Mamma Mia! Is that really Meryl?

Gabrielle Donnelly / 24 August 2015

In her latest film, Ricki and the Flash, Meryl Streep transforms herself again, this time into an ageing rocker dealing with her demons.

On being 66

I don’t feel any different from when I was seven. OK, I know that when I get up out of a chair quickly I feel it, and my knees aren’t what they were, but apart from that it’s pretty good. Someone said to me that the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time, which is a line from a song by James Taylor, and I think it’s true – to enjoy where I am, and be aware of how lucky I am to be here.

On her looks

I’ve never had the idea that some women have, that if they’re more beautiful to look at, then they’ll be loved more, which is not the case at all. I haven’t dieted for 25 years. I wasted a lot of time on that when I was younger and I regret it now, because it was just stupid even thinking about it.

On love

My attitude to love hasn’t changed – I know I still need it and want to give it. And I think I’m like most people in that the things that please us don’t really change from the things they were when we were babies – to be loved, to be touched, to have a good meal and a good sleep. It’s all pretty simple when it comes down to it.

On feeling lucky

My life has been blessed in very many ways. I certainly feel grateful for all the opportunities I have had. I have friends who have not had these same opportunities and I always try to remember how lucky I am. I’m under no illusions about my limitations as a human being, and if I started to forget any of them, I have four children and two brothers to remind me.

On Ricki and the Flash

It’s the story of a woman in a band of 65-year-old-plus musicians who play rock’n’roll in dive bars in the San Fernando Valley. She’s left her family in the Midwest of America to pursue the Hollywood dream, but it didn’t work out. There’s a lot of damage in the wake of it, so she goes home to try to fix it. I get to act with my daughter Mamie, who is a fantastic actress. My ex-husband is played by Kevin Kline, who is just divine, and my current love interest in the film is Rick Springfield, so I had a very nice time.

On her first holiday for five years

I’m really looking forward to the break. The idea of just going out and trawling round some art galleries, going into museums, maybe going swimming, just being in the world. Not working!

On her children

My children [Henry, 35, a musician, Mamie, 32, and Grace, 29, both actors, and Louisa, 24, a model] are all so different. I used to be pretty strict when they were younger, but these days they’re their own people. I try to give them advice, but it just blows back with their hair and out it goes.

On new technology

When I was young, film was shot on film. These days, everything is digital, and everybody is recording everything all the time. It’s as if we can’t believe we have an encounter if we don’t record every second of it. I go to the theatre and people are holding up their iPhones, which is just amazing to me. I’m glad I grew up when I did and had my theatrical training when I did because it’s made me have an imagination.

On age-casting

When I turned 40 I was offered three different witch roles in the same year. Three! I thought, ‘Oh boy, I am clearly not the love interest any more.’ And I was 40! I was still really cute! I’ve since played a witch in Into the Woods and very much enjoyed it. Usually I don’t like the witches in stories because I resent the idea that once a woman becomes old she becomes scary and is vilified and made the cause of all the evil in the town. I took this witch because she was a three-dimensional character with a human heart. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have touched it!

Read Meryl Streep's IMDb here


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