Can Meryl Streep Really Play Guitar? The 'Ricki & The Flash' Star Is Full Of Surprising Skills

Oh, Meryl Streep... the legendary actor has portrayed characters of just about every nationality, demeanor, profession, and persuasion, and she adds yet another awesome role to her portfolio with this month's release of Ricki and the Flash. The film is a story about an aging rocker struggling to reunite with the family she ditched for her career, and several times throughout, Streep tears up the stage as Ricki as she sings and accompanies herself on guitar. The actor has shown off her vocal chops in previous roles, so that aspect is no surprise, but does Meryl Streep really play guitar in Ricki and the Flash ? It seems like it would be hard to fake these instrumentals, but it's also hard to believe that Streep could have yet another hidden talent.

But you better believe it! The reason that Streep's playing looks real in the movie is because it is. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Director Jonathan Demme wanted all of the songs to be performed live, so production was pushed back in order to give Streep time to learn the instrumentals. The actress trained on guitar for up to eight hours a day with sound engineer and former Quiet Riot guitarist Neil Citron. She then had a two-week period of rehearsals with the real-life musicians of her movie band — including Rick Springfield and Bernie Worrell — who offered her more pointers on perfecting her playing. The result? Streep looks like a total natural on the guitar, proving once again that she can master pretty much anything. Below are some of the other times the actor had to learn some unique skills for a role.

1. Julie And Julia

Streep watched footage of Julia Child's cooking show over and over to master the voice and posture of the famously exuberant chef.

2. Music Of The Heart

The actor practiced the violin for five hours a day to prepare for her role in Wes Craven's music drama, even though she had originally found the notion of playing live so daunting that she turned down the film, before eventually changing her mind.

3. Into The Woods

Although she had plenty of on-camera singing experience before, this adaptation required Streep to master the complex musical theatre style of Stephen Sondheim. She took the challenge to a personal level by opting not to work with a vocal coach but instead drawing on her training from the Yale School of Drama in order to create the best possible musical performance.

4. The River Wild

Streep adopted an intense training regimen in order to pull off the white water rafting in this comedy thriller. She worked out for three and a half hours every day, starting with a rowing session with a coach at 5 a.m. Phew!

With Ricki in the Flash, Meryl Streep yet again demonstrates her status as a performance chameleon. She is totally believable as a rocker, and she now has the guitar skills to boot. Just one more question: is there anything Streep can't do?

Images: TriStar Pictures; Columbia Pictures; Mirimax; Disney; Universal