Sharon Stone: ‘Viola Davis is every bit the actress Meryl Streep is’

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Sharon Stone’s Zoomer interview from last month recently got amplified on Twitter, probably because it was Meryl Streep’s birthday. People on Twitter were behaving as if Sharon had shaded Meryl. But in reality, Sharon was clarifying a passage in her memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice. Sharon basically said that she loves Meryl and believes that she is a very talented actress, but that there are other just as talented actresses who do not get the same accolades. Sharon said Hollywood only makes room for one good actress at a time. The rule of “only one” also causes a lot of competition. Sharon may have chose violence but she didn’t lie. Despite some Meryl stans losing their collective sh*t over the out of context quotes, many folks agreed with Sharon. Below are a few more highlights from the Zoomer interview via Huffington Post:

“I find that fascinating,” Schneller told Stone of this particular passage. “So when you finally got to work with Meryl Streep, you realized — ”

But Schneller said that Stone cut her off.

“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.”

Stone continued, telling Schneller that the way she structured the question is part of the problem.

“The business was set up that we should all envy and admire Meryl because only Meryl got to be the good one,” Stone said. “And everyone should compete against Meryl. I think Meryl is an amazingly wonderful woman and actress. But in my opinion, quite frankly, there are other actresses equally as talented as Meryl Streep. The whole Meryl Streep iconography is part of what Hollywood does to women.”

Stone then begins naming female actors she thinks are on par with the celebrated 72-year-old actor.

“Viola Davis is every bit the actress Meryl Streep is. Emma Thompson. Judy Davis. Olivia Colman. Kate Winslet, for f**k’s sake. But you say Meryl and everybody falls on the floor.”

Stone, clearly on a roll, continued: “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.’”

And Stone kept rolling.

“That’s how we’re set up to think,” Stone said, referring to Schneller’s initial question. “Because I could never … touch the heights … We’re all labelled the Queen of Something. I’m the Queen of Smut! She’s the Queen of That! We all have to sit in our assigned seats. Are you kidding me? If we worked in a supermarket, she can’t always be the No. 1 checkout girl. We’re all doing our jobs.”

“That phrasing has been taught,” she concluded. “We’ve been taught that everybody doesn’t get a seat at the table. Once one is chosen, nobody else can get in there.”

[From Huffington Post]

This faux feud was juicy and I found myself tumbling down the rabbit hole. I haven’t been this enthralled in a Twitter beef since the Zola stripper story. A lot of the tweets had me cracking up, even people’s meltdown over the supposed audacity of Sharon. Sharon was honestly speaking the truth. Despite my love for Meryl, Sharon is right, Meryl could never play a great villain. The closest Meryl has ever come to that was playing Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. And let’s face it, Sharon is a great villain. I love that Sharon wasn’t actually attacking Meryl but the system that elevates one woman over the other. I believe Viola Davis is one of the best actors of our time but she doesn’t get the Meryl Streep checks or accolades. She’s said that, too. Anyways, good on Sharon for exposing the entire mechanism because it is absolute sh*t. I am here for a queen speaking her truth.

Below are a few tweets cheering on Sharon:

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41 Responses to “Sharon Stone: ‘Viola Davis is every bit the actress Meryl Streep is’”

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  1. Darla says:

    Well, she’s 100% right. Even if I believed Streep lived up to her rep, I’d say Stone is 100% right. As it is, IMO Streep is ridiculously overrated.

  2. LaraK says:

    She is 100% correct. We do this all the time – with actresses, musicians, athletes, models, hell even politicians. It’s always about who is the queen.

    I’m going to try to stop that. It’s unhealthy. I really don’t want my daughter to feel like she is implicitly lacking something, or like she can’t be enough. It’s not a good way to raise girls.

  3. Lightpurple says:

    So, what does Sharon have against Glenn Close to leave her off that list?

  4. KNy says:

    I mean, where’s the lie? She’s right. Meryl is held up as the standard, and she’s obviously a good actress, but she’s not far and beyond better than everyone and I appreciate Sharon Stone saying it.

  5. EnormousCoat says:

    I agree. I don’t think she made this about Meryl Streep the person. She made it about the industry and the glorification of one female actor, who happens to be Meryl Streep. I don’t see where she took anything away from her. Stone is simply pointing out that there are lots of talented actors who are women and they also deserve recognition and roles. Stone strikes me as a very smart and engaging person – having this conversation at this level is long overdue. I don’t see how she said anything shocking or insulting.

  6. Angie says:

    I really like what she had to say here and agree.

  7. Becks1 says:

    She’s not wrong.

    Meryl Streep is an excellent actress. But she’s not the only excellent actress out there in Hollywood today. But for some reason she’s revered as this legend and other excellent actresses are not. Meryl Streep is the gold standard for Hollywood and others are left off the list. There’s this sense that it’s a “privilege” to work with Meryl and its never the other way around.

    • Darla says:

      I think Streep gave some excellent performances earlier in her career, but somewhere along the way she became so smug and she carries that into every role. At this point, I actively avoid her films because I never DON’T see Meryl Streep. I don’t think she really acts any longer, she just appears and we’re all supposed to be fall into a hushed silence. That’s just my view.

      • girl_ninja says:

        You could say the same about Francis McDermott cause as of late the academy and other entities seem to just had her ever award. Stone is just as smug and hasn’t done half of what Viola, Meryl or the women on that list have. And Meryl is still that b*tch but Viola Davis is the standard.

      • Darla says:

        Oh that’s true about McDermott girl, yep. I just have this dislike of Meryl what can I say. I would put Viola far above her as far as who I enjoy watching anyway.

      • Becks1 says:

        I don’t see that in all of her roles, but I do see it in quite a few – that I never forget I’m watching Meryl Streep. But I figure that’s going to happen when she just has to sneeze in a movie and she’s guaranteed an Oscar nomination. I think the Meryl worship has become a bad cycle where Meryl doesnt need to act because it doesn’t matter and then its frustrating to see someone who isn’t acting (but who CAN act) getting all these accolades when other actresses are just ignored.

      • idk says:

        YES. I feel like I’m always watching Meryl Streep Acting, which is the opposite of what good acting actually is.

        Sharon Stone is serving accuracy and I’m here for it.

      • Thirtynine says:

        Darla, I agree she is over-rated. I loved her in French Lieutenants Woman, and then binge watched her a few years later. Seeing several of her most acclaimed roles together made me see that no matter what character she was, the same tricks and mannerisms were used in them all, over and over. Enough so that, I think it was Debbie Reynolds?- could do a recognisable send up her acting. I can’t unsee it now, and can no longer watch anything she’s in. I know this isn’t the point Sharon Stone is making, but it is just my opinion.

      • MA says:

        @Darla I feel the same. When I watch Meryl lately she is always Acting with a capital A. She’s one of the top actresses of our time but overrated as the gold standard that somehow no one else can reach.

  8. Chaine says:

    Maybe it’s just me but I have found her most of her films kind of boring? It’s like, overly dramatic movies my mom would pick to watch back in the day when what I wanted to see was something with Eddie Murphy. I did enjoy her in Big Little Lies, though.

  9. Eurydice says:

    I think another part of the glorification is that Meryl Streep excels in the roles that the Academy prefers and I don’t think anybody is better at totally transforming herself into another human being – and that’s something that the industry admires, too.

    • Mia4s says:

      “ Meryl Streep excels in the roles that the Academy prefers”

      Exactly this. She’s a fantastic actress (it would be silly to say otherwise) but she lacks a certain edge that would be needed for many darker, riskier roles. The roles she excels at though are absolute Academy catnip.

      To get gossipy: while she has a solid family by all accounts, I’ve always been curious if the whispers are true that she and her husband have an “understanding” when they are apart (for example, when she’s on set). And if so? Who Meryl may have hooked up with. Waiting on the book! 😏

      • sunny says:

        There is a really great YouTube Channel called Be Kind Rewind where the creator examines the film industry particularly around the career/Oscar journeys of actresses of different eras and she 100% totally had a video that talked about Streep’s brilliance but also that the dimensions of acting she excels in(such as accent work) and the types of roles she takes(drama) are the kinds of performances that resonate with the Academy most.

  10. Purplehazeforever says:

    I love Sharon Stone…& everything she’s been in. I can’t say the same about Meryl Streep. Plus, she’s not wrong. She didn’t attack Meryl, she attacked the industry.

  11. lanne says:

    In patriarchy, there can be only 1 woman who is praised and worshipped, and all other women are supposed to hate themselves for not being that woman, and do all they can to mold themselves into that woman.

    I think that’s part of the vitriol that Duchess Meghan received. Kate was supposed to be the “one woman” the media would use to berate Meghan. The “true Queen” who’s thinner, prettier, (whiter). Meghan shows up and the only thing they can do is disparage her. Any wife of Harry would have dealt this even without racism.

    It’s been an old standby in Hollywood just like Sharon says. Meryl was deemed the “good one.” She’s not so beautiful that men will just ignore her talent, but she’s still beautiful enough to be held up as a paragon. She genuinely is talented of course, but it must be disheartening to her that she’s the “proof” men use that Hollywood supports actresses. The rest of the super talented actresses get held up for a while, then demoted though backlash for being “imperfect”. They fill short term roles like the Cool Girl or the Mysterious Girl or the Manic Pixie or Hot Girl or whatever, then get bumped off the pedestal.

    The only other Meryl Golden Girl actress who’s above any reproach seems to be Cate Blanchett. She’s also, like Meryl, allowed to age, allowed to be complex.

    Then there are all the mediocre at best white actors out there who can play any part they desire. Matt Damon for example is a good, but not great actor. Lots of women as talented, and even more talented, will never have the career he’s had.

    • Myra says:

      That is so true. They can cater for just about any and every men but somehow there must be only one awesome woman. She must always white, too. It’s easy to see that when woman are always compared to each other, which I don’t think Sharon is doing.

    • Darla says:

      Great post

  12. Nev says:

    WORD UP.

  13. TIFFANY says:

    Doubt confirmed everything Sharon said.

    I. Mean.

  14. Noki says:

    I agree with what Sharon said in terms of the unfair pedestal they put Meryl on. But i have to say not a big fan of Viola her never ending snffling and expressions throw me off.

  15. BnlurNforever says:

    I agree. I think Meryl is an excellent actress, but there are other equally excellent actresses imo. When I think of Emma Thompson in that little Christmas film “Love Actually” and how she managed to transcend that movie with her performance. Then you have Regina King standing out in every role she’s ever played. These two and others have as much talent as Meryl but they’ll never receive her respect in that business.

  16. FF says:

    Hollywood always put actresses in competition with each other by undermining the success of actresses generally.

    Look at how franchises generally treat women: as the first actor to be swapped out come the sequel. That way women never get to be franchise headliners unless it’s by fluke. Either that or they just don’t make material that gives women the lead.

    Also think about how many male septugenarians get to go back and headline their franchises (Die Hard, Terminator, Indiana Jones, etc.). Look at the Furiosa franchise: the first thing they did was get rid of Theron.

    And often the women are the strongest actors in the production.

    Yet any white guy newbie can be handed franchise after franchise (see Chris Pratt, then see the women of Guardians of the Galaxy, Zoe Saldana in particular, as an actor who’s featured in some of the highest grossing films of all time).

    The whole system is rigged against women but WoC in particular. It’s a long-held gripe of mine.

    I’m not even going to get into the endless sabotage of shows/projects with Black leads.

    • Darla says:

      I was thinking about this when I read that Harrison Ford injured himself on the set of the new Indiana Jones. I was like, yeah, he’s like 80. Still doing action movies. OF COURSE he injured himself. It’s just so crazy. I won’t go see it just on principal.

  17. Erin says:

    I love this commentary from Sharon. Viola Davis is an absolute QUEEN in every sense and an absolutely incredible actress to watch. How to Get Away With Murder is one of the best shows out there in large part due to her acting skills.

  18. wheneight says:

    Completely agree with Sharon, I’ve thought for years that the constant fawning over Meryl Streep felt weird. I wonder if Meryl will chime in but I doubt it.

    Does anyone else remember an interview she did a few years back where the interviewer asked her something like, “Why do you think there’s so few good roles for older actresses?” and Meryl was like, “I don’t think that, I think there’s a lot of great roles.” Ummm, what? Yeah, maybe for YOU. Because you get all of them. It was such a rude and tone deaf answer.

  19. The Artist Formerly Known as Valiantly Varnished says:

    Sharon spit straight FACTS. People called her a hater. But nothing she said was hateful in the slightest to Meryl.
    Julianne Moore, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett are ALL on par with her. And it’s the hero-worship of Meryl that allowed her to win an Oscar for the drivel of a film, Iron Lady.
    PS – Viola acted circles around Meryl in Doubt.

  20. lucy2 says:

    Sharon’s not wrong. I’ve enjoyed a lot of Meryl’s performances. I’ve enjoyed a lot from the other women mentioned too. I don’t see the need to put one person on a pedestal and consider the rest lower tier, when they all do great work.

  21. Sof says:

    It’s the kind of question you would expect to be asked to a young actress, someone who is starting her career, not one of Meryl’s peers! It was insulting, I’m glad Sharon stopped her.
    I’ve said before that to me Meryl is overrated, however I don’t understand the need to have a GOAT on every field, particularly acting, when the work not only depends on the person’s talent but also on the script, the way the director decides to show the story, etc.

  22. Meg says:

    i think if one of those women people think are on par with meryl talent wise had said this, the reaction would be different.

    the headlines here were picked for us to assume a catfight was happening, because the media and tabloids in particular love to do that patronize women down to the mentality of ‘silly’ teenage girls overreacting to ‘silly’ things like status, as if men dont do that too.

  23. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    TBH I prefer Helen Kitten, Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt to Meryl Streep, and if Emma Thompson’s name shows up I am watching. I really REALLY also love Helena Bonham Carter.
    I am NOT saying Ms. Streep isn’t a great actress she is but there are others I find even better
    Just my two cents

    • Robin says:

      Exactly. She is good, very good, but sometimes I feel you can see the actor acting with her. There are better.