How Meryl Streep Reacted to the Rumor That She Said She Could Sing Better Than Madonna

Prolific actor Meryl Streep once allegedly expressed outrage over Madonna winning a movie role over her. But when Streep was reminded of her reported words years later, she recalled the resurfaced interview a bit differently.

Madonna starred in the 1996 movie ‘Evita’

Meryl Streep smirking
Meryl Streep |Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

In 1996, Madonna starred in the historical drama film Evita. The movie followed the life of Eva Peron, an actor and performer who came from poverty and eventually married President Juan Peron.

It was a role the singer passionately lobbied for. Not only was she captivated by the subject matter, but it was an opportunity to transition over to film. She even personally wrote the Evita director a letter explaining why she was interested in the movie.

“I remember sitting down during Christmas of ’94 and writing an impassioned letter to the director, Alan Parker, listing the reasons why I was the only one who could portray her, explaining that only I could understand her passion and her pain,” Madonna once wrote in a diary published by Vanity Fair. “I can honestly say that I did not write this letter of my own free will. It was as if some other force drove my hand across the page.”

Eventually, Madonna would end up getting the role of her dreams.

How Meryl Streep responded to the rumor that she could sing better than Madonna

Actors Meryl Streep and Michelle Pfeiffer were also in consideration to star in Evita. Madonna was well aware that the veteran actors were orbiting around the part. If either one of them ended up starring in the film, the multi-platinum artist would’ve conceded that the role just wasn’t for her.

“I was a fatalist about it,” Madonna once said on The Morning Call. “I thought if Meryl Streep or Michelle Pfeiffer does it, it just wasn’t meant to be. You get the things that you’re supposed to get in this life.”

In a New York Times article, however, Streep allegedly took the loss of the Evita role a bit hard. The article asserted that Streep called Madonna winning the role over her a bitter disappointment. This was exacerbated by the fact that the Oscar-winner spent a year studying and preparing for the film before negotiations fell through. The article also alleged that Streep felt she could sing better than Madonna could.

“I could rip her throat out. I can sing better than she can, if that counts for anything,” she said.

But the Devil Wears Prada star would later assert that the article in question was just based on a rumor.

“No, I didn’t say it. That’s one of those things you can never erase from whatever it is, the Internet. Why would I say that,” Streep once told USA Today (via Music News). “I was out of the running by the time they got the movie together. It’s a fabulous story, though. Oh, and I don’t think I can sing better than her. And I certainly can’t dance better.”

Madonna was not initially welcomed as Eva Peron by some in Argentina

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Madonna had her fair share of critics when she was cast in the role of Eva. The Grammy winner once revealed that some of her worst critics were a few Eva fans in Argentina. Speaking to Roger Ebert, the singer shared how some Argentinians didn’t want her in the film.

“I think they were angry that, you know, that we were coming in and making a movie about their heroine when they hadn’t done it themselves,” Madonna said. “I think that kind of ticked them off. And then there were the people who thought she was a saint. They thought only Mother Teresa could portray her in a movie. Then there were other people who thought she was a sinner, and they didn’t want a tribute being made to her. So it got very confusing.”