Simply Streep is your premiere source on Meryl Streep's work on film, television and in the theatre - a career that has won her three Academy Awards and the praise to be one of the world's greatest working actresses. Created in 1999, we have built an extensive collection to discover Miss Streep's work through an archive of press articles, photos and video clips. Enjoy your stay.
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She might not look like it, and, mind you, she is quite an actor, but Meryl Streep is a little seedy. Streep laments that she got to bed in Washington at 3am after a big night out honouring her friend Robert De Niro and had to be up at five. The night before that she had sat in awe of Cate Blanchett’s performance as Blanche DuBois in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Right now she’s jokingly putting in an order for three cups of coffee.
Back in New York again. “I am just so hung-over,” she says, laughing. “I really am.” At 60, Streep feels she perhaps has a right to a vacation over the next few months, and that’s exactly what she intends to do. Instead of winding down her career, she has done seven movies in the past two years – Rendition, Lions for Lambs, Mamma Mia!, Doubt, Julie & Julia, Fantastic Mr Fox and her latest, It’s Complicated. “Yes, I’m going to take a very big break, because I’ve never worked so hard,” she says. “When I was young and pretty, I never worked this much, so, I need a little refurbishment.” She laughs again and adds: “Usually, I would get pregnant around this time. That’s not an option any more.” In fact, her 19-year-old daughter, Louisa, the youngest of her four children with her husband of 30 years, sculptor Donald Gummer, is now at college, though she still comes home to the family’s Connecticut base regularly.
“She’s going to school not very far away, so, she’s at home a lot,” Streep says. “But Don and I looked at each other and realised that we could go somewhere, which was inconceivable for 30 years. “There were so many years where, you know, homework, we were home, we were paying attention.” There are, she says, at least two Meryl Streeps, and one is mostly a media invention. “I can’t describe what this experience is like,” she says. “You just really have no idea. “First, there’s the hyperbolic sort of press thing, where I’m the greatest actress that ever lived. “Then there’s the home, do you know what I mean? At home, the regard and the adulation and everything else _ the hyperbole _ doesn’t exist. “What’s written about me is not reality on any level. “I don’t think there is any such thing as `the best actress’, but we live in a sports mentality where there’s No.1, and then there’s everybody else.
“It’s weird. That’s my rap on it.” It’s complicated, one could be tempted to suggest. “Oh, life is very complicated,” Streep says. “Life has always got something waiting outside the door that you didn’t ever anticipate.” For her latest screen character, Jane, the complications concern winding up in bed with her former husband, Jake (played by Alec Baldwin), 10 years after their divorce. To exacerbate the situation, Jake has married again; Jane is being courted by an architect, Adam (Steve Martin); and their three kids find out Mum and Dad have been “seeing each other” again. The movie, written and directed by Nancy Meyers, required Streep to do several bedroom scenes with Baldwin, but, unlike 64-year-old Diane Keaton in .aif.Something’s Gotta Give.aif (2003), also written and directed by Meyers, Streep did not go the full Monty. She disagrees that having been seen in all her glory would have been brave. “Journalists always say, `It’s so brave, she took her clothes off’,” she says. “No, no, no. That’s not brave.” She returns to her experience two nights earlier, watching Blanchett on stage.
“That performance was as naked, as raw and extraordinary and astonishing and surprising and scary as anything I’ve ever seen, and it didn’t have anything to do with what clothes she took off, you know what I mean? She took the layers of a person and just peeled them away. “I thought I’d seen that play, I thought I knew all the lines by heart, because I’ve seen it so many times, but I’d never seen the play until I saw that performance.” Streep, however, does allow that attitudes appear to have changed towards more mature women being seen as sexy on screen. The late Anne Bancroft, she recalls, was 38 when she played a character that now would be referred to as a “cougar”, Mrs Robinson in Mike Nichols’s .aif.The Graduate.aif, released in 1967. “I just think we’ve changed the prism through which we see this, or something,” Streep says. “We just see it differently now, I think. I hope. “Nancy wrote a line where Steve Martin’s character says (to Streep’s character Jane), `Your age is one of the things I like most about you’, and it was so hard for me to believe that line, because we are so schooled to believe we become uninteresting after a certain age, as women especially.
“But in that line I think she located something just miraculous. “To hear someone say that to you, it means they treasure your experience and the richness of all that you bring to the relationship. “I know I treasure my friends, male and female, because of the things we’ve gone through together or the things they’ve gone through that have made them the people they are. “I just think people get more and more interesting as time goes by and, I don’t know, maybe the movie community is willing to entertain the idea that women are not just witches or crones or crazy lunatics after a certain age, that they can be seen in films in a richer, more three-dimensional way.”
It’s Complicated opens Thursday