This 'Florence Foster Jenkins' Clip Proves Meryl Streep Is Great Even At Singing Badly — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
It's hard to believe Meryl Streep could be bad at anything. So, it wasn't surprising to see just how good she was at singing badly. That might sound like a backhanded compliment, but it's actually glowing praise considering Streep's role in Florence Foster Jenkins. As the titular character, Streep played a woman who dreamed of being an opera singer and even put on her own concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City. She had all the makings of a star, except for one thing: she couldn't really sing. In a new behind-the-scenes clip from Florence Foster Jenkins , the cast and crew gush over Streep's uncanny ability to sing as badly as the real Florence Foster Jenkins.
For the film, Streep had to make sure to sing every note just off enough that it would be bad, but not enough that it would sound like nails on a chalkboard. "She [Streep] can hit all these high notes perfectly well," says composer Alexandre Desplat in the exclusive clip, "But she can also hit them just under, or just above." Despite such praise, Streep herself insists that singing terribly was actually quite hard, especially because of Jenkins' fondness for particularly challenging pieces. "Just to sing as well as Florence Foster Jenkins was a challenge," Streep says in the clip, laughing.
Clearly, Streep was very committed to being as good at singing badly as she possibly could be. In fact, director Stephen Frears, who had Streep sing live during production, admitted in an interview with Vanity Fair that Streep very rarely needed notes on how to perform as Jenkins. "I don't ever think I said to her to sing worse. I didn't give her any direction," Frears said. In the same interview, Frears gave probably the best praise of all, saying, "She sang every false note correctly."
Audiences have heard Streep sing before. Just a few years ago, she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance of the Witch in Into the Woods . And Streep wasn't new to the craft. As a teenager, the Academy Award winning actress studied opera singing until she quit and became a cheerleader. "I didn't really like opera," Streep said in an interview with NPR. "I liked cheerleading and boys and, later, smoking. So my opera career was cut short when I was 15," she added.
Florence Foster Jenkins , which will be released on Digital HD Nov. 28, provided Streep with the perfect opportunity to finally have a glimpse at that opera career, even if she had to sing badly to get it.
Images: Paramount Pictures