Ladies Who Lunch: Talking About Food, Life, and Love with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep
Appetites of a Different Flavor
Ephron: Meryl, the 40s are a Bermuda Triangle for most actresses. How difficult was it to navigate that period?
Streep: What was hard about my 40s was that I had four young children. I had my fourth child at 43, and that was really something. I had some really interesting choices to make because of this new baby and the bigger kids -- Louisa is 12 years younger than Henry, who is the oldest. It was about organizing and the least amount of disruption for everybody in the family.
LHJ: One thing you all seem to share with the heroines of your movie is appetite, which helped them turn their lives around. Amy, can you talk about your own hunger for life?
Adams: For me, my hunger is more for balance in my life rather than anything specifically about my career. I look at Nora and Meryl and they have a wonderful balance in their lives, and that's my biggest goal.
Streep: Julia and Julie, our characters in the film, both have appetites of a different flavor. Amy's character has a determination to survive and a will against all odds. Julia Child was a young woman who was six-foot-two. She was great-looking but she was outsized in her world and that was a handicap in the days when the main reason to go to Smith College was to get a husband. She transformed something that could have held her back into a strength and a joy.
Adams: I love that both of these women are married because it shows what a wonderful, supportive man can allow a woman to do. In my own life that's been very important. [Adams is engaged to actor Darren Le Gallo.]
LHJ: How so?
Adams: I spent most of my 20s looking to find a man. What a waste of energy. Now I actually have a man and I'm able to focus on becoming a woman.
Ephron: The marriage of Julia and Paul Child almost never had a bad moment, I think. In her book she refers to a fight in a car after a party. You know, one fight in a near-50-year marriage, it's practically irrelevant to most of us. It was a wild uncritical love. I am so not like that.
Streep: It's something to aspire to.
Ephron: Were you nicer to your husband, Meryl? [Streep has been married to sculptor Don Gummer for 30 years.]
Streep: I'm always nice to him. But here's what I think about that, in the wake of Susan Boyle [the unlikely TV star from Britain's Got Talent]. When you're playing romantic characters, a great part of my attention has to be that I look really attractive. Obviously you can't play a romantic character if she's not really pretty. What's liberating about these characters is that there's this huge throbbing love between two people who don't look like our normal package of lovers. It made it more real and intimate because somehow those concerns were thrown away. If you've been married for a long time you love without looking. I don't assess how my husband looks every single day and think, Is he cute enough or whatever? And I sure hope he doesn't do it to me! [Laughs]