Meryl Streep reflects on 'magical' time in Donegal and Tom Hanks praises 'lovely' Wexford
Irish journalists seeking local connections while interviewing Hollywood superstars is an accepted practice at this stage and a sit-down with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks would provide no exception.
The legendary actors, who have three and two Oscars respectively, spoke with Ryan Tubridy on his RTE Radio One show to promote their new film The Post, which centres around Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major US paper (The Washington Post) and its former editor Ben Bradlees in the 1970s.
Before delving into Trump, Oprah and mansplaining, Streep reflected on some time spent in Donegal which she described as the “most magical afternoon of my life”.
Hanks is also no stranger to filming in Ireland, he shot Saving Private Ryan here in 1997, a time he fondly looks back on with one standout memory.
“Here’s the greatest memory of it all. I was staying in the little town of Gorey and I came home one night after work and everybody was outside of the pub and they were all drinking. I thought it would be lovely to meet them and sit down with them, but I had to work,” he explained.
“The next morning, we passed the same pub and on all the benches and all the ledges on the pub were all the pint glasses waiting to be collected. I thought, ‘In Ireland, they don’t steal pint glasses’. That would never happen in the United States.”
Tubridy quipped that the glasses aren’t even washed, to which Hanks responded: “They’re even ahead of us in water conservation!”
The conversation quickly shifted to the parallels between Trump’s White House and that of former US president Richard Nixon.
“I think that Steven Spieldberg really felt the impetus to make this film this year. This year in 2017, last year - the press, the freedom of the press and the right of journalists to bring the truth to people has been under siege in way unlike anything we’ve seen since Richard Nixon,” she said.
“The importance of bolstering the first amended of our Constitution which speaks to people to the right to know the truth and hold government to account is embedded in this story and it couldn’t be more relevant.”
Hanks echoed: “It’s amazing in that we did not have to do anything specific in order to bring it up to date, it was just recording what happened in 1971, as it happened. And the connections in the historic fact. This is just a brand of an empirical truth, the way it went down and isn’t it staggering, frightening, and enlightening to realise we might as well set the movie in 2017?”
Less than a week after the Golden Globes, after all guests wore black to stand in solidarity and support of the Time’s Up initiative, Meryl praised female bravery as whistleblowers over the years.
“It’s a thrilling moment, that so many of the whistleblowers across all industries turn out to be women,” she said. “It isn’t just starting with this #MeToo moment – it goes back to the Enron debacle, Daphne Caruana Galizia, who brought the Panama Papers. Part of it is that they’re not part of the collusion at the leadership level: they really have nothing to lose or they have everything to lose by speaking up
“We’re stronger together,” she added.”Courage begets courage, the fact that women are joining together to impound the power imbalance that currently exists is really an exciting moment in history.”