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Meryl Streep Was Once Called Too ‘Ugly’ to Star in King Kong

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Before Meryl Streep became the greatest actress of her generation and set the record for the most number of Academy Award nominations (total of 20) for any actor or actress to date, she had to face rejection, too. The American superstar and philanthropist is known for excellently playing versatile roles across different genres, but during the early years of her career, not everybody saw her potential.

In one famous talk show, Streep told the story of her failed audition for the 1976 King Kong film with renowned producer Dino De Laurentiis. According to Streep, the producer’s son, Federico, had seen her in a play and brought her in to audition for the role of Dwan. Streep, who was 26 then and had yet to make a film debut, was thrilled, but it didn’t turn out well.

Streep tells the story of how she was called ‘ugly’ by a famous director.

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De Laurentiis, speaking in Italian, asked his son:

“Why do you bring me this ugly thing?”


Little did he know that Streep knew Italian, too, and understood what he just said. The actress, smart and sharp, then responded in Italian:

“I’m sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be in King Kong.”

The role eventually went to actress Jessica Lange, who also went on to have a successful acting career.

Streep can laugh about the experience now, but her road to success wasn’t without hard work and real talent.

Streep continued to act in theater, appearing in various Broadway productions and even garnering awards. Her first feature film role came in 1977 opposite Jane Fonda in the film Julia. Her big break came shortly after, when Robert De Niro, who had spotted her in the stage production of The Cherry Orchard, suggested that Streep play the role of his girlfriend in the war movie The Deer Hunter (1978).

Despite the experience with De Laurentiis, Streep pushed forward to become one of our greatest actresses today.

Since then, Streep has starred in hundreds of productions in television, movie, and theater. She has acted in drama, comedy, musical, and other genres. She currently holds the record for most number of Academy Award (20) and Golden Globe (30) nominations than any other actor or actress in history.

Streep has set acting records with the number of nominations and wins she has received so far.

Streep is a true testament to what real talent and hard work can do. Even after facing harsh rejection from a famous producer so early in her career, she held her head high, fought for her dignity, showed spunk, and went on to conquer the world of acting.

She’s definitely not ‘ugly,’ and she’s definitely our hero!

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