11 things we learned from Meryl Streep

The best bits of her brilliant Mumsnet webchat - including the secret to a long marriage, and whether or not she calls herself a feminist

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1. Of COURSE she’s a feminist

"Yes, I recently described myself as a humanist - but I didn't describe myself as a humanist as opposed to a feminist. I am of course a feminist, and the actions of my life have been defined by that stance - all my life, from the time I woke up. But I feel we have to declare ourselves in support of the whole human family, because different people are oppressed in different ways, and we have to listen and respond to all of it."

2. She wrote a screenplay with Carrie Fisher (HOW did we not know this?)

"I wrote a screenplay with my friend Carrie Fisher in the last two weeks before I gave birth to my fourth child. It really made us laugh - I don't know whether that was the hormones. We sold it for a great deal of money and it sort of paid for the fact that I was out of work with the baby for the year."

3. She had a stand-in for that French Lieutenant’s Woman shot (and it was a bloke!)

"There was a stuntman lashed to a post at the end of the pier on one particular very dramatic day, because it was so dangerous. He was tied there, or he would have been swept away. The close-up was all me; that wasn't him!"

4. She thinks worrying about your weight is 'a colossal waste of time'

"My advice to my 18-year-old self would be: get up and go outside and don't give even one more moment's thought to how much you weigh; not one second's. Such a colossal waste of time."

5. A New Zealand accent is bloody hard to do

"The toughest, really, was Lindy Chamberlain, the character in A Cry in the Dark, which is a New Zealand accent and slightly different from Australian. Every American thinks they can do it, but every subtlety was different - and important to me, because it made her an outsider in Australia where she was tried."

6. She’s a fan of Ali Smith

"I've just enjoyed some of Ali Smith's work, which was passed to me by a friend here in England. Just finished Euphoria by Lily King, which is a wonderful book - loosely constructed around the events of Margaret Mead's life. And I just finished All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, which I adored."

7. Fun fact: her ancestors were from Lincolnshire

"I've never been. I'll call you up when I next tour!"

8. Even Meryl gets star-struck

"One of my boyfriend's best friends was Al Pacino - it was at the time of The Godfather movies and there was no more famous person in NY. I remember him coming over and I was making him pasta, and my hand was shaking as I tried to open a can. My boyfriend said, "What's the matter with you!?!" He made me really nervous, because he was such a big star, so I was shaky and weird. So when people are shaky and weird with me, I understand the feeling very well. It wears off with familiarity!"

9. A marriage is like being stuck in a lift (in a good way... we think)

"If you were to be stuck in a elevator with anyone, who would it be?"

"It would be my husband, because in a way I AM stuck in an elevator with him!"

10. The secret to a long relationship: hang on in there

"In a long marriage, it changes, it morphs; you have to have faith that everything that was there will come back, and everything that is there that is driving you nuts will go away again! It's a very circular experience and faith is the key. Also: picking the right person in the first place!"

11. Of all her films, she’s most proud of 'Suffragette'

"It's the first major motion picture of its kind; the first civil rights film about women and how different the world used to be so recently for us. And it evokes in a modern audience an understanding of how the lack of rights they experienced continues in many places. I think it will serve as an inspiration for women around the world. It's great when women see our own history, which has been neglected. The changing status of women is one of the most seismic events in our history."

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Last updated: over 2 years ago