Clark Collis
January 26, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

Meryl Streep has been cooking. ”That’s why my wrist is burned,” says the 57-year-old, showing her somewhat seared right arm. ”I can never leave food alone — I always have to pull things out to see if they’re done.”

The image of America’s greatest living screen actress sweating over a hot stove is far removed from anything we see her doing in the hit The Devil Wears Prada. Based on Lauren Weisberger’s best-selling roman à clef about her time as an assistant to Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, the film stars Streep as demanding, imperious, sarcastic, and just plain rude fashion-magazine overlord Miranda Priestly. Though Priestly’s chosen weapons are a barbed tongue and imperious stare rather than a chain saw or butcher’s knife, there’s no doubt that Streep has created one of the great monsters of cinema. But in the third act, the double Oscar winner really earns her money — and breaks her own record with her 14th nomination — by revealing a stark vulnerability that makes you understand there’s more to this woman than mere sadism.

In addition to awards and accolades, the film scored an impressive $125 million at the box office, becoming one of Streep’s top grossers. The actress is clearly delighted in the success of a film that reflects her own, to put it mildly, mixed feelings about the beauty-industrial complex. ”Everybody who knows me knows how much I hate having my picture taken,” she says. ”Glamour doesn’t have anything to do with what we do, with making — not to be hideously pretentious about it — but with making souls come alive in front of you.” And Streep’s ability to bring souls alive — even those belonging to tyrannical fashion mavens — is something that will never go out of style.

You May Like