Legendary actress Meryl Streep takes on the role of Sister Aloysius, the iron-gloved Catholic school Principal who believes in the power of fear and discipline, in Miramax Films’ new, psychological thriller “Doubt.” Streep’s performance in the film earned her Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Actress.
Streep, says director-screenwriter John Patrick Shanley, was full of extraordinary surprises in the role, and illuminated Sister Aloysius in ways even he hadn’t foreseen. “Meryl is a protean actress. She has so many colors coming out of her and makes so many intriguing choices, all justified within the parameters of her character,” he says. “I didn’t realize how thrilling it was going to be to work with her. Her heart and her soul and her imagination are wide open. It’s like capturing lightning in a bottle when you’re shooting with her because every take is completely different, yet each one is justified and grounded in the very depths and truths of the character.”
Streep says that she looked at Sister Aloysius from every conceivable angle to arrive at her portrait. “I wanted to look beyond the habit at the question of who is she? Where did she come from? Why did she spend her life in service in this way? What are her secrets? What is wonderful in her background? What is terrible? That was my job,” she says.
That job was enhanced, Streep notes, by Shanley’s way of working with actors. “Throughout, John was very open to invention, and he’d very happily say, ‘I never saw it that way before.’ He would say that quite often and it made us feel wonderful and free, which is what you want from actors,” Streep concludes.
“Doubt” opens soon in cinemas across Metro Manila.