From “Death Becomes Her” to “The Devil Wears Prada,” Meryl Streep’s hit films have earned her a loyal gay following. If the 67-year-old Oscar winner has her way, her latest film, “Florence Foster Jenkins,” will resonate with those fans on an even deeper level.
Streep plays the titular role in “Jenkins,” which is based on the life of a New York socialite who fulfilled her dream of selling out New York’s Carnegie Hall even though she was regarded as one of the worst singers of her time. The film’s triumph-of-the-underdog message is vital for anyone who has ever been told “that you can’t be a certain way or you shouldn’t be a certain way,” she told PrideSource.
“You know, I think the limits other people put on you are the least valuable,” she said. “A child announces who they are and people who encourage them are the ones to be around... and you have to get rid of everybody else who doesn’t help! I feel that way about everything, but certainly LGBT audiences will understand that.”
Streep, of course, is no stranger to LGBT characters. In 1979, she played a lesbian in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan,” and was bisexual and shared a smooch with Allison Janney in “The Hours.” Then, of course, there was her much buzzed-about onstage lip-lock with Sandra Bullock at the 2010 Critics’ Choice Awards.
The star told PrideSource she didn’t fret about the risks of tackling a gay role in “Manhattan,” which was produced at a time when LGBT themes were largely absent from the big screen.
“I was coming to movies sort of sideways from the theater. I got an early movie and I thought, ‘Well, this is a one-off; they’ll never ask me again.’ I was fine with that,” she said. “I’ve grown up with gay people and been in love with gay people.”
She went on to call her kiss with Janney “a perk” of her “Hours” experience, and had particular praise for her role in the acclaimed HBO adaptation of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America,” which examined homosexuality and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Streep won an Emmy Award for the series, which featured a fantastical love scene in which an angel (Emma Thompson) brought her to orgasm while hovering over Manhattan.
“To me, I mean, ‘Angels’ is such an important piece of history, and I felt really lucky to be part of that because I don’t think there was anything like it before,” Streep said. “That hadn’t been on television. Movies, yes. But not television. So it was very cool.”
Check out the full PrideSource interview with Meryl Streep here.