Meryl Streep is Learning Guitar for 'Ricki & The Flash' & It's Just One of the Many Skills She's Learned for Her Movies

It may only be August (and 2014), but I already have no doubts what my favorite movie of next year is going to be: Ricki and the Flash , the Jonathan Demme-directed, Diablo Cody-written, Meryl Streep-starring dramedy about a rock n' roll-loving woman (Streep) who tries to reconcile with her estranged family. Despite knowing pretty much nothing else about the movie, it's clear that Ricki is going to be amazing; the combined talents of Demme, Cody, and Streep, plus rock n' roll, can't not equal perfection. And, for anyone who doubts it, just take in the news that Streep is actually learning guitar for the role so she can do all of her own musical performances, because, as history's proven, when Meryl Streep takes on a new skill, it's bound to be The Best Thing Ever.

Seriously, it's true. Every time Streep masters a skill for a film role, it turns out to be fantastic. It makes perfect sense; the more committed an actor is to a role, the better the performance — and, typically, the movie — usually ends up being. Streep, though, takes learning new talents to a whole different level. She doesn't just pick up new skills, she kills at them. For instance:

All Those Accents

Movies: Out of Africa; Ironweed; Sophie's Choice; a lot of others.

Streep is the master of fake accents. Over the decades, she's mastered British, Danish, Italian, Australian, Polish — you name it, she can do it.


Movies: Mamma Mia; A Prairie Home Companion; Postcards From the Edge; Into the Woods

No one would call Meryl Streep a singer. And yet she starred in the musical version of Mamma Mia! (above), sang along in A Prairie Home Companion, and is set to perform some fantastic tunes — in rap, no less — in the upcoming Into the Woods. Because Meryl Streep can do everything.


Movie: Music of the Heart

Guitar isn't the first instrument Streep's picked up for a film. In 1999, she learned to play the violin in order to star in Music of the Heart as a music teacher. To master the skill, she went through two months of intensive training, practicing six or seven hours a day.


Movie: Kramer vs. Kramer

When Streep complained that the characterization of her role, Joanna, was too sexist, Kramer 's director, Robert Benton, asked her to write her own dialogue for two major scenes. So she did, and despite co-star Dustin Hoffman's apparent objections, the changes were good enough to stay in the final cut.

Throwing Purses and Coats

Movie: The Devil Wears Prada

Yes, this is a skill, because Anna Wintour — I mean, Miranda Priestly — did not toss her accessories aside like a commoner. She threw them with art, never looking to see where they landed but always knowing with certain that they would be caught. It was truly beautiful to watch.