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Career > > 1996 > The Siskel & Ebert Interviews

The Siskel & Ebert Interviews

May 15, 1996 | CBS Television | 45 minutes
Directed by: Steve Kroopnick
Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert hosted "Siskel and Ebert and The Movies" since 1986 and soon became America's favorite film critics for their notably divergent tastes, and as a result, heated arguments and spats added to the series' popularity. To celebrate 20 years of reviewing movies together, Siskel and Ebert sat down with some of Hollywood's biggest names at that time (and pretty much all time). Tom Hanks, who just won a second consecutive Oscar for "Forrest Gump", Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt as well as director Steven Spielberg.
Cast: Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt

Meryl Streep and Gene Siskel first visited Yale University for a discussion with students, and then sat down at Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria (seriously) for an interview about Meryl’s early years and her successful film career. She recalls, at Yale, she was put on academic probation, because of a lack of ambition. “Because I gone into the dean and said that I was cast in too many plays and wasn’t very aquitable, because I was picked over and over. There were only twelve people in my class and I was playing the lead over and over again. People were mad about it. And I’m greedy, but not in the extreme. And I loved my classmates and didn’t like feeling their anger. I went to the psychatrist in Yale, because it was free and I was going to graduate in four months. But he said, ‘don’t worry about that. In four months it’ll never be as bad as this. It’ll never be as intense. You’ll be in competition with the other 200.000 members of the actors equity. And believe me it will be a relief’. And it was.”

Gene Siskel reminded Meryl of telling him years earlier of always having a technique to keep a secret about a character – keeping it from the co-star or director but treating it as some sort of a private agenda. Asked about that secret in “Kramer vs. Kramer”, Meryl said that in her mind, Joanna never really loved Ted. “I didn’t want [Dustin] to know that, because it would have affected everything of the way he played his part”. Streep recalls shooting the pivotal choice scene in “Sophie’s Choice” and – the most recent film at the time of this interview – shooting “The Bridges of Madison County”.

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