Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest and Candice Bergen on “Let Them All Talk”

What happens when you take a three-time Academy Award-winner, a two-time Academy Award-winner, and a five-time Emmy Award-winner, and put them in a movie together?

Asked to describe their new HBO Max film, “Let Them All Talk,” Meryl Streep said, “It’s about time, regret, friendship, opportunity, and love and money.”

“I would throw in a tiny betrayal,” said Candice Bergen.

And Dianne Diest said, from her point of view, “Very sort of realistic and close to life, with this huge undercurrent of mystery.”

In the movie, which debuts in December, Streep, accompanied by her nephew (played by Lucas Hedges) invites two old college chums to join her on a cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2.

Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”) cast Streep first.

Speaking to the three actresses via Zoom, correspondent Rita Braver asked, “As I understand it, Meryl is the one who said, ‘Why don’t you talk to Dianne Wiest about this movie?’ What was your response when you heard that?”

“I just wanted to kiss [Meryl’s] toes!” Wiest laughed. “I was so grateful. Thank you!”

From left: Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest and Candice Bergen, stars of the new HBO Max film, “Let Them All Talk.” CBS News

Streep said, “I tried to get Candice off the picture, I tried to keep Candice off!”

“Well, you just failed!” said Bergen.

“You were trying to keep her from stealing the movie?” asked Braver. “Candice, when they called you and said, ‘OK, these two are in the film, how’d you like to join,’ your response?”

“I didn’t know what to say, frankly,” Bergen replied. “It was a remarkably stress-free shoot in every way.”

Streep, who plays an unhappy, self-centered, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, said, “Alice is a woman who has no family. She’s someone who was devoted all her life to her craft and her art.”

Clockwise from top: Meryl Streep, Lucas Hedge, Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest in “Let Them All Talk.”  HBO Max

“She seemed like she wanted to crawl out of herself,” Braver said. “She knew there was maybe something a little bit wrong with her, but she didn’t know how to fix it?”

“Ahh, that’s great, Rita! I am going to … you’ll be seeing that in press materials!” Streep laughed.

Bergen plays Roberta, who struggles financially working as a lingerie saleswoman. She believes that Alice sabotaged her marriage with a rich man: “Roberta grew up poor in Texas, and her only pet was a snake. And then [Alice] uses Roberta’s life for her plot for a novel, which reveals an affair that Roberta’s had.”

Wiest plays Susan, a grandmother who understands how hard it is to rekindle friendships. “The love of a friend is something that must be constantly woven<” she said. “You can’t let it go, and then say, ‘Hi!'”

As behind-the-scenes images shot by Bergen show, Soderbergh acted as cameraman as well as director, making the film (before the pandemic) over the course of a regular cruise on the Queen Mary 2, with paying guests as extras.

Director Steven Soderbergh was also the cinematographer.  Candice Bergen

“Steven would sit in a wheelchair, and we would shoot,” said Wiest.

“He shot a full-length feature in two weeks,” Bergen marveled.

And though all of the actors were told the storyline and what should happen in each scene, they actually had to improvise their own dialogue.

Braver asked, “So, did you feel like, ‘Oh, I have to be funny and witty and be smart in this scene’?”

“I just felt like I have to survive!” Bergen laughed.

Streep laughed, “I felt like I had to be pretentious, and that’s such a stretch for me!”

But despite the fact that all three of these women are show-biz legends, what really amazes them is that someone actually made a major Hollywood film starring three women in their 70s.

Braver asked, “What is it like to be part of a movie that does that?”

“Well, it’s really strange because you’ve never done it before, so it’s wonderful!” Wiest replied.

Streep added, “Amy Shumer says because we’re not f***able.”

“It’s the ‘Sunday Morning’ show!” Bergen pointed out, a little late.

“Don’t cut that!” Wiest laughed.

But there is a serious message, too: “We’ve finished the bulk of our lives, we’re more able to engage in a kind of more brutal honesty,’ Bergen said.

“And it’s uncharted territory,” added Streep. “Think about it: no one has made this film before. Usually people our age who are in movies are witches, grotesques, gargoyles, or sweet little grandmothers.”
“Maybe we’re interesting? Just a little bit, right?” asked Braver.

“Maybe,” Wiest laughed. “Maybe. I wouldn’t push it. I wouldn’t push it. But maybe!”

To watch a trailer for “Let Them All Talk” click on the video player below:

Let Them All Talk | Official Trailer | HBO Max by HBO Max on YouTube

For more info:

Story produced by Sara Kugel. Editor: Mike Levine.

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Source : Cbs News