Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Interview with Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Tracey Ullman discussing being moms and Disney's Into the Woods in theaters 12/25/14! #intothewoodsevent

Have you ever dreamed of interviewing talented award winning actors? So have I, as a little girl, I would pretend that my stuffed animals were huge celebrities and I would set them up for roundtable interviews. That was a lot of fun, but I was just a child with a wild imagination. I only dreamed about this one day being real. Could I ever really interview the big stars like I dreamed? The answer is yes! One of my dreams came true this past week, I was able to interview not one but multiple award winning actresses! Into the Woods  stars, Oscar winner Meryl Streep,  Screen Actors Guild Award and Emmy Award winner Christine Baranski, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning Tracey Ullman. 

 With huge stars like these I did not know what to expect during this interview. We were all a little nervous, how would they really be in person? Well I have to say these ladies were each genuine, funny and real. Each were friends in real life, and they seem to genuinely enjoy chatting and talking with us moms. Just real people talking mom to mom. 
This interview was such a relaxed atmosphere. Instantly as soon as they arrived and started chatting with us, the butterflies in my stomach disappeared, it was like talking with  friends. Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Tracey Ullman were ready for questions about their roles as mothers and their roles in Into the Woods.

This amazing trio have been friends for a while and it showed, the friends chatted about a scene they worked on in In the movie Into the Woods, they all got to work together in a scene for three days, and according to Tracy, they all "got really silly, and we were talking a lot". They spoke of how Meryl Streep met, Tracey Ullman when they worked on a movie called “Plenty” together when Tracy was 21 and Meryl was 31. Tracy was a pop star at the time, and an MTV vee-jay.  They bonded over a near accident on a plane ride flying from Tunisia. Meryl and Christine met later in life when they worked together in Greece, on Mama Mia. They each had kids around the same ages and stuck together. Meryl Streep remarked “we'd known each other a hundred years”.  This is exactly how I feel like with my best friends, we have known each other forever, well it seems.

Here are some of my favorite questions from Into the Woods Interview with Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Tracey Ullman.

Your characters are all like exaggerated versions of parenting methods gone wrong.  Did any of you feel or, even more interesting, did any of your kids feel or see some similarities?

Meryl Streep: Yeah. 

Christine Baranski:  I hold the girls a little too closely.  Yes, perhaps. 

Tracey Ullman: [SINGS] Stay with me... 

You all mentioned motherhood.  What advice do you guys have for us young mothers?  What do you do to survive the life? 

Meryl Streep:  Well, I really feel -- I mean, just speaking for the group, I feel like so much has changed.  Raising little kids now is so different from when our children were little kids.  I mean just that -- and I think that's part of why this film and its warnings and its, you know, overweening care of the mothers and -- it speaks to this time when children are, it's harder and harder to keep the world out.
The worst parts of them out.  To keep them in the little tower's impossible.  And all of the bad stuff comes in, and people worried about this film, that it maybe is too dark for kids.  Kids know so much now.  And they're aware of so much, and yet they're so resilient, and innately hopeful.  So that’s -- and that's sort of what the film is. 

Tracey Ullman: Would we have taken Mabel and Grace to see this?  When they were like, six?  They would have handled this. 

Meryl Streep:   They would've loved it. 

Tracey Ullman:  You're right 

Meryl Streep:  Would have taken the kids at, well, I would say, seven, eight -- wouldn't you?

Christine Baranski:  Maybe.  Maybe seven, eight.  But kids are really like, visuals can really affect, and you can explain it away, but be careful what -- what you give them visually.  I mean, I remember  seeing a documentary on an African tribe.  There was this leopard man with long fingernails, and a mask, and I mean, it just had such an impression on me, and it just happened to be on the television set, so you never know what image will  really get to them.

Tracey Ullman: But it goes back to these Grimm's Fairy Tales, and we all portray them as they were written.  You know.  I do smack the kid 'round the head, and I was always loving him afterwards, but, you know, when you would cut your child's foot off to marry a prince. 

Meryl Streep:  Bluebeard.  Remember Bluebeard?  Ooh. 

Tracey Ullman: Yeah.  They were for children to be scared of.  They did get sort of sanitized a bit, fairy tales, the last 20 years.  And -- and all of that. 

Which fairy tales did you love when you were children and wanted to share to your kids when they were little?  Which ones stayed with you the most?

Meryl Streep: Well for me, what stayed with me the most is what I wanted to share with my children necessarily, but I remember being really marked by Bluebeard, by this idea of a -- a man who would take serial wives, one after another, and kill them in the castle.  And I was terrified by that.  It's probably why I just stayed married …..  But, no. 

And kids want to get ready for trouble.  They -- it's why my son used to draw lots of monsters.  Boys draw lots of scary things, because they want to get ready.  You know, they want to get ready. 

Christine Baranski:  I was always telling my kids, as read to them, that -- that there was such a thing as the world of the imagination.  I said, "You're safe.  If you're in the world of the imagination, you can go anywhere, and you all come back from that, so you're safe.
 You've played a variety of drama, comedy. What is your favorite role to play? 

Meryl Streep:  I don't know if I think about it that way.  I think each, each particular person you play deserves their own voice, and deserves their own place in the world, and they're all about 5'6" and a half, and they're all about, you know, my weight and age that I play.  But that's that's the through-line, but I feel like there are so many different women.  So many different stories.

And they each deserve their voice, you know, and their particular neuroses and needs and passions.  So, I don't -- I don't make a distinction -- I mean, there are -- you know, stupid stuff I've done that I won't say what.  But, you know, and more cartoony sort of things. 

Tracey Ullman: Your empathy for Margaret Thatcher for extraordinary for me.  Because, when you first said you were going to be Margaret Thatcher, and I'd grown up, you know, in the Eighties. 

And everyone was like me, you -- it's like, a real difficult, it's like, "Oh.  Not her!"  But you saw her in a way, as a woman, and how she faced the world, and in a way that you -- it was amazing to me. 

Meryl Streep:    Well, I was just interesting in an old lady.  I like old ladies.

Tracey Ullman: Yes. And that vulnerability.  And that's what it became -- it was amazing, her vulnerability, and how we have our time.  And that, you know, my initial reaction was "Margaret Thatcher!  Ughhh!"  You know? 

Meryl Streep:    Yeah, but, you know, you've played evil people, but they're fun. 

Christine Baranski:  Yeah.  No, they are fun, but I think more to the point is the project that you're in if you feel like it's contributing, especially being, actresses who have an opportunity in our work to maybe move the culture forward, and show women in a deeper, more complicated way.  I love that I'm playing somebody on television who is well-educated, she runs a law firm, she actually has a relationship.  She's not the butt of a joke.  She's not an old crone.
She's a woman who is in the world, dealing with a complicated moral topography in her personal and professional life.  So being part of anything like that and I think that this  movie is transformative, and contributes good to the world, so I think that's what would we look for.
Meryl Streep: Increasingly, that's what I think about.  I mean, I'm -- I have, I guess, for a long time, thought, each thing, is this helping?  Or this hurting?  What's this doing?  Because everything makes a mark on the culture.  Everything you do, everything you do, every actress has a choice, you know?  Even if you're supporting a lot of kids, by yourself, you still have a choice, what you're putting out into the world, and I think it matters. 

What helps you develop that character into your own, instead of being that exact character that was on Broadway or just to kind of create it as "you"? 

Meryl Streep: Well, for me, I feel like it -- the part I played was so indelibly done on Broadway by Bernadette Peters.  But it's also been indelibly done by many, many kids, throughout the country, in their high schools, and in colleges.  And it's like any really good play, the part can morph to the shape of the person who is, you know, in there.  And, so, I felt completely free, and also a failing memory helps me in this. In this place, because I couldn't have remembered.

I would've stolen from Bernadette more, if I could remember the thing.  So I felt free, too, and he made us feel that way, Rob Marshall, and certainly Sondheim said "Do what you want."  He also wrote me a song for this, and, um, that isn't in the film, because it sort of halted the action, but it'll be in the DVD extras.  But when he sang this for me in a private session, and I was so thrilled, and he gave me the sheet music at the end. 

  How long was the makeup and hair process, and what was your favorite design? 

Christine Baranski:  You know, I was just thinking about this in getting -- getting ready today, about how the look of the step-family, and I will never forget, my first day on the set was a huge, huge scene at Dover Castle, with the arrival of Cinderella.  And I had been going back and forth, doing Good Wife, so I didn't have a whole lot of time for hair and, um, makeup tests and all.  And this marvelous man, Peter King, he put on my blonde wig, and it was really big, because we originally conceived of them as a truly over-the-top, larger-than-life, trying-too-hard kind of family.

And I showed up and Rob took one look at me, and went..."too big."  And I had to go all of the way... and I see my various hairstyles in there, they're a little bit, and then a little off, I think, but that's exactly right.  That's exactly right.  These women, they are trying so hard.  You know.  You look in the mirror and go, "Mmm, no, that's not enough, I need more hairspray.  More, more, more."  

Meryl Streep:  They're defined by their looks.

Christine Baranski: Yes.  And they don't get it exactly right.  And so it's -- it's funny.  Little accidents can be very helpful and very human, and exactly right for the character. 

Tracey Ullman: I loved my approach.  Peter King said to me on the first day, "I'm going to make you a gray wig."  And most people would be like, "I don't want to go gray."  I was like, "Great."  Made me go gray, having this wig, and I put it up in this topknot, and I had this beautiful, simple, Colleen Atwood outfit, that reminded me of a sort of Dries van Noten peasant look, and I could roll around in the leaves, and there was just no vanity, and I -- I just loved it. 

I could see, you know, it's -- I loved -- because I'd done so many things where I'd wear these extravagant make-ups.  And just to come in and just smudge my cheeks with mud and become a peasant girl, I found it just wonderful.  And it's feeling comfortable in who you are, and getting older, and not worrying about it.  It's just such a relief.  And there is so much pressure on how we all look, and it's just exhausting.  Dignity, girls!  Aging with dignity. 

Meryl Streep:  Well, that was a joke, because Roy decided early on that we would have a joke on blue-haired ladies.  Making fun of old ladies, because they put the blue rinse, so you don't have yellow in the white hair, and so he thought  (Meryl’s hair and makeup artist, Roy Helland said), "Well, we're gonna have blue hair!"  And it was so fabulous.  And then I -- we came out to LA and I see all of these young girls with blue hair, and I think: "I am on trend!" 

Check out the group picture above, I am to the right in the middle just above Meryl Streep! It was amazing! What was it like getting to spend some time with these outstanding award winning actresses? It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget.  The interview was so much fun, filled with great questions and laughter we were relaxed… just some friends talking about life. It is nice to see that such amazing talent are not stuck up and aloof. These were real people just like you and me, and that has made me even a bigger fan of each of these ladies.

What do you think of the interview? Is there anything you would have asked these ladies?

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Visit the official Into the Woods website.
INTO THE WOODS is rated PG and opens in theaters everywhere on December 25th!

Photos courtesy of Louise from Mom Start

 ***Disney provided me with an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this event***

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .


  1. That is a great interview. I am really looking forward to seeing this movie!

  2. What a great experience for you! I would love to interview these great actresses.

  3. I'm super excited for this movie. I love all of these actresses, but Meryl Streep is my absolute favorite!

  4. What a tremendous opportunity for you! I would love to have been in the presence of such Hollywood elite!

  5. Love the interview! And, I totally agree that parenting changes through the years, too.

  6. Oh my gosh, i didnt even recognize her in the movie! I love her so much

  7. Oh my goodness, what an awesome event! To meet those ladies in person and to converse with them! So cool!

  8. What an amazing opportunity you had to meet some wonderful (and famous) women! I would love to meet any of them but especially Meryl Streep.

  9. I can't believe you got to interview Meryl Streep! I can't wait to see her in this film.

  10. I love Meryl Streep. She is such an amazing actress!

  11. I can't wait to see into the woods! It's going to be such a great movie!

  12. Just to have a picture with these ladies..wow what an honor! And all of them are women over 45 so their words mean so much to me. Thanks for the revealing interview!

  13. Looks like a fun movie. I've been surprised at how well short fairly tale stories have translated into feature length live action movies.

  14. what an awesome interview. i can't wait to see this film. an amazing cast.

  15. That's a great interview. I love how she says imagination is a place where you're safe and where you can come back from. Such great actors!


Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions, . No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. This is a unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.

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