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Great Acting

In the December 1987 LIFE magazine, Brad Darrach wrote:

“Meryl Streep is gray with cold. In IRONWEED, her new movie, she plays a ragged derelict who dies in a cheap hotel room, and for more than half an hour before the scene she has been hugging a huge bag of ice cubes in an agonizing effort to experience how it feels to be a corpse. Now the camera begins to turn. Jack Nicholson, her derelict lover, sobs and screams and shakes her body. But through take after take—and between takes too—Meryl just lies like an iced mackerel. Frightened, a member of the crew whispers to the director, Hector Babenco, ‘What’s going on? She’s not breathing!’

“Babenco gives a start. In Meryl’s body there is absolutely no sign of life! He hesitates, then lets the scene proceed. Yet even after the shot is made and set struck, Meryl continues to lie there, gray and still. Only after 10 minutes have passed does she slowly, slowly emerge from the coma-like state into which she has deliberately sunk.

Babenco is amazed. ‘Now THAT,’ he mutters in amazement ‘is acting! THAT is an actress!’“

Total dedication amazes people. How wonderful to be so dedicated to Christ that people will say, “Now THAT is a Christian!”

LIFE Magazine, December 1987.