How Meryl Streep’s Process Reassures Geraldine Viswanathan

     September 29, 2020

I’ve got sky high hopes of Geraldine Viswanathan. You could immediately tell she had that special spark in Blockers when that film hit theaters in 2018. Now there’s also Hala, Bad Education, Miracle Workers and The Broken Hearts Gallery; there’s really no denying that Viswanathan is bound to become a household name – if she isn’t for you already. (And if she isn’t, I’d highly recommend all of those titles mentioned.) With Viswanathan already having accomplished so much and also having so much ahead of her, it was a real thrill welcoming her to Collider Ladies Night to talk a bit about her road to Blockers and how she’s grown since.

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Image via HBO

If you’ve seen even a single episode of Collider Ladies Night, you know I enjoy digging into someone’s routine and how they’ve honed their craft overt the years. A big part of Viswanathan’s evolution? Being reminded of things she already knows to be true through interviews:

“There’s this place called The Actor’s Station and they have an Instagram and they post little snippets of actors in interviews with some advice. Sometimes I’ll just come across that and be like, ‘Oh, that was useful! That was nice to be reminded.’ I feel like it’s all stuff that we know instinctually, but you just sometimes need to be reminded and just hear it again.”

Even when you know you’re doing the right thing or taking the best path, hearing someone else say, “I do that too,” can be a major confidence booster and, it turns out, Viswanathan got just that from a Meryl Streep interview: 

“I’m always very relieved when people are asked what their process is and they’re like ‘I don’t know.’ When it’s like Meryl Streep being like, ‘It’s different every time,’ I’m like, ‘Thank god because that’s how I feel!’”

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Image via Sony Pictures

Back in August of 2019, I did an interview with Kelvin Harrison Jr. and, with great enthusiasm, he mentioned that he watches a lot of interviews and roundtables with actors, so I opted to ask him for a question he wishes was asked more often. Now, you might have noticed, a bunch of my interviews explore what it means to be #1 on the call sheet and why it’s a huge responsibility – not just from a performance perspective but also in terms of how that individual can set the tone on set. When Viswanathan expressed a similar level of interest in interviews, I had to ask her to do the same. Here’s the question she chose: 

“What’s the first thing that they do when they get the script? Yeah, I feel like where to start, that’s always kind of the hardest part.”

Keep an eye out for that one in upcoming interviews, and also be sure to keep an eye out for Viswanathan’s full episode of Collider Ladies Night coming soon! We discussed her experience making the move to Hollywood, booking Blockers, working opposite Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney in Bad Education, her hopes for Miracle Workers Season 3 and so much more!

Television