CULTURE

Sharon Stone Knows Her Brazen Meryl Streep Rant “Sounds Sacrilegious”

Meryl Streep and Sharon Stone smiling
Photos by Samir Hussein/WireImage and Tommaso Boddi via Getty Images

There are few figures so universally beloved in Hollywood as Meryl Streep. But there is at least someone with a different view out there: Sharon Stone, whose recent comments about Streep resurfaced on Tuesday as fans celebrated Streep’s 72nd birthday on Tuesday. “I know [it] sounds sacrilegious,” Stone eventually concluded the rant, which appeared in the April/May issue of Zoomer magazine. “But it’s enough already.”

The interview was originally meant to focus on The Beauty of Living Twice, Stone’s memoir about the after-effects of a severe stroke and brain hemorrhage, including being declared legally dead in surgery and spending seven years in recovery. Instead, the conversation ended up being largely about Streep, with whom she co-starred in Steven Soderbergh’s 2019 film The Laundromat. It was not a highlight of Streep’s career: One of her two roles was that of a Latina woman. But that wasn’t why the topic lit a fire in Stone, prompted by the interviewer’s remark that she “finally got to work with Meryl Streep.”

“I like the way you phrase that, that I finally got to work with Meryl Streep,” Stone said. “You didn’t say, ‘Meryl finally got to work with Sharon Stone.’ Or we finally got to work together. Because that’s the way her life went, she got built up to be, ‘Everyone wants to work with Meryl.’ I wonder if she likes that?”

Don’t get Stone wrong: She thinks Streep is “an amazingly wonderful woman and actress.” And, she points out, the deification of Streep isn’t about Stone; it’s about how women are pitted against each other, both in Hollywood and overall society. “The business was set up that we should all envy and admire Meryl because only Meryl got to be the good one, and everyone should compete against Meryl.” Stone is of the firm opinion that plenty of other actresses are equally as talented: “Viola Davis is every bit the actress Meryl Streep is. Emma Thompson. Judy Davis. Olivia Colman. Kate Winslet, for fuck’s sake. But you say Meryl and everybody falls on the floor.”

Stone includes herself in that list. “I’m a much better villain than Meryl, and I’m sure she’d say so. Meryl was not gonna be good in Basic Instinct or in Casino. (The latter film nearly earned Stone an Academy Award.) “I would be better. And I know it. And she knows it.” At that point, Stone boldly launched into what was unmistakably a Streep impersonation:

“We’re all set up to think that only Meryl …”—here Stone’s voice goes all breathy, and she stretches out her arms in an arabesque, left arm forward—“is so amazing …”—right arm forward—“that when you say her name …”—left arm forward—“it must have been amazing …”—right arm—“for me to work …”—left arm—“with her.”

Stone wasn’t finished. “We’re all labelled the Queen of Something. I’m the Queen of Smut! She’s the Queen of That!,” she continued in the same breathy voice. “We’ve been taught that everybody doesn’t get a seat at the table. Once one is chosen, nobody else can get in there.”

Even a change of subject to the #MeToo ended up circling back to Streep (who has been criticized for not being more vocally supportive of the movement). “I’m sure Meryl has a story,” Stone said. “But I’m also sure if Meryl told you her story, she wouldn’t be being Meryl, and she wouldn’t be getting those jobs. Meryl can’t be the envelope pusher. Because then she wouldn’t get the jobs. Meryl’s a smoother. That’s what she does.”

Perhaps Stone spoke at such length because her previous comments about Streep were turned into clickbait. “Meryl looks like an unmade bed,” she told Tatler in 2010, adding that the same goes for herself. “I think that’s why Meryl Streep is working so much, because she looks like a woman we can all relate to. I look at her and I think, ‘I’m chasing my kids, I’ve moved my parents in with me, I’m coping with food spills—that looks like me in real life.”

The comparison did not go unnoticed, prompting Stone to issue a statement to Us Weekly. “It is not okay with me for someone to take a statement I made with good-natured intent and to try and make it in to something politically incorrect,” she wrote. “My love and support for what she represents for women right now is extraordinarily important.” Streep has yet to publicly acknowledge either interview.