Have you ever wondered what Meryl Streep's inner life is like? We know she can act, but what does she think and feel as herself? And were her thoughts and feelings growing up as run of the mill as the rest of us or were they always so....Meryl Streep-y? With Into the Woods coming out, the perpetual Oscar nominee revealed that she never identified much with fairy tale main characters growing up — instead of Cinderella, Meryl Streep identified much more with the ugly stepsisters.
As Streep put it to The Hollywood Reporter:
You know what I really didn’t like? When I was a little girl, I wore glasses, and I didn't feel pretty, and all the princesses were always really pretty, and I identified with the ugly stepsisters.
Bold take, Streep. And re: Into the Woods' take on the characters:
[Into the Woods} they're not ugly, and that's what I like! They're bitchy and they're really pretty!
Streep's identification with the stepsisters has a point, though, so let's take it to the next level: Far too much reliance has been put on princesses (and royalty in general) as main characters. Often it's character types like bratty stepsisters or, as Streep plays in Into the Woods, witches that are the most compelling to play. Why did Disney feel the need to lump Mulan into the "princess" mold (as she is officially by the company), when she's so very much not a princess — she's a soldier and, later, a politician of sorts? If there's one person in Hollywood who knows compelling characters, it's Streep, so let this serve as a declaration: Princesses have their narrative limits.
Listen to Meryl Streep, makers of fairy tales: There are a lot of characters much more interesting than just those who wind up royalty.