On Sunday, Meryl Streep addressed a select group of actors and filmmakers at the Berlinale and I was fortunate enough to attend as tickets were scarce. While I wrote about her for VF.com, here’s more from the event, and the actress discussing directors Mike Nichols and Clint Eastwood:
MERYL: “Mike Nichols used to say to me each subsequent time that we worked (Postcards from the Edge, Heartburn, Silkwood, The Seagull in the park and Angels in America on TV), each time he would drill me on other directors. I said it’s like asking about other boyfriends: does he do it better than I do?
“The most interesting thing about having a long career is how many different ways you can get to a good result. Each has his own way in, talking to actors. Clint Eastwood only betrayed himself once, I never felt that he was watching me as we were acting together. He never says ‘action’ so as the director [of The Bridges of Madison County] I’d have to divine when he’d start acting. He’d stroll from behind camera and walk into the kitchen and say ‘okay, you can put your knitting down,’ and we can start acting.
“He was sort of seamless; he doesn’t play a wide range of roles. He looks like Clint Eastwood. He was fully committed as an actor and very self-denigrating. He would make a comment after — ‘Well, that was adequate,” about himself. But he would very often shoot the rehearsal and then move on so I have never in my life seen a crew so terrified on the tips of their toes trying to solve all the problems that normally they solve on take four. Everything was ready on the first time we encountered the scene because Clint might just move on. That was a lesson on fascism that I thought was interesting (I’m joking).
“But Clint only betrayed himself once. In one scene we were having a big fight in the kitchen and it was going particularly well speaking for myself. He was watching me and I saw it in his eyes and I said you were watching me you weren’t with me. He said, ‘It won’t happen again’ and it never did. We shot the whole film in 5 weeks.”