* AbilityOverAppearance: A lot of directors remarked that they nearly turned Meryl down for many roles because they felt she wasn't beautiful enough - but her performances were just so good that she was a perfect fit. Such films include ''Film/OutOfAfrica''[[note]]written for Jane Seymour[[/note]], ''Film/SophiesChoice''[[note]]written for Ursula Andress[[/note]] and ''Literature/TheFrenchLieutenantsWoman'' (in which Meryl herself felt she wasn't pretty enough).
* ActorInspiredElement:
** Meryl suggested a change from Miranda Priestly's line in ''Film/TheDevilWearsPrada'' - "everyone wants to be me" to "everyone wants to be ''us''" - finding the former too dramatic.
** Meryl also felt that Joanna in ''Film/KramerVsKramer'' was written to be "too evil" in the script. The writers agreed, and Joanna become far more sympathetic.
** Her character in ''Film/DeathBecomesHer'' was scripted to have an affair with a younger man, but she suggested a rewrite.
* AwesomeDearBoy:
** Meryl has it as a rule that she won't play witches in films[[note]]When she turned forty, she was offered three different witch roles[[/note]] but agreed to play one in ''Film/IntoTheWoods'' because it was a Stephen Sondheim musical.
** She provided the narration for the film ''Monet's Palate'' because she was a fan of Claude Monet's artwork.
** ''Rendition'' was also this for her. She signed on at once, since she was rarely offered scripts for political thrillers.
* BestKnownForTheFanservice: ''Silkwood'' is the film where she goes topless, as Seth [=McFarlane=] highlighted in the infamous "We Saw Your Boobs" number at the Oscars.
* TheCameo: As herself in ''Stuck On You''.
* CareerResurrection: Believe it or not, Meryl did suffer some setbacks in the early 90s. HypeBacklash set in and she longed to go against type and do more comedies. None of them did particularly well. ''Film/TheBridgesOfMadisonCounty'' was regarded as a return to prominence for her. Some critics also cite ''Film/MammaMia'' as a high point - since it grossed $600 million worldwide, many of them remarking "the greatest actress in American movies has finally become a movie star."
* CreatorBacklash: The one performance she wasn't happy with was ''The French Lieutenant's Woman''.
--> "I didn't feel I was living it. I just wanted to do something better after the fact."
* DeletedRole: Her role in ''Julia'' was heavily cut down, with many scenes deleted. But she still ended up as a OneSceneWonder.
* DyeHard: Was a brunette early in her career but is better known as a blonde these days.
* EnforcedMethodActing: On the first day filming ''Film/TheDevilWearsPrada'', she said to Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt that she was so happy they would be working together - and to remember that, because it would be the last nice thing she said. Meryl kept her distance from the rest of the cast during filming, feeling that she couldn't properly "chill the blood" on camera if she was constantly around them.
* FakeNationality: She has proved quite adept at mastering numerous accents. They include English (''Film/TheIronLady'', ''The French Lieutenant's Woman'', ''Plenty''), Irish (''Theatre/DancingAtLughnasa''), Danish (''Out of Africa''), Australian (''Cry in the Dark''), Polish (''Film/SophiesChoice''), Italian (''Film/TheBridgesOfMadisonCounty'') and German (the miniseries ''Holocaust'').
* MoneyDearBoy: Admits that she took a role in the miniseries ''Holocaust'' primarily for the money.
** OldShame: ''Still Of The Night''. ThatOtherWiki has an article about it, this one doesn't.
* PlayingAgainstType: While she has plenty of range to avoid typecasting, she's normally associated with serious emotional dramas, and a movie is automatically considered OscarBait if she's in it. The films she's been in that don't conform to that:
** ''Film/SheDevil'' is a satirical comedy, and marked the first time she had starred in one.
** ''Film/MammaMia'' and ''Film/IntoTheWoods'' are {{Camp}}y musicals. The latter is also fantasy, where she plays a witch for the first time in her career.
** ''Film/{{A Series of Unfortunate Events|2004}}'' is a BlackComedy based on a children's book - where she plays a batty {{Cloudcuckoolander}}.
** ''Film/TheGiver'' is dystopian sci-fi.
** ''Film/RickiAndTheFlash'' is a dramedy where she plays an ageing rock star.
* RealLifeRelative: She's starred alongside her daughter Mamie Gummer in ''Evening'' and ''Film/RickiAndTheFlash'' (where they play mother and daughter).
* SoMyKidsCanWatch:
** Her children were big fans of ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'', and that's why she played Aunt Josephine.
** She guest starred on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' for this reason too. Nancy Cartwright recalls Meryl coming up to her and saying "my kids haven't watched many of my films, but I'm sure they'll watch this. Can I have your autograph?"
* StarMakingRole: A very quick process, with both ''Film/TheDeerHunter'' and ''Film/KramerVsKramer'' bringing her to national attention. But it was ''Film/SophiesChoice'' and the Oscar win that really solidified Meryl as a star.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** The original author wrote ''Sophie's Choice'' with Ursula Andress in mind for the lead. Meryl however lobbied hard for the part, and the rest is history.
** She replaced {{Music/Madonna}} in the lead of ''Film/MusicOfTheHeart''.