If a dictionary were made up of images
instead of words, one contender for the definition of “actor” would
be a picture of Meryl Streep.
As Scribe Grrrl blogged about in August, Streep’s new movie, Lions for Lambs,
premieres November 7. With its release less than a month away, and Streep speaking about it in interviews, it’s worth another look. I may spring for this one at the theatre out
of curiosity: It’s one that could stir a little controversy.
Set against the backdrop of the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and
the War on Terror, Streep plays a journalist, Janine Roth, on the scent
of a big story with bigger policy implications.
Can I pause a moment to say that Streep
is looking smarter, more powerful and consequently sexier than ever?
(I, too, have a girl-in-glasses fetish.) In
Lions for Lambs, Streep throws down with Tom Cruise (not
literally, though I bet she could take him), who plays a pro-war GOP
senator, over a bombshell story that could shape policy on the war.
Robert Redford directs and also stars as a university professor
whose story fits in there somehow (I got bored reading the IMDb plot synopsis, sorry). If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the
So here’s what’s new. This week, she spoke with Times Online about the movie and her career, and only added to my adoration
of her. (I’m going to ignore the usual annoying questions directed
at every successful woman about how she can possibly manage to cope
with her personal and professional lives.)
Naturally, the conversation
begins with politics. Streep expects the movie to be perceived
as anti-war, but claims that it raises questions more than offering
opinions. However, she does speak to her own view of the upcoming
I’m glad that there seems to
be change. People are holding their breath. That’s why you don’t see
masses on the streets — they know he’s [Bush] going. I’ll be relieved
when the whole group is out. I think in a way things had to get this
bad before they got better. It would be nice to have a woman president.
I think half the Senate should be women, half of Parliament, half the
You and me both, Meryl. She also
reports that her childhood ambition was to work for the United Nations,
as a result of a trip there at age 10: “There were all these
women in booths in headphones. I thought it was so cool. They were taking
the language of one culture and translating it to another.”
As for acting, she “suspected”
it “in a puritan way. It didn’t seem serious or contributing to the
betterment of the world.” I, for one, am glad she got over that.
However, she says still wonders, “When I grow up what will I do with
my life?” I, for one, can also relate. Then again, I’m
not an award-winning actor, so maybe not. The downside of fame,
she reports, is being watched, in part because it makes her self-conscious,
but also because she would rather observe others: “I always think,
‘Why are they watching me? I want to watch her’.”
When the reporter reminded her that
she is labeled one of the greatest actors now in Hollywood, this was
“It does not go in. It can’t.
How can it? It’s not like I haven’t tried to believe it. [laughs]
But I don’t. They just say that about me because I’ve been around a
Or because she’s got skills.
As for being around “a long time,” Streep brushes off any questions
about turning 60 in a couple of years:
“Oh, that’s miles away.
I’ve lost enough people and had enough be ill to know that all the people
who whine about getting old should just shut up. Because of the
ones who are not here, who didn’t make it this far. My God, what a thing
to whine about. Imagine! I have no patience for it. We are just lucky
to be here. Every second we’re lucky.”
Streep’s upcoming projects include
playing Donna in Mamma Mia!
and a role as Sister Aloysius in the adaptation of the controversial
play Doubt, opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman.