What can we learn from the great actress Meryl Streep?
Far from fading into obscurity with the usual post fifty obsolescence, she has defied Hollywood calculus and reached a career high.
In her younger days she possessed an idiosyncratic beauty and her insecurity worked in her favour: instead of shoehorning herself into traditionally feminine roles, she could make herself foreign, wacky, or plain, disappearing into lives far beyond her suburban upbringing. She was neither a classic beauty or the girl next door type. She was everything and nothing – like a chameleon.
When it came to method acting she shunned the tactic and was skeptical about the concept of mining her own pain, believing that misery was irrelevant to artistry.
She wasn’t willing to excavate her personal demons. She preferred to use her imagination instead.
She believed she could get where she needed to go with imagination and empathy and thought of the movies as work, not as a psychological minefield.
Just like in the film ‘Kramer vs Kramer’ where she acted opposite Dustin Huffman who was using the method techniques like an emotional recall, she preferred that Dustin use them on himself – not her.
One interesting point of view she has is, her belief that women are better at acting than men.
Why? Because they have to be.
Meryl goes on to say and I quote:
“If successfully convincing someone bigger than you are of something he does’t want to know is a survival skill, this is how women have survived through the millennia. Pretending is not just play. Pretending is imagined possibility. Pretending or acting is a very valuable life skill, and we all do it all the time.
We don’t want to be caught doing it, but nevertheless it’s part of the adaptation of our species. We change who we are to fit the exigencies of our time.”
To become a star, which was never high on her list of priorities – she would do so on her own terms, letting nothing other than her talent and her otherworldly self assurance clear her path.
Hence, Meryl Streep maintaining an acting career for 4.5 decades … and still going strong.