Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Adam White

Meryl Streep jokes about Obama’s ‘bad memory’ as she corrects story about her in his memoir

Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Meryl Streep has joked that Barack Obama has a “bad memory”, and corrected a story he recalled about her in his new memoir.

In Obama’s A Promised Land, which was released last month, the former US president remembered a White House event during which Streep recited to him a Mandarin poem by heart. He claimed that she had remembered the poem from a role she played years prior.

While appearing on Stephen Colbert’s US talk show, Streep revealed that Obama slightly misremembered the story.

“I do remember that moment, but he got the story a little bit wrong,” Streep said. “He’s a very good writer but his memory is…” – Streep then mimicked a mock grimace.

“Let’s fact-check the president here!” Colbert replied. “What was the reality — it wasn’t for a part?”

Streep then explained that she had attended an event in Beijing shortly before meeting the president, and was asked to recite a poem in both English and Mandarin alongside the famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

However, Streep “chickened out” at the last minute after remembering that Mandarin is so precise and that subtle changes to pronunciation can radically alter the meanings of words. Instead, she said, she only recited the poem in English.

“But yes, I remembered the poem [and] said it to the president,” she added.

Meryl Streep and Barack Obama (Frazer Harrison/Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

At Colbert’s insistence, Streep recited the poem again, in both English and Mandarin, before apologising for potentially messing it up.

“Since one in five people on the face of the earth are Chinese, they will know now that I have just said something horrible, probably,” Streep joked. “It’s an international incident!”

Streep appears in the new musical The Prom, which arrives on Netflix on 11 December, and in Steven Soderbergh’s new comedy film Let Them All Talk.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.