Rendez-vous with… Meryl Streep

© Amandine Goetz / FDC

An absolute legend and actress of unrivalled talent, Meryl Streep has navigated throughout her fabulous career, from the most harrowing dramas such as Sophie’s Choice (Le Choix de Sophie), to zany roles like Florence Foster Jenkins, or more ambiguous characters such as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, (La Dame de fer) or Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, (Le diable s’habille en Prada). Meet the great Meryl Streep.

How Meryl Streep Felt after Receiving her Honorary Palme d’Or

I had a wave of emotion. This flow of tears in the audience, that was a lot to process. So much love, here, in Cannes, was overwhelming. At home, nobody respects me!


On her take on French cinema

I’m a bit ashamed to admit I don’t see enough films. There are not enough hours in a day, and I am mostly occupied by my family life. Besides, I’m so old that by now I’ve worked with everyone. And if I don’t see their films as a priority, that really makes me a churl! Still, I loved Camille Cottin in every episode of Dix Pour Cent, and I went to bed very late last night because of Dupieux’s film, and I adored it!


On the crucial scene in Sophie’s Choice

Legend has it that we only shot this scene once. Actually, we shot it twice, because the little girl didn’t know what was going to happen on the first take. The second time, she knew that men were going to take her away. This child’s reaction is what makes this scene so moving. I only read the scene once; I just couldn’t. It upset me too much. Nothing prepares you to act in such a scene. It’s like being on the open sea. Your only choice is to throw yourself into the void, since technique will not help you at all.


“Don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up !” 

– Meryl Streep


On female roles today

Today, the biggest stars in the world are women. It was very different when I began. Back then, everything was always centered around a male superstar. Female roles were secondary. Films are projections of the dreams of those who make them. Even major producers have dreams! For women, it was not very difficult to imagine themselves with a male  counterpart, while it was extremely challenging for men to dream with a female character. The first time a man told me about a film, “I know how you feel”, it was for The Devil Wears Prada !.


The qualities of a good director

He must be a confidant. That is the most important. To know what he or she wants to say. Instil confidence in the group.  What is essential is that he or she must want to get something across, even in comedies. When it’s not the case, I go home!


Her memories of shooting The Bridges of Madison County, (Sur la Route de Madison)

Clint Eastwood made this film in five weeks. He worked very fast. He was up at 5 AM so he could be on the golf course that afternoon. Essentially, what you see in the film are the rehearsals. That’s how he works. His team was absolutely frantic! But he never raised his voice. It was great to work that way.


Her advice to young actors

Don’t give up! Don’t give up! Don’t give up!