Meryl Streep Reveals 1 ‘Really Wild’ Thing She Had to Learn Before Filming ‘Sophie’s Choice’

Meryl Streep has the ability to disappear into any role. She has the ability to draw box office interest, but the actor also manages to continue to earn attention come awards season. Streep once recalled a “really wild” thing that she had to learn before filming Sophie’s Choice, which is one of the roles audiences continue to praise her for.

Meryl Streep stuns as Sophie in ‘Sophie’s Choice’

'Sophie's Choice' actor Meryl Streep wearing a gold dress, smiling, with her Oscar statue in front of her
Meryl Streep | Getty Images

The 1982 film Sophie’s Choice is based on William Styron’s 1979 novel that goes by the same name. This psychological drama successfully brings the story to life. It tells the story of Zofia Zawistowski, also known as Sophie. She’s a Polish immigrant with some dark secrets in her past.

However, nothing will be the same when she shares a house in Brooklyn with her lover, Nathan (Kevin Kline), and a young writer named Stingo (Peter MacNicol). Streep instantly took the forefront of the Sophie’s Choice advertisement and marketing campaign, as her performance stunned the world.

‘Sophie’s Choice’ star Meryl Streep revealed the ‘really wild’ thing about learning Polish

Erin Carlson’s Queen Meryl explores the wonderful performances of Streep, including Sophie’s Choice. However, she didn’t really get to dig into the full essence of the character until she started learning Polish for the character. The actor already has experience with other languages, but had difficulty with this one.

“I thought it would be a piece of cake, like picking up Italian or French or something—but it’s not,” Streep said. “It’s a lot like Latin because there are seven cases, I think—my teacher will kill me if I don’t get this right—grammar wasn’t my strong point, I can get the accent.”

Streep continued: “Anyway, because of that it was real hard to learn, you have to parse every sentence as you speak it, every word changes its ending according to whether it’s the object of a sentence or the subject or the indirect object. It’s really wild.”

The actor had to move to Zagreb, Yugoslavia for three weeks to shoot the concentration camp scenes. However, Streep now had to learn a new tongue during her break on Sophie’s Choice.

Before moving to Zagreb, Yugoslavia, for three weeks to film the concentration camp sequences. Screenwriter Alan J. Pakula originally wrote the war scenes in English but decided at the last minute to have them spoken in Polish and German.

“Get me a German teacher,” Streep told Pakula.

The actor earned an Oscar for her performance

Streep won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Sophie’s Choice. The film also earned nominations for adapted screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Music, Original Score.

Streep has over 90 acting credits to her name, but Sophie’s Choice continues to earn her praise in the more modern landscape of filmmaking. As a result of learning accents and languages for roles, she set a standard for many other A-list actors to follow.

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