Meryl Streep Once Ignored an ‘Enormous Insect’ Crawling in Her Dress to Finish a Scene

Meryl Streep is the type of actor who will do anything necessary to get the perfect scene. She put herself in various uncomfortable and dangerous situations to make sure that her performance is authentic as possible. However, these experiences often shock the cast and crews that she works with. Streep apparently had an “enormous insect” crawling around in her dress while filming Out of Africa and kept her composure.

Meryl Streep had to fight for her role in ‘Out of Africa’

'Out of Africa' actor Meryl Streep smiling in a white top with a black bird pattern on it
Meryl Streep | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TNT

Erin Carlson’s Queen Meryl depicts how Streep wanted the lead role of Karen Blixen in Out of Africa. Her agent pulled some strings for her to get in the door to speak with the man behind the camera. However, director Sydney Pollack didn’t initially see her as being a good fit for the role. He didn’t think she could sell the seductive appeal necessary for the part.

However, Streep pushed for a meeting with Pollack, regardless, to show that she could pull off any scene necessary. The director admitted that once he met with the actor face-to-face, everything changed. He saw her ability to transform into other roles, even after her iconic performances in movies, such as Sophie’s Choice and Kramer vs. Kramer.

Meryl Streep had an ‘enormous insect’ crawling in her dress during a scene in ‘Out of Africa’

Queen Meryl showcases some particularly memorable scenes in Out of Africa. They filmed the epic drama over the course of 101 days in Africa, which required a high amount of endurance. Streep proved that she had the necessary endurance to take her powerful performance from one scene to the next.

However, things didn’t always go so smoothly on Out of Africa set. Many cast and crew members got sick, but she somehow remained resilient through the whole ordeal. Streep even carried through a particular wardrobe mishap but kept up her appearance for the camera.

During a long take of Karen arriving at the farm, Streep acted entirely “composed” throughout the entire scene. Screenwriter Kurt Luedtke recalled, “But the instant Sydney said ‘Cut!’ her face contorted and she smashes her fist against her chest and yelled, ‘Get me this thing out of here!'”

Luedtke continued: “The costume person tore open her dress, and out fell an enormous insect! It had been crawling around in there all through the scene, but she had forced herself to ignore it.”

The actor earned an Oscar nomination for her performance

Out of Africa took home a staggering seven out of its 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. However, Strep didn’t quite manage to take home the gold for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She lost the win to Geraldine Page in The Trip to Bountiful. However, it was a tough category with the other nominees including Jessica Lange for Sweet Dreams, Whoopi Goldberg for The Color Purple, and Anne Bancroft for Agnes of God.

Streep proves throughout each scene that she crafts such a strong understanding of every character she plays. Additionally, she’s able to roll with the punches and continue to turn out beautiful performances, regardless of random mishaps happening on sets, including huge bugs in her dress.

RELATED: ‘Out of Africa’: Meryl Streep ‘Fended Off a Lion’ When Her Stunt Double Was Too Scared