Meryl Streep and Robert Redford had very positive opinions of one other while working on Out of Africa. However, director Sydney Pollack didn’t appreciate how close they were getting while on the set of the movie. It certainly opened Streep’s eyes to how Redford couldn’t enjoy the process quite as much as herself. So, how did those real-life feelings translate into supposed “ripples?”
Meryl Streep and Robert Redford play love interests in ‘Out of Africa’
Out of Africa takes place in 20th-century colonial Kenya. Karen Blixen (Streep) is a Danish baroness and a new coffee plantation owner, who discovers that her husband is unfaithful. As a result, she enters into a love affair with a big-game hunter named Denys (Redford). However, she must decide between her newfound romance and her potential future as an individual.
Streep admitted in Queen Meryl that many folks thought Redford’s performance was “wooden.” However, she totally disagreed. Streep said that Redford was “subtle–and just right.” However, she revealed that she once had a “big crush on him,” which could factor into her opinion regarding his Out of Africa performance.
Meryl Streep and Robert Redford’s real-life connection ’caused ripples’ on the set
Redford admitted that he “probably got along too well” with Streep on the set of Out of Africa in Queen Meryl. According to his biographer Michael Feeney Callan, their real-life feelings for one another impacted the production. Pollack didn’t care for their connection, discouraging it at every chance that he could. Redford didn’t take this too well.
“It caused ripples,” Redford said. “We liked to talk. We’d be off-camera, between takes, taking it easy. We had a sense of humor in common. But Sydney didn’t like that. He would break it up. It bothered him that I was connecting with her in some way that didn’t fit his picture of me, or of us as a team. That wasn’t easy to deal with, because I felt I was in a vise and I became resentful.”
The two actors had very different experiences in Nairobi, Kenya
Redford believed that Denys was treated radically differently from Streep’s character. He said in Queen Meryl that Pollack encouraged Streep “to fly,” but treated Denys as, “a symbol, not a character.” The actor didn’t care for the direction that he was given throughout the course of filming.
Streep loved filming in Nairobi, Kenya, although Redford had a very different experience.
“He couldn’t go out—even there,” Streep said. “He was self-conscious all the time. I went everywhere, saw whatever I wanted to see.”
Streep felt bad for Redford. He was too well-known, so he couldn’t explore in the same way that his co-star did. However, he did offer Streep a piece of parenting advice that she continues to hold dear to her. He said of her children, “They are not your props.”