KINDLY REFUSING TO BECOME A HOLLYWOOD STAR, MERYL STREEP: “WHATEVER MAKES YOU DIFFERENT AND EXTRAORDINARY IS YOUR POWER!”
She is accepted among the most successful and respected actors of the world at the age of 68. The actor who has Oscar, Academy, Cannes, and Golden Globe awards achieves to remain attractive at any age and role. Despite the strict standards of Hollywood, she chooses naturalness at cosmetics and care. She stays away from the sun; swims 3-4 days of the week; she chooses organic foods and is involved with an organization that supports organic farming. She presented an extraordinary performance in her first movie Julia (1977) and she was nominated for her first Oscar with her role in The Deer Hunter the following year (1978). She won an Academy Award with her performance in Sophie’s Choice. The character, a mother who is imprisoned in a Nazi death camp, she animated in this movie is never forgotten.
What did you like to be when you were a child?
I wanted to become a translator to solve the conflicts between people, that was what I was dreaming.
Why did you choose to become an actress?
Some young people say that they’d choose to become an actor because it seems so entertaining from the outside. They think that their existence will gain meaning by becoming an actor. I chose this profession to understand human behavior in depth. Observing human behavior was interesting to me.
You are a mother of four, did you raise them?
I spent all my time with them except the times I had to work. You know, my profession doesn’t have an address. We get to travel to a different distance for each project. Sometimes, I ask myself if I would still be able to spend that much time with them if I had a desk job. No matter how busy I am, a part of my mind and my attention have always been at home. I always have been able to take care of things at home as well as the sets.
What is your criterion when it comes to choosing the movie you will play in it?
I cannot tell that every decision I have made during my career was right in terms of artistry. My decisions were not always correct; however, sometimes a vacation that you take might become more important than a job.
What do you see when you look back at your youth from today?
I used to be so careful about my weight than. I realize that it was not that important but this is show business, so our appearance is important, but again there are different views on that and we animate them.
Where did you receive your acting education?
Yale University School of Drama. I was influenced very much by my three teachers there and learned a lot from them. We had a poetry reading class; dance and singing as well. The teachers of these three classes had taught us very well. Our singing teacher used to say that “Everyone can sing,” and achieve to have all of us sing at the end of the year.
What do you read?
I like to read books based on real life stories.
How do you prepare for a role? Rumors tell that what you listen to when you are preparing for a role is very important for you.
I search as much as possible about the role I am going to play. In fact, I became addicted to YouTube nowadays. I came across the videos of a choir that is formed of British children. They are so young and they are not famous but I thought the song was full of emotions and beautiful.
So, do you spend most of your time by clicking on videos on YouTube?
The problem is that you watch a video and you like it, later you get the same expectation for other videos and you begin to click on videos. I have never been that much addicted to YouTube before.
Who is your most favorite singer?
Barbara Streisand. I used to listen to her albums when I was 16. Her way of singing had a huge effect on me because she was also an actress. I used to want to be an opera singer before the School of Drama.
What are the things that you got to learn for the movies?
Many things but I cannot forget rafting and playing violin.
As a successful actress, what do you think acting resembles?
Acting resembles flying; acting is as beautiful as flying.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a humanist. I defend a good balance.
What would you have to say about Hollywood?
Hollywood continues to be an industry which is directed by men and the female roles are limited to usually animating sexy girlfriends, mothers, or lovers.
Do you make plans for the future?
I used to, yes, when I was younger. I always thought about where the journey would take me but now I am thinking that finding myself in a new situation after letting myself go with the flow is not a problem.
You refuse to become a star, why is that?
You are right; I live a very normal life. Most of the time, I am not in Hollywood. Hollywood is a large stage for me. I am aware that I am so lucky and I live a good life.
Do you ever think of retiring?
Yes, I could retire and start collecting my pension at 68. In fact, I am trying to take things slower. Kids left home and scenarios continue to come. I like to read them.
Do you read from the screen or on paper?
I usually read on paper. It is unbelievable how much the internet affects our lives. I confess that I am old school. I grew up with maps and books. I am sure that the future will bring positive changes and we can thank technology for that. Our world is becoming smaller and our society is becoming global. I like that.
How long do you stay on line?
Not much. I spend a lot of time in my garden with my vegetables and roses. I don’t need to look up on Google for how to raise roses.