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The Vulgar Advice Meryl Streep Got Before Filming Into The Woods

Meryl Streep will most definitely go down as one of Hollywood's most legendary actresses. The average person doesn't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of outstanding performances she has on her resume, and she has the hardware to prove it. But just because she exists at an exalted status at this point in her career doesn't mean that she is above getting advice, she got a bit of a doozy while preparing to make the upcoming musical Into The Woods.

The advice in question came from none other than fellow industry legend Stephen Sondheim, and during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Meryl Streep recounted the entire funny story. The incident in question occured back in the spring of 2013, very shortly after Streep had been cast in the big screen adaptation of Sondheim's musical. Along with director Rob Marshall and screenwriter James Lapine, Steep was invited to go to the composer's townhouse in Manhattan - though none of them were told exactly why they were all meeting.

As it turned out, Sondheim had written a brand new song for the big screen version of Into The Woods titled "She'll Be Back" - which is sung by the witch after Rapunzel is able to escape her tower along with her prince. After the composer performed the song in what the actress describes as a "wavering, gravelly and insistent" voice, she asked him if he wouldn't mind autographing her copy of the sheet music. He gladly accepted her request, took the music, wrote something down, and handed it back. So what did it say? Simply, "Don’t fuck it up."

It’s rather funny that this piece of advice would be given to Meryl Streep – an actress who has three Academy Awards with her name on them – but it’s not as though Stephen Sondheim doesn’t have a reputation of his own to back up his funny sentiment. After all, the 84 year old composer is considered one of the most important figures in the history of musical theater - with Into The Woods being only one of the award-winning shows he has worked on in his 50+ year career. In case you’re not overly familiar, this is the guy who brought us the likes of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Sweeney Todd, and much more.

Whether or not Meryl Streep wound up following Sondheim’s advice remains to be seen, as reviews of Into The Woods have not yet started sprouting up – though it is a pretty good sign that the film has been nominated in the Golden Globes’ "Best Picture – Musical or Comedy" category, and that Streep herself is up for Best Supporting Actress. We’ll be able to see for ourselves when the film opens wide on Christmas Day.

Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.