearances she did in the late 90s, among them her first visit on David Letterman’s late show, one of her first talkshow appearances. I had to learn the hard way that American NTSC tapes could not be played properly on European PAL recorders (in case any of you remembers a video cassette), so all faces turned out green like the Incredible Hulk and it was almost impossible to watch. I tried just about everything to get a video copy for Simply Streep, but nothing worked out. So I just settled and thought, with Youtube and other sources emerging, “one day it’ll be on Youtube”. That thought came and went for the past 17 years.

Well, mark you calendars. Today, with many thanks to Youtuber Daniel Poitras, the Letterman appearance has been posted in its entirity, and in good old fashioned VHS quality. The interview runs for a whopping 13 minutes, which is so much more than today’s talkshow snippets. Also, she gives the best excuse for declining to appear on Letterman’s show for 20 years. I’m so happ to finally add this to the archive, it makes Simply Streep feel a whole lot more complete. Enjoy the clip and make sure to view the screencaptures in the photo gallery.

Mar 26
2000

Hilary Swank was awarded with the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in “Boys Don’t Cry”. Meryl, who attended the ceremony with her husband and her daughter Grace, was nominated in the same category for “Music of the Heart”.

Feb 15
2000

Meryl has received yet another Oscar nomination in the Best Actress category for her performance in “Music of the Heart”. She’s nominated alongside Annette Bening (American Beauty), Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds), Julianne Moore (The End of the Affair) and Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry). The Oscars will be handed out this March.

Jan 24
2000

The Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama went to Hilary Swank for her performance in “Boy’s Don’t Cry”. Meryl was nominated in the same category for “Music of the Heart”. Cross your fingers when the Oscar nominations are announced on February 15, 2000.

Dec 20
1999

Meryl was nominated for the Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) Golden Globe Award for her performance in “Music of the Heart”, alongside Annette Bening (American Beauty), Julianne Moore (The End of the Affair), Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry) and Sigourney Weaver (A Map of the World). The Golden Globes will be handed out next January.

Oct 26
1999

Meryl Streep has attended  the New York premiere of “Music of the Heart” alongside her family, as well as co-stars Angela Bassett, Gloria Estefan – and the real-life Roberta Guaspari, who is played by Meryl in the film.

Apr 24
1999

Meryl Streep attends the Venice Film Festival to promote her new movie “50 Violins”, which was now renamed to “Music of the Heart”. The drama has it’s world premiere in Venice and will release in cinemas this fall.