“The greatest living screen actress” is the introduction that Meryl Streep gets as is called on stage by British journalist Peter Cowie. Streep, being the head of the Berlin Film Festival, gives her insight on women in the industry and some advise… on being 66 and still ‘having a career’ and about gender diversity in the black suited boardrooms.
ON GENDER DIVERSITY IN THE INDUSTRY
“I think it’s moving in a very positive direction. I do. You have to make noise to have the room at the table. People have to move aside and let you move your chair up to have our say. Our industry will always depend on diversity in the boardroom, where the money is. All the talk about equality and diversity among the lower level of the endeavor won’t change things if the money and decisions are made by only one people whose taste will necessarily decide what kind of films will be made,” cites Streep.
ON GENDER DIVERSITY IN THE BOARDROOMS
It’s very difficult to get that boardroom of 4o- to 50-year-old white males to be interested in the stories of their first wife or their mother. They don’t feel invested in this journey. And, yet, younger men do. And that’s good. It’s a big ongoing question and it’s being solved every day in the smallest decisions that people are making.
ON GETTING BEHIND THE CAMERA
The 66-year-old actress completely refutes the conjectures that she will ever be a director. She calls the job of a director “boring” for the fact that one has to think of the placement of various props while she says that she does not care about that.
ON BEING 66 AND STILL HAVING AN ACTING CAREER
Every year after I reached 38, I would say ‘I better take this role,’ but my husband was there to remind me there were more roles to come. Still, I had no reason to imagine I would work past 40—and then you start playing hags and witches. That was one of the reasons I didn’t play a witch until Into the Woods. I had been offered many. It was the trough that women fell into when they were no longer fertile, or”—she pauses and laughs shyly—“fuckable.”
ON THE NEWLY-EVOLVED POSSIBILITIES FOR WOMEN IN HOLLYWOOD
“Bette Davis was I think 40 or 38 when she made All About Eve. She madeWhat Ever Happened to Baby Jane? when she was 48, which is Sandra Bullock’s age. We’ve entered a new time of possibility for women. There’s a vital, interesting place for them on screen into middle and older age,” comments Streep.
Picture Credit: Indian Express