I adore Meryl Streep, as I’ve said a million times before. She’s just brilliant. She’s classy, she’s sassy and she doesn’t give a shit if you don’t like what she has to say. That’s why I think it’s hilarious that while presenting an award to the likewise lovely Emma Thompson at the National Board of Review dinner in New York City on Tuesday, Meryl let her know exactly what she thinks of her film Saving Mr. Banks and the man the movie was about.
Here’s a bit of how it went down, according to Entertainment Weekly:
“Emma considers very carefully what the f–k she is putting out in the culture. Emma thinks, ‘Is this helpful?’ Not, ‘Will it build my brand?’ Not, ‘Will it give me billions?’ Not, ‘Does this express me, me, me in my unique and fabulous itself into all eternity in every universe for all time?’ That’s a phrase from my Disney contract in my last movie. I’m serious.”
Streep then couldn’t resist returning to Disney the man: “Disney, who brought joy arguably to billions of people was, perhaps, or had some racist proclivities. He formed and supported an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group and he was certainly, on the evidence of his company’s policies, a gender bigot,” she said, before reading an actual 1938 letter from Disney rejecting a female applicant to the animation trainee program. “When I saw the film, I could just imagine Walt Disney’s chagrin at having to cultivate P.L. Travers’ favor for the 20 years that it took to secure the rights to her work. It must have killed him to encounter in a woman an equally disdainful and superior creature, a person dismissive of his own considerable gifts and prodigious output and imagination.”
Ugh, are you swooning just reading this? I am. Admittedly I don’t know a lot about Walt Disney, but I do know of his legacy and what a wonderful one it has been. Also, I did watch Saving Mr. Banks and really loved it – and cried my eyes out, incidentally. It was really lovely film, even if it did gloss over some of the more unsavoury bits of Walt Disney’s life. But hey, shitty people make relatively good art all the time. It happens.