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Why Meryl Streep Says She ‘Forgot How To Act’ While Filming Don’t Look Up During The Pandemic

Jonah Hill, Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence in Netflix's Don't Look Up
(Image credit: Netflix)

With films finally in cinemas again, the Hollywood shutdown is officially over (with new safety and health protocols, of course). But like every industry, the film world went through the awkward period of moving forward while being unsure about COVID-19. This led to tight restrictions and requirements to get things up and running again. Many Hollywood stars and projects were affected, but some took it harder than others. That was the case for Don’t Look Up’s Meryl Streep. The Mary Poppins Returns star opened up about how she forgot to act while filming the Netflix film during quarantine.

The three-time Oscar winner made the surprising admission while being interviewed by Don’t Look Up director Adam McKay. But that type of response was expected after being quarantined for more than a year. Not filming and stretching her acting muscles led her to call her acting GOAT status into question. The Don’t Look Up star revealed in Entertainment Weekly what it was like filming the comedy after being in isolation.

I found it really hard. I didn't feel funny in the lockdown. When I would come in to shoot my stuff, [I'd] get out of the car and hadn't spoken to anybody in three weeks. [I'd] walk into the stadium in Worcester, put on the wig and the nails and the suit, and make a speech to all these people. I just lost it. I forgot how to act, I forgot what I was about. It sort of dismantles your humanity, to be isolated like that. But thank god for Jonah, because he kept us laughing.

Not interacting with others while filming a movie filled Meryl Streep with doubts about her acting abilities. So, the Devil Wears Prada star was every person dealing with an uncertain future during a year-long quarantine. Like any true thespian, Streep appeared to feed off other actors’ energy. So just coming to set and doing the scenes didn’t quench her need for interaction. At least the Little Women star had her onscreen son Jonah Hill to help her through the loneliness.

Given her Hollywood status and acting accolades, Streep did show her humanity by being honest about how difficult isolation can be. Just like any human being, The Prom star was starved of the human connection. But doubting her acting prowess added a different layer to the lockdown. She probably won’t be the first or last star to speak on acting while dealing with the pandemic.

At least, the Mamma Mia! star was able to pull out another stellar performance. But Don’t Look Up isn’t just another Meryl Streep showcase as Oscar winners like Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett and Leonardo DiCaprio round out the A-list ensemble. The all-star comedy is currently in theaters with its Netflix release set for Dec. 24.

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