“Never stand still!”

Meryl Streep

Interview

  • INTERVIEW FRANK SIERING

The grande dame of Hollywood, as active as ever: Meryl Streep talks about being a role model and a tiger mom – and why she loves gift baskets

Ms. Streep, honestly, don’t you sometimes feel that you’re a little bit unfair on others?

Unfair? What did I do? Please tell me what you mean by that.

Every actress in Hollywood knows she has no chance of landing a part if you’re interested in it, too. You’re a very sought-after star …

Oh, how very kind of you. I do believe it‘s a little bit exaggerated, but I cannot complain. I have been very fortunate when it comes to roles. But there are many good women out there who do fantastic work, I’m sure I’m not taking work away from anyone else.

Are there enough good roles for women in Hollywood in every age group?

That’s still a little bit of an issue. It is get­ting better, but it’s not yet good enough. Hollywood remains an industry that is mainly run by men, and the roles for women are often limited to playing the sexy girlfriend, the mother or the lover.

The last film you starred in was Florence Foster Jenkins, and next year we can look forward to seeing you in Mary Poppins Returns. How do you choose your roles?

Which big kid – and I am certainly one of them – doesn’t love Mary Poppins? So to answer your question: I pretty much pick what I fall in love with, whatever speaks to me.

Meryl Streep and De Niro in The Deer Hunter

Attractive on-screen couple: Streep and De Niro in The Deer Hunter (1978)

© ddp

You were a working mom, but your four children are now grown. How did you strike a balance between family and stardom?

Teamwork is everything. My husband Don Gummer was and still is very involved. He is a little more relaxed when it comes to raising kids. I’m more of a tiger mom.

What do you mean by that?

Let me explain: When my son Henry was little he wanted to learn to play the piano, but the teacher we hired was not very good, and Henry lost interest. I thought he should continue to take lessons, but my husband thought it was my dream that I was trying to impose on him. Today, my son is 37 and he is a musician. Tiger-mom Meryl was right!

Teamwork is everything when you’re raising a family

What was the hardest thing about raising children?

You sometimes forget that they grow up. You treat a 14-year-old like a 10-year-old out of habit. A teenager doesn’t like that at all. Then there are breaks in your communication that you need to overcome. That’s not always easy. I’m sure I was too protective at times – kids need to learn to stand on their own two feet.

Are you someone who plans for the future?

When I was younger I was, yes. I always thought about where the journey would take me, but now I don’t mind drifting along and finding myself in new situations. I like it, actually.

You don’t have the aura of a diva, you’re quite down to earth. Doesn’t the glamorous life hold any attractions?

You’re right, I live a pretty normal life. Most of the time I’m not even in Hollywood. For me, Hollywood is the big stage, and I get excited when I get invited to an award show and they give me a big basket with goodies in it.

Do you actually look into those baskets?

Are you kidding me? Of course I do. Often they have products in them that I would never buy because they’re so pricey, but I love getting them and trying them out … some of those lotions are to die for!

Meryl Streep showing her third Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher

Gold for The Iron Lady: Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for her portrayal of former British prime ­minister Margaret Thatcher

© InterTopics

When you look back on your almost 40-year career, what do you see? Have you done everything right?

Oh, everyone makes mistakes along the way; they are part of the journey as long as you learn from them. I know that I am very fortunate and that I live a good life. Overall, I think I would go the same route again. Why not?

When people ask young actresses whom they emulate, your name often comes up. This must feel pretty good, right?

Of course it feels good. But I doubt that I can really be of help to anyone. You never know how thorny the path will be. It’s important to keep moving and to face new challenges.

Can you imagine retiring?

Yes, I could retire and start collecting a pension at 67. I am, in fact, trying to slow things down a little. But the kids are out of the house and the scripts keep coming … I really do like to read.

On the screen or on paper?

Mostly on paper, but I know what you mean. It’s pretty incredible how much the Internet is influencing our lives today. I admit that I’m a women of the old-school thought process. I grew up with books and maps. But I am sure the future will bring lots of positive changes, and we can thank technology for that. The world has become smaller and our community is more global. I like that.

Are you constantly connected or do you tend to stay away from it all?

Oh, I like to stay disconnected at times. I find it important. I spend lots of time in my garden with my veggies and my roses. I don’t need Google glasses to know how to treat my roses!