Meryl Streep drew a line when it came to method acting, following her experience making The Devil Wears Prada.
Entertainment Weekly held a reunion for the cast of The Devil Wears Prada earlier this month and for Meryl Streep at least, it was a chance to finally get to know her co-stars. If that sentence sounds odd, then allow us to explain: Streep didn’t spend her time on the set of the popular 2006 film hanging out with her contemporaries. Far from it in fact. As one of the most acclaimed actors of our era, Streep was an advocate of method acting, for certain roles at least.
It was approach that she bought onto the set of Devil. As she saw it, the character of fashion editor Miranda Priestly was a character without a single redeeming feature, which made her to some degree, unknowable.
As she puts it: “I wasn’t interested in doing a biopic; I was interested in her position in her company. I wanted to take on the burdens she had to carry, along with having to look nice every day… Absolute power corrupts absolutely…. I liked that there wasn’t any backing away from the horrible parts of her, and the real scary parts of her had to do with the fact that she didn’t try to ingratiate, which is always the female emollient in any situation where you want your way – what my friend Carrie Fisher used to call ‘the squeezy and tilty’ of it all. [Miranda] didn’t do any of that.”
As such, Streep decided on a method approach, distancing herself from her co-workers and remaining cold and aloof at all times. Sadly for Streep, this was about as much fun as it sounds, and despite putting in a memorable performance, the legendary actor decided that it wasn’t worth the misery and loneliness, stating “it was horrible! I was [miserable] in my trailer. I could hear them all rocking and laughing. I was so depressed! I said, ‘Well, it’s the price you pay for being boss!’ That’s the last time I ever attempted a method thing!”
And thus ended Streep’s relationship with the method approach. Still, it’s not all bad. Anne Hathaway, who played Streep’s junior assistant in the film, felt that even the actor’s cold demeanour came from a place of caring: “I always felt cared for. I knew that whatever [Meryl] was doing to create that fear, I appreciated [because] I also knew she was watching out for me.”
Whilst it’s a lovely thing to say, we’re not sure if we could tell if a fearsomely-talented Meryl Streep was actually being mean to us on her lunch break, or just staying in character. Either way, we’d still hand over our pudding if she demanded it.
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