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'It's not relief work in Sudan': Streep on acting

27 november 2013, 16:36
Meryl Streep is brilliant as a domineering, drug-addicted, cancer-suffering grandmother in her latest film "August: Osage County" but she won't pretend to have the worst job in the world, AFP reports.

Star of the film and given a standing ovation at a pre-release screening in New York, the American actress was asked repeatedly how difficult she found her role.

Violet Weston is a bitter matriarch who bullies, ridicules and insults her dysfunctional relatives as they descend on the family home in Oklahoma for a funeral.

One of the most difficult scenes, Streep admitted, was riding in the back of a car knowing that she had to throw up but she said the character was precisely the challenge that actors love.

"You can bring that back if you've been pregnant. It wasn't relief work in the Sudan... it was extremely satisfying."

"You're dragged kicking and screaming into the house of pain. But you just really love being there," she said.

Her remarks came weeks after movie star Tom Cruise was quoted in the US media as comparing his job to fighting in Afghanistan.

The film, distributed by Weinstein and to be released on Christmas Day, also stars Julia Roberts, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis as Streep's three on-screen daughters.

Playwright Tracy Letts, who won a Pulitzer for the original play and wrote the screenplay, said Violet was based on his own grandmother who took on "monstrous proportions" in his eyes.

He said his mother's first comment after reading the play had been "you've been very kind to my mother".

One of the most heartbreaking scenes, Letts told the audience to shocked oohs and aahs, had been based on a true story.

Streep, widely considered one of the world's greatest film actresses, has already been tipped for another Academy Award for her latest mesmerising performance.

She last won an Oscar for her portrayal of controversial British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 2011 movie "The Iron Lady."

"I have tended towards some bossy characters recently. I notice a pattern. Maybe that's what comes with age," she said.

"I did think that this is a very theatrical person, it's a person who has no lid on the instinct to say what she thinks."

Chris Cooper, who portrays the father of a dim son played by Benedict Cumberbatch, said he had drawn from personal experience through the death of his son in 2005.

"I thought it was time. Enough time had passed that I could really use that in my work," he told the audience.

The cast lived together in adjoining townhouses during shooting and rehearsed the key dinner table scene -- which took 3.5 days to film -- at a pot-luck dinner party at Streep's house.

The dinner scene is marred by insults, culminating in Roberts's character wrestling Streep's to the floor.

Actor Dermot Mulroney, who joked about no one eating the salad he made for a meal with the cast, paid tribute to Streep.

"What Meryl was able to do in each take was be perfect. Each take would have some variety or tonal shift... It was an honor and a thrill and I'll never forget it," he said.

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