EXCLUSIVE: How Meryl Streep's Presence Filled the Set of 'Death Becomes Her'

by Stacy Lambe 11:20 AM PDT, April 25, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: How Meryl Streep's Presence Filled the Set of 'Death Becomes Her'

It’s been nearly 25 years since Death Becomes Her first hit theaters, eventually becoming a camp classic. Now, the film starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis, and Isabella Rossellini is finally coming out on Blu-ray (April 26).

To celebrate, ET has an exclusive look behind the scenes with screenwriter David Koepp, cinematographer Dean Cundey, and production designer Rick Carter. And all three give credit to the cast for striking a balance between comedy and horror, while embracing the larger-than-life nature of the script.

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“The cast involved meant to me that it was going to be elevated above what would probably be today’s conventional horror,” Cundey says, while Koepp admits “the dialogue was certainly stylized.” Indeed it was, considering it tells the story about two rivals drinking a magic potion that promises eternal youth.

But it was Streep, who had already won two Academy Awards at that point, who brought a certain aura to the set, ultimately raising the bar for the film.

“I remember the first day Meryl Streep shot on that set and her first lines were ‘Earnest’ and the whole place just filled with her ego,” Carter says, revealing he was worried that he made the world “too big” for any personality to fill it. “There she was; the set came alive.”

While Streep may have awestruck the creative team behind Death Becomes Her, the 66-year-old actress recalled a time when she was starstruck herself.

“The first famous person I knew was Al Pacino,” Streep told Graham Norton about a disastrous first encounter with her future Angels in America co-star. “I didn’t work with him, but he came over to the house for dinner.”

“I cooked homemade spaghetti sauce,” Streep remembered with a self-deprecating laugh. “Somebody had told me once to put a carrot in the sauce. It was awful.”