“The roles given to actresses are wonderful today”: Meryl Streep’s anecdotes and favorites at Cannes

Meryl Streep looked back on her career during a meeting in front of the audience at the Cannes Film Festival, this Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

“The roles given to actresses are wonderful today”: Meryl Streep’s anecdotes and favorites at Cannes

Meryl Streep looked back on her career during a meeting in front of the audience at the Cannes Film Festival, this Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Report.

“I’m so grateful that you haven’t grown tired of me.” It was with these words that Meryl Streep concluded her acceptance speech when receiving the Honorary Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday evening. But how could anyone get tired of this actress with a thousand faces? That of a mother who fights for the custody of her son (Kramer against Kramer), that of this forty-year-old who experiences a passion as brilliant as it is ephemeral (On the road to Madison), that of a ruthless editor-in-chief ( The Devil Wears Prada), a British Prime Minister in decline (The Iron Lady) or that of a mother on the verge of bankruptcy who reconnects with the love of her youth in Greece, while singing all the Abba repertoire (Mamma Mia!).

The public, in any case, did not tire of her, as proved by the numerous laughter and applause which punctuated her reflections during the meeting hosted by journalist Didier Allouch, this Wednesday, May 15, with the festival-goers.

For an hour and a half, Meryl Streep spoke about several aspects of her career and especially the evolution of her profession, she who has become an essential actress while she herself claims to have "a very quiet life without as much of respect" at home.

This is the first time she has returned to the Croisette in 35 years, having received an acting prize at Cannes for A Cri in the Night. Yet it's not the award that is her main memory: She was "terrified" by the fervor and attention paid to her at the time. "I needed a dozen bodyguards, and I normally didn't have any. There weren't as many barriers and the cameras were in your face. I'm not normally a rockstar , I have a very boring life!”

However, his career is so impressive that it could be compared to that of a rockstar. Meryl Streep has received three Oscars and numerous other awards and has established herself as a major figure in Hollywood since the 1960s. During this meeting with the Croisette, the actress displayed all her mischief and humor legendary by looking back on the great films of his career.

For each of them, Meryl Streep has an anecdote. She remembered her memorable monologue in Kramer vs. Kramer, which she wrote herself and which was favored over those by Dustin Hoffman and Robert Benton. She delved into the impact of Journey to the End of Hell, coming from a small town in New Jersey and who saw people leave for Vietnam without returning, or return with trauma. She doesn't like to think about the "upsetting" Sophie's Choice scene, which she did in just two takes. She has delicious memories of the massages provided by Robert Redford in the iconic shampoo scene from Out of Africa, after the advice of her hairdresser, in front of the hippos.

Meryl Streep went back in time and even talked about her acting techniques. Admired for the intensity and accuracy of her performances, she nevertheless did not use any technique to play the most difficult scenes of her career, preferring to return to something "raw" in the intense scenes. Conversely, acting methods are necessary to shoot small everyday scenes that are repeated several times in the same day.

She remembered her collaborations with the greatest and some of her career favorites, Spielberg (“a genius”), Clint Eastwood (“a fantastic author who never got angry, except once because "there was noise"), or Carrie Fischer ("I miss her a lot"). But what makes a good director? “A confident, passionate, trust-building filmmaker with a story to tell.” What if she can’t find all that in a director? “I’m going home to cook.” New hilarity in the audience and loud applause.

"The first movie where men came to me and said, 'I understand how your character feels,' was for The Devil Wears Prada," where she plays a tyrannical editor-in-chief who has several codes of masculinity. “The roles for women are wonderful now,” she notes during this meeting. “So many women today produce their own films, I admire them.” But if she didn't side with the production itself, it's because "[her] family life takes up all [her] free time".

The meeting with Meryl Streep concluded with the valuable advice she could give to young actors, who are going through slumps at the start of their career: “Keep hope. Everything can change after just one film. Don't give up. Don't give up. New fiery applause. It's certain, the public is far from getting tired of Meryl Streep.

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