Streep was recently described as an economist’s dream: every project she has recently been associated with has generated big box office. “It’s hilarious,” she says, stroking her chin. “I wish I could figure out a way to capitalise on that. I think it’s a series of happy coincidences and also that there are more women in the hierarchy of movie-making and movie-financing and they are more interested and less afraid of making movies that appeal to other women.”
But this is a well-worn trend now. Hasn’t Hollywood woken up? “It’s always a shock to the studio,” Streep says with real firmness, “because men run the studios and live their own fantasies through them. It’s harder for a man to jump inside a woman character’s mind and imagine, ‘This could happen to me’ than it is for a woman to imagine herself as a male character.” But surely the profits count? “They see it and they understand that there is a market and it will make them an enormous amount of money, but we all respond to instinct and it’s their inner boy that jumps up and goes: ‘Yeah, I wanna see another GI Joe’.”
A recent article speculated that Streep may be up for another Oscar nomination this year; a source said that the organisation had noted a dearth of strong female roles. “Parts are rare,” Streep says, “the amount of product is rare. It’s a large machine that markets these films, that makes theatre [cinema] owners commit their theatres half a year in advance — that’s how it works. Are they gonna buy GI Joe or are they gonna buy Mamma Mia!?”
Mamma Mia! did great business, I say. “They’re still not sure,” Streep counters. “You need a good salesman. Those films have done well, yes, that audience is there, but it doesn’t go on the first weekend [which the industry nervously observes].”
Bitches or not, women are what Ephron wants to write about. In 1996, she delivered a speech to students graduating from Wellesley, the Ivy League single-sex college she attended in the 60s. It was a stinging warning that they should not imagine the world was a fairer place: "It's just as hard to make a movie about women as it ever was." When she was inducted into the Academy of Achievement in 2007, Ephron said she took up directing because "90% of the men directing movies have no interest in women in any real way, except as girlfriends or wives. They don't really want to make movies about them, and they don't."
Streep SOURCE, Ephron SOURCE
What do you think ONTD?