MERYL STREEP HAS NOT BEEN AFRAID TO AGE IN FRONT OF THE CAM­ERA BUT HER LAT­EST ROLE MAY PROVE TO BE HER MOST CON­FRONTING

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - FILM -

Meryl Streep is play­ing her ugli­est role yet in Au­gust: Osage County. The 64-year-old, three­time Os­car win­ner – who also has a record 17 nom­i­na­tions to her name – re­cently ad­mit­ted in an in­ter­view she was ini­tially re­luc­tant to play Vi­o­let We­ston, the bitchy, dru­gad­dicted fam­ily ma­tri­arch with mouth can­cer.

“When you’re a young ac­tor, you think th­ese roles will be so cool, to imag­ine what it’s like to be close to death and have your fam­ily hate you, but when you’re older and things hap­pen to you, you bleed more eas­ily and it costs more to go into that ter­ri­tory,’’ Streep told one in­ter­viewer.

A close friend caused her to change her mind.

“She said, ‘ You had a great mother who gave you your ap­petite for ex­pe­ri­ence, your cu­rios­ity, your sense of hu­mour. Your mother sang in the kitchen and mine hit me. Your mother made you feel you could do any­thing, while mine made me feel I couldn’t do any­thing.’

“She told me I had to do this movie for her and all the girls like her who had bad moth­ers, who made it in spite of that and to let the oth­ers know it’s OK to leave that be­hind. I re­alised it was worth risk­ing ev­ery­thing to go to this ter­ri­tory where I would be loathed.’’

Streep, who has been mar­ried to sculp­tor Don Gum­mer for 35 years and has four chil­dren with him, says one of the most up­set­ting scenes was with Sam Shep­ard who plays her hus­band Bev­erly.

“To look at him close up and see his loathing of me was re­ally hard,” she says. “You know, you get old, you look old, but you still think that maybe there’s this spark of love from this per­son who has gone through ev­ery­thing. But to look in his eyes and re­alise that he’d rather be dead than look­ing at me, ooh... that was bru­tal.”

Streep is on the record as say­ing she would never un­dergo plas­tic surgery to hold back the years and says she has al­ways thought of her­self as a char­ac­ter ac­tor.

“Even when I was younger, I took on some things that were odd,” she says. As an ex­am­ple, she cites 1988’s Evil An­gels, in which she played Lindy Cham­ber­lain, who was ac­cused of mur­der­ing her baby daugh­ter Azaria af­ter she claims a dingo stole her dur­ing a camp­ing trip near Uluru.

“I’m in­ter­ested in peo­ple’s lives and I like to in­ves­ti­gate the tru­cu­lent ones, the dif­fi­cult ones,” she says.

We­ston cer­tainly boxes for Streep.

“As an ac­tor, you want to go to the house of pain,” she says.

“On many lev­els – phys­i­cally, emo­tion­ally and spir­i­tu­ally – she’s out of it and that’s why she’s drugged at any given time.”

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Au­gust: Osange County is out now

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