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Meryl Streep during her speech at the awards ceremony. AFP
Watch as Meryl Streep makes special mention of Malaga in speech at Princess of Asturias Awards
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Watch as Meryl Streep makes special mention of Malaga in speech at Princess of Asturias Awards

The American actress also quoted Pablo Picasso after she was presented with her award by Spanish royalty

Raquel Merino / Europa Press

Malaga

Monday, 23 October 2023

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American actress Meryl Streep has made a special mention of Malaga in her speech at the Princess of Asturias Awards last Friday.

Some days before the ceremony in Oviedo in Asturias, Streep enjoyed a friendly chat with Malaga's Antonio Banderas at the Oviedo exhibition centre. Some 2,000 people packed the venue to attend the unscripted one-on-one between the two legendary actors. Banderas spoke of his parents, acknowledging them for taking him and his brother to Malaga to the theatre, and it seems his words struck a chord with the American actress who, in her speech at the Princess of Asturias Awards on Friday 20 October, paid homage to the city.

"The most important part of our work is to make every day accessible and felt by the audience sitting in a small theatre in Malaga," Streep said, after accepting the Princess of Asturias Award by Queen Letizia and King Felipe VI and their two daughters. Earlier, she has also referenced another Malaga local, artist Pablo Picasso. Asking herself "who am I, a nice middle-class girl from New Jersey, to dare to step into the shoes of the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom? Or a Polish Holocaust survivor? Or the arbiter of good taste in the world of fashion?", she then responded with a quote from the famous painter: "Imitating others is necessary. To imitate oneself is pathetic".

The American actress said that an actor's job is to "invade" other people's lives and, through empathy, "make each life accessible and felt by the audience". The three-time Oscar winner expressed her joy at receiving the Princess of Arts award among "such outstanding honourees". She said the award was recognition of the art of acting, "my life's work", the essence of which "remains a mystery even to me".

The actress, who has been nominated 21 times for Hollywood Academy Awards, said the connection with a character comes through "empathy". This empathy, she said, allows the actor to connect with the character and the character with the audience.

She also referenced one rule actors are always taught in drama schools: not to judge the character, a task that corresponds to the audience. "Judging makes you remain outside their experiences," she said, adding that when people become adults they learn to repress their feelings and replace them on the basis of their interests or ideology until "they become suspicious and mistrustful of the motives of others". "This is how we arrive at this sad moment in history," she said.

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