Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Look at that. You blew out my light"

It's a comic line from Sister Aloysius that Streep sells gamely in film and trailer (Doubt opens this weekend in several major markets) ... but offscreen there's no blowing Meryl Streep's light out. The woman has charisma to spare. She could probably function as a generator in a blackout on her starpower alone.

I neglected to mention that I saw Doubt a second time last week at a BAFTA screening. There was a Q & A afterwards with all four stars. Meryl, who was obviously suffering from a cold and struggling her way through the conversation, kept the crowd in stitches between her coughing and throat clearing. She's such an entertainer. She got laughs at writer/director John Patrick Shanley's expense arguing with him about rehearsal situations and when someone asked her how she learned the accent. "Listen to him" she deadpanned. "That's who I was listening to all day." Later in the Q & A, my favorite moment occurred, Meryl was asked about working with the very old fashioned nun's habits. She was asked about the authenticity of the threads.
They were exact and we had all our little hall monitors, you know, real nuns up there...just lurking, correcting us
And when asked if the costumes helped with her acting choices...
Me, I love a uniform. I mean --no decision!
[pause]
I'm sure it's horrible for people who love fashion...
and right there, voice trailing off, she lightly stroked Amy Adams arm to her side. Result: Another eruption of laughter from the audience.


This movie star can work a room.
*

24 comments:

Derek said...

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO JEALOUS.

adam k. said...

Yay for Meryl! Yay for Sally! Yay for WALL•E!

SolShine7 said...

LOL. This movie looks so intriguing.

john said...

I posted this comment in the bfca nominees thread, but it makes more sense here:

Do you know what, I honestly think that the academy would choose Meryl over Kate. The reason for this is that they too have to recognise the fact that this woman is still on the top of her game, she's received some sort of resurgence/revival/renaissance, which is still happening at this very moment and which no one could have anticipated. I presume that they know this and will acknowledge her come February, I mean it actually makes sense, receiving another oscar when she's taking on unprecedented new heights.

Catherine said...

Is it weird to say that while I like (and often love) her enormously as an actor, I almost prefer Streep as a person?

E Dot said...

But did you like it more or less than when you initially saw it?

Billy Held An Oscar said...

Is she real ? Did you touch her ?

gabrieloak said...

If Doubt bombs, I don't think the Academy is going to award Streep.

NATHANIEL R said...

she is real. but i did not touch her. I have manners ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

ok maybe she was a hologram

NATHANIEL R said...

e dot. i liked it less. i mean the play is really fun. and the ideas are fun and the presentation is fun (i know this is a weird way to describe a mystery about molestation... but the screenplay/play is very pop philosophy and the play is quite funny in some ways) but i just think it's not really the much of a movie.

that said it's enjoyable to watch and VIOLA DAVIS knocks the crucial scene out of the park which goes a long way toward making the whole thing sing.

catherine i don't think that's so weird. She doesn't get a lot of credit for it (probably because she's older and married and didn't use to even live in LA) but she's a great celebrity she could teach so many younger actors how to tell an anecdote or deal with interviews or give acceptance speeches or whatnot. the only part of the celebrity business she's never been great at is the fashion but then... she obviously doesn't care that much about that part.

E Dot said...

I can understand that. I felt the same way with 'Sweeney Todd'. I thought Tim Burton did what he could with it, but John Doyle's production with Patti Lapone was phenomenol. The symbolism and what the audience didn't see was the best part.

On that note, I must see 'Doubt' on stage...

Chris Na Taraja said...

I had the pleasure of seeing her live in MOther Courage in Central Park, and, if this is even possible, she is better live than on film. Her presence is joyous, intelligent and contagious

Chris Na Taraja said...

oh, and i am available as an escort for these events for a very very low price.

Barry, Milwaukee said...

Wait. You were in the same room with Meryl Streep? And Amy Adams? Really? And you're just now mentioning it? Just now. Really. I mean, that's important shit. I mean, Nathaniel, how is it that I could become your best friend, maybe roommate even, so that I could accompany you to these gatherings? I won't bother you too much. I just need to have the opportunity to be that close to these people. I don't think that's going to ever be the case here in Milwaukee. Wisconsin. The land of nothing but skinny scarf wearing hipsters and mom jean wearing middle aged adults. SAVE ME!

NATHANIEL R said...

Barry... it sounds like the only thing that could save you would be a plane ticket ;)

but as a midwesterner myself (originally) I salute you and your plight!

Deborah said...

Why would anyone ask HER how she learned an accent? She does it by breathing!

You know what? I bumped into her in a crowd leaving a performance of Prairie Home Companion at Town Hall. It was before the movie came out and I didn't make the connection until much later. And she was wearing the same earrings in your photo.

NATHANIEL R said...

she loves the HOOP i guess

jimmy said...

was this event in NY or LA?

NATHANIEL R said...

NYC that's where The Film Experience comes to you from. (I'm one of the few NYers. Most of the other oscar pundits are typing at you from LA)

i'm not sure where the pic is from ;) --not from my event. it was just a nice illustration for my story.

Nick M. said...

It's amusing that you chose that line to introduce Meryl, since I wish she had more lines like that in the film where she could show her peerless, deadpan timing. I'm not a big fan of the performance, but I mostly blame Shanley for trapping Meryl in a corner of snarls and twitches.

If you'd like me to elucidate on my opinion, check out my review, which targets the film's need for more dry humor [shameless plug!]:

http://thelmagazine.com/6/35/Film/film7.cfm?ctype=2

NATHANIEL R said...

terrific review Nick!

Lisa said...

OMG Nate, you're such a lucky duck! Is she as naturally beautiful/fascinating in real life as she is on pictures? What was she wearing? How long was the Q&A?

*slaps self to calm down*

And the picture in your post is from the Doubt LA premiere. Just thought I'd say.

Ben said...

Sweet Jesus, what if Mamma Mia! actually helps Meryl at the Oscars? I hated that movie, but it's kind of her blockbuster. Hrm.

I guess I just would really like to see Kate get an Oscar, though it seems she needs a critics' prize soon to keep momentum up.