In the upcoming film Florence Foster Jenkins, which hits theatres August 12, Meryl Streep plays a not-so talented opera singer dying to sing at Carnegie Hall. So we asked her what she is dying to do onstage.
“I’d like to do something onstage, but I don’t want to do a revival,” Streep told Playbill at the August 9 press conference for the film. “I want to do something new, so I’m looking around.”
And, if it were to come to the megahit musical Hamilton, she’d want to see it gender-reversed before taking it on. (The actress previously sang from the musical while honoring future women leaders at the recent 2016 Women in the World Summit.)
“I would like to see Hamilton with all the men’s parts cast as women and all the women, singing about who they love, cast as men,” she said. “That would be revolutionary—truly revolutionary.”
Over the last few years, Streep has been the go-to actress when it comes to stage-to-screen adaptations, taking on Donna in Mamma Mia!, the Witch in Into the Woods, Sister Aloysius Beauvier in Doubt and Violet Weston in August: Osage County. She also plays a singer in the films Ricki and the Flash and the aforementioned Florence Foster Jenkins. In the latter, though, her character is a terrible singer and based on the real-life opera singer who was famous for singing off-key (but determined to make the big time!).
When asked about having to sing poorly for the film, she said, “I have a very clear understanding of what my voice is. It’s like a B voice. It hovers around B-/B+. I have great friends who are wonderful, wonderful singers, and I know I’ll never be able to do that. But singing through a character is something I can do, and I liked finding what it was in Florence’s recordings because there are recordings of hers that remain very popular…so she’s there for all to hear. And it’s not just how bad it is—it’s how aspirant, how hopeful it is. You hear her breathing wrong and in the wrong places. It led me to understand her and her exuberance and her will to make it right.”
The film, from Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox, hits theatres August 12. Watch below as Playbill correspondent Matt Rodin gets Broadway stars to sing just like the film’s delusional diva.