What exactly is “the Streep Effect”? According to an article in The Independent, it’s Meryl Streep’s uncanny ability to translate film roles into economic success for third parties.
Her latest film, Julie & Julia, in which she plays the kitchen guru Julia Child, has already taken more than $28.5m (£17m) since its US release two weeks ago, and has sent Child’s 1961 book Mastering the Art of French Cooking back to the top of bestseller lists, as well as triggering a boom in interest in French cuisine classes in the US.
They also report that both Abba albums and the Greek island of Skopelos saw a surge in popularity post Mamma Mia! Her 1985 hit Out of Africa led to a significant increase in the number of tourists visiting Kenya.
A few weeks ago we might have dismissed the above examples as mere coincidence. It’s not like Doubt led to newfound riches for the Catholic church. Or The Devil Wears Prada could save Conde Nast from the evil reality of tap water. But then we saw Streep’s appearance on The Colbert Report. Her svengali powers were so strong that she was able to make Colbert break character — something that he rarely does. So perhaps he was right — maybe her role in 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer “invented” divorce, even if CDC statistics suggest that the real boom started back in the ’50s.
Who knows what the Streep Effect will lead to next… a war on farmers?