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Meryl Streep: “I'm not always happy”

July 13, 2011

Mrs. Streep, do you like to cook at home?

Some nights I like it, some nights I don’t. I’ve started meals and then just said, “Oh God!” and thrown it in the sink. I have done that and said, “We’re getting pizza, that’s it.” And then I’ll go lie down in my room in a funk. When my children were very young and I was working I had someone cooking for me. I don’t have a cook now, I haven’t had one for a number of years and I do it myself. But when they were all little it was hard to pay attention to everyone’s homework at the end of the day and make dinner.

So what is your specialty today?

Lately I’ve been making a lot of pasta. It’s easy. There are unusual tastes that you can combine. I cook because my kids like a certain kind of thing and then they want it over and over. My daughter now likes pasta with cauliflower, fresh parsley, tarragon, and ricotta salata. So you boil the cauliflower and then you put the pasta in the cauliflower water, so you cook it until the flavor goes through. Then you just toss all the other things fresh.

How do you combine a very consuming career and motherhood?

Well, the first thing is a great husband. That I found many years ago and I am lucky in that way. And then you have to have a lot of stamina. And you have to have very good organizational skills. I feel like I run a business although I haven’t one. It’s planning, planning, and planning.

How do you feel about your children going into acting as well?

I am proud that my daughters want to do this. But I am also frightened for them, too. Because when criticism comes your way as an actor they are not criticizing your writing or your painting or your piece, they are criticizing you! It is hard to put that away in a place where you are not hurt by it and that is my fear for them. But I would never say don’t do it, because I think it is a glorious profession and I am so thankful for everything it has let me express.

My impression is that you always seem to be quite happy. Is that really the case or is that your public persona?

I am not always happy. I am happy in front of the press. I can be extremely grumpy, ask my husband. (Laughs)

What makes you happy?

Everything that truly makes us happy is quite simple: love, sex, and food! Everything else – power, influence, strength – all those things can overpower what’s important in life. But as long as you have food and shelter over your head, if the necessities are taken care of, what makes us happy on top of that is very simple.

That point of view is often connected to the way people were brought up. Are you much like your own mother?

My mother was someone that walked into a room and lit it up. She made friends easily and she communicated her enthusiasms with great joy. I always wanted to be more like my mother than I am. I loved and admired her very deeply. She chose to see the best parts of life and didn’t choose to look at what’s wrong and what’s holding her back or anything negative.

Have you ever envied anybody in your life?

Oh, yeah. I mean, yeah! I envied Jessica Lange when she got Sweet Dreams. That was such a great movie; she was beyond wonderful in it. I wished for things that I haven’t had, but I have to say my blessings are pretty great, so I have no complaints.

Sophia Loren once said she hates you because you stole her part in The Bridges of Madison Country with your acting skills.

Well, I don’t think Sophia hates me because I just met her for the first time in my life at the last Academy Awards and she gave me the most wonderful embrace and she made me very happy. I am such a fan of hers and a great admirer of hers and always have been and so is my husband. He has never recovered from that moment where she came out of the sea. (Laughs)

Do you like your image as the “go-to” actress for serious dramas?

I’ve always done all sorts of things all along the way. Whatever film you first appear in, however people first perceive you, it’s like the first impression coming in the door and that’s the thing you are associated with. The first few things that I was in were dramas, but in drama school I was never in a serious or realistic play. No, there was just one. I was in The Father and I played the young daughter. Everything else were comedies for three years. But that was the time.

You have worked with Hollywood’s elite. Who was your favorite director?

I don’t have a favorite director just like I don’t have a favorite color or I don’t have a favorite food. I like everything. There have been directors that I did not enjoy working with, but for the most part I realize that I have been unbelievably spoiled in my career because I have worked with some of the greatest, greatest directors ever.

Is there anybody you never had the chance to work with but still would love to?

Yes, I would like Martin Scorsese to be interested in a female character once in a while, but I don’t know if I’ll live that long. There are also a lot of wonderful directors that I would love to work with again. I love Spike Jonze. I loved working with Wes Anderson, but I was a fox, so I would like to work with him as a human some time.

Are you, the great Meryl Streep, ever afraid of roles?

You can’t do your job and be afraid. You can be afraid in a press conference, nervous, sweaty, but you can’t be afraid when you do your work because it doesn’t work that way.

So you never get nervous anymore?

I get nervous the more time I have to think about something so I deliberately don’t give myself too much time between jobs. I take a big break and then I start working again usually.

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Short Profile

Name: Mary Louise Streep
DOB: 22 June 1949
Place of Birth: Summit, New Jersey, USA
Occupation: Actress

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24 Responses to this Interview

  1. Very interesting interview. Refreshing!Love Meryl’s fashionista pic.

  2. She´s really wonderful, a nice people, a excellent actress . I love her. I live in Brazil, but i´m always following her jobs. COngratulation Meryl Streep, you are amazing. My dream is know you, maybe someday… I hope so

  3. gosh I adore her!
    Shes so intelligent funny and simply amazing

  4. Wish she would go back more to theatre! I would travel the world to see her on stage! I missed mother courage years ago, Im not gonna miss a second chance!

  5. What a beautiful sexy picture of her! Great interview too by the way!

  6. she is such an inspiration! I adore her..

  7. Claudia Vanessa Quaiotti

    Eu amo Meryl Streep.
    Também compartilho o sonho da Erika Atanazio, de um dia, poder conhecer pessoalmente essa grande atriz mundial.
    Quem sabe, um dia, ela vem fazer a estreia de um filme seu aqui no Brasil. Até lá, nos deliciamos com seus filmes, fotos, entrevistas…

  8. So wonderful interview, I really adore this woman, absolutely stunning and she seems to be such a warm and lovely person. Meryl Streep, I love you (Y)

  9. That was a very interesting & funny interesting interview…Meryl, you’re just so wonderful & beautiful…i cannot wait to see you new movie ‘The Iron Lady’ but i have to wait until next year…keep on making movies, Meryl!!

  10. I beg to disagree with Ms Streep as to Scorsese and female characters.
    What about The Age of Innocence ?

  11. whoah. I thought she was always happy, because actually she always smiles and it’s just pretty but then she said she’s not she gets to be extremely grumpy…

  12. “Yes, I would like Martin Scorsese to be interested in a female character once in a while, but I don’t know if I’ll live that long… I loved working with Wes Anderson, but I was a fox, so I would like to work with him as a human some time.”

    Hahaha, that was hilarious!

  13. She’s great, talented, wonderful, beautiful, lovely person and the greatest actress. No one will ever reach her height even though these days some actresses are being compared. I love her!

  14. She is an INSTITUTION! AN ACADEMY! I doubt that there will ever be a greater actress than her ever again! Love her!

  15. Love Meryl <3 you're wonderful actress.

  16. the best artista of the mundo

  17. Winnie McCallister

    I love you so much Meryl ♥
    You’re my only one greatest favourite actress ♥
    I want to say “Please make many movies of yours cuz you can get more Oscars”
    ♥ love you so much ♥

  18. I adore you Meryl Streep. You are simply great.

  19. great interview that shows that she is a human being with a wonderful soul, especially when she admits the credit is to her husband. LOVE that.

  20. A bit dumb title, really – who IS always happy?

  21. she can sing, play comedy, play tragedy, dance… She can make you laugh and she can make you cry. She can transform her body Language, her voice into any character, so gifted, so talented!

  22. Ronnie Shantz/Robinson

    “It’s like the first impression, and that’s what everyone associates you with”. It seems to work that way as a writer and perhaps other artists as well. Hard to break away from it the point. Interesting. Why may be a motive inclued as an undercurrent, perhaps.

  23. She may not have all the materials to character, but she knows to how built and use it . she is one of the greatest among others like Veneesa redgrave, jane fonda, spohia loren,

  24. Giovanna Panzini

    She’s the best! Great interview, thank you for that.

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