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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Wisdom from Streep

Janice Page has an excellent interview with Meryl Streep in today's Boston Globe: Straight up Streep (free registration may be required)
I encourage you to read the whole interview, it is well worthwhile. These snippets are my favorite slices to take away.

Is it writing that usually sells you on a part?

Yes, and also over time I began to see -- because I came from plays and I didn't immediately pick up on the inchoate power of film -- that you have to imagine that the director will make the frame say what the words are not.

I think this translates to an endorsement of trust. You need to trust that the director, or leader will do something more with what you can bring to the table.


A reminder that nerves apply to everyone:

I was so nervous that my top lip was moving independent of the rest of my face. It was just kind of whip, whip, whip, whip -- even when I wasn't talking, it was moving. And then [costar] Michael Tucker broke something -- his sleeve caught on an ashtray and it swept off the table -- and all of a sudden we were located in the world of this room. . . . Because the only thing that matters in acting is what you really feel, smell, touch, and hear. All the outside stuff generally goes away within the first half-hour.

And she closes with a reinforcement of total awareness to what you are doing, to focusing on the moment excluding all else.

OK, let me rephrase my original question: What's the difference between a good actor and a great actor?

I guess willingness to take risks and go out on a limb and make a fool of yourself.

Fool, foolishness, having fun... if there is no play, why work?

What is your favorite Streep performance? I am partial to The French Lieutenant's Woman but she has had so many good roles, I find it hard to choose.


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