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Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Meryl Streep remains busy. The three-time Oscar winner will be seen in two films this week — Steven Soderbergh’s Let Them All Talk, premiering on HBO Max on Thursday, and Ryan Murphy’s The Prom, streaming on Netflix beginning Friday — and she’s currently filming another movie.
Streep is among the starry cast shooting Adam McKay’s Netflix satire Don’t Look Up in Boston.
The film, which McKay is directing and wrote, centers on two low-level scientists who discover that a meteor will strike the Earth in six months and go on a media tour to warn the world but find an unreceptive and disbelieving audience.
In addition to Streep, the cast features Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Himesh Patel, Timothée Chalamet, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi, Matthew Perry, Tomer Sisley, Tyler Perry, Melanie Lynskey and Ron Perlman. Lawrence and DiCaprio play the two scientists, with McKay set to use the same stylistic format he did with The Big Short to populate the feature with star cameos.
Streep will be playing the president of the United States, she told Stephen Colbert on Monday’s Late Show, with her chief of staff son set to be played by Hill.
The actress described the film as “about a global catastrophe, but it’s sort of funny, like Dr. Strangelove for 2020, about global warming — a metaphor for that.”
In response to this characterization of the project and her role, Colbert quipped, “So in the Strangelove model, you’re President Muffley?”
“Yes, indeed,” Streep laughed.
As for the experience of shooting a film amid the pandemic, Streep said it wasn’t “at all” normal.
“The whole thing’s so eerie and odd and disconcerting,” she said, explaining that she filmed a scene entering a stadium of 20,000 people with her face on a big screen. However, she clarified that she wasn’t actually accompanied by 20,000 people in the current social distancing era.
Instead, she said, a smaller number of mask- and clear-visor-wearing extras were spaced out about 20 feet apart throughout the stadium, and they will be duplicated in postproduction.
Perhaps the crowd’s cheers will also be amped up in post. “They’re meant to have a big huzzah and make a big noise,” Streep said, but because everyone was wearing a mask the sound was rather muffled.
That’s not the only way that the pandemic might have affected filming as Streep herself suggested she might have been a bit rusty after her time in quarantine.
“We had our first scene on Friday, and I was so bad,” she said. “I just completely lost it. I couldn’t remember anything. But I’m sure it’ll be fine in the edit.”
Colbert joked: “That’s where the real moviemaking happens, that’s where the real acting takes place, in the edit. They’ve certainly made me better over the years.”
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