Meryl Streep has described her new film The Laundromat as a “funny way of telling a black-hearted joke that’s being played on all of us.”
Steven Soderbergh’s new film, which also stars Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, is a comic take on the 2016 Panama Papers scandal, when powerful individuals across the world were found to have engaged in tax avoidance schemes.
Although The Laundromat is a comedy, Meryl insisted during a press conference at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday that it had a serious message.
“This movie is fun and it’s funny, but it’s really, really, really important,” she said. “We’re living in a moment when the news cycle is racing and we are racing to keep up with current events. This is a funny way to tell a black-hearted joke, a joke that’s been played on all of us.”
The three-time Oscar winner then heaped praise on Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Maltese reporter working on the story, who was killed in a car bombing in 2017.
“People died and people die still to get the word out… It is a crime not without victims and the victims, many of them are journalists. The reason the Panama Papers were exported out to the world was the work of journalists. People died because of this,” she added.
Meryl plays Ellen Martin, a fictional widow whose digging in the film helps journalists expose the scandal, in the film.
Director Soderbergh recently said he was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War epic Dr. Strangelove while making The Laundromat, as he and writer Scott Z. Burns thought the only way the subject could be tackled was with dark comedy.
“It also gave us the opportunity to use the complexity of these financial activities almost as a joke,” Soderbergh explained. “Otherwise, people would feel they were being educated instead of entertained.”
The Laundromat will be available on Netflix on 18 October after a limited theatrical release.
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