Streep, Wiest and Bergen Take a Voyage in 'Let Them All Talk'
Last updated 1/13/2021 at 9:08pm | View PDF
"Let Them All Talk" is a unique comedy streaming on HBO Max starring Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest, with Lucas Hedges and Gemma Chan. It touches upon the importance of human relationships – especially as one ages – with humor.
"In the old days, this movie would be called a 'comedy of manners,'" said director Steven Soderbergh. "We had a setup that allowed us to get into some issues that are interesting to me, especially as I am getting older."
"One of the really fascinating things about getting older is how entwined your relationships are with your experience and what a great influence they have on your life," said screenwriter Deborah Eisenberg. "You make a friend when you are young and it's an intense encounter that stays with you your whole life, even if you don't see, or rarely see the person again."
Filmed on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 during an actual crossing from New York to England in August 2019, the movie explores how friendships between women that started during college play out over time.
Alice (Streep) is a best-selling author who has neither married nor has children. When she earns a prestigious literary award that is to be bestowed upon her in England, Alice informs her bright new agent, Karen (Chan), that she cannot fly. Determined to earn points with her new client, Karen suggests that Alice cross the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2. If Alice is willing to give a lecture on the boat, Karen can negotiate free passage so Alice will not have to travel by plane.
The idea appeals to Alice, if she can invite two friends from her college days, Roberta (Bergen) and Susan (Wiest).
Once Alice and her group are on board and bound for England, tensions surface at the first meal. Roberta hasn't spoken to Alice in over 30 years because she feels Alice plagiarized the unraveling of her marriage by turning it into her biggest selling novel.
Let's Take An Idea...
"While we were making 'The Girlfriend Experience' (in 2008), this idea emerged through a conversation we were having one day about a group of women in their 60s or 70s who haven't seen each other in a while," said Soderbergh.
He and producer Gregory Jacobs decided to have their reunion take place on an ocean crossing aboard the Queen Mary 2. Once Streep, Wiest and Bergen agreed to do the film, the decision was made to let the three veteran actors improvise as much as possble.
"I was terrified and intrigued by a film shot so fast in such a confined location - the middle of the ocean - and short of an outline and a suggested narrative direction, we would all make it up as we went along," said Streep.
"The weather on the crossing was a wonderful thing," recalled Wiest. "A day might begin with dense fog, so dense you could see nothing, neither the sea nor others. Then, the fog would lift and there would be a silver gray, the gray that filmmakers would do anything for, and then rays of sun would streak down and a brilliant blue appear and bits of light sparkling everywhere you turned."
"When they said 'wrap,' we peeled off the makeup, hit the bath and bed and looked at the outline for the next day," said Streep. "We went to sleep dreaming as the character, woke up, put our costumes on in our staterooms, and went to work making it all up as it came out of our mouths."