Meryl Streep Says Neil Young Taught Her How to Be a Rock Star

She’s Hollywood royalty. So when Meryl Streep had to learn how to convincingly play guitar for her new film “Ricki and the Flash,” she turned to rock royalty.

“He said crank it up to 11,” the Oscar winner tells Jimmy Fallon of her tutorial with Neil Young during a visit to “The Tonight Show” on Monday. The sage advice from the “amazing” Grammy-winning musician was something that resonated for her role in the musical dramedy. “My first lesson was 45 minutes with Neil. It’s fantastic.”

But the encounter came entirely by surprise.

“Neil Young was inside recording something for his new sound system,” she recalls of what seemed like an ordinary lesson, adding that her guitar teacher said to her, “Come on, Neil would like to meet you and maybe I’ll get him to give you a guitar lesson.”

In “Ricki and the Flash,” Streep plays a failed rock and roll singer. She riffs away with some well-known musicians in the movie, including Rick Springfield. Even so, playing the actual music with other musicians was one of the best things about filming the movie.

“We had a set done in Brooklyn on the docks,” she shares. “We built this very funky club inside and all the extras came in and all day we would play because we did all the music loaded into the front of the shoot. It was sort of like being at a party for eight days. One of the extras said, ‘Man, I wish this was a real bar.'”

“Ricki and the Flash,” co-starring her on-and-off-screen daughter Mamie Gummer, Kevin Kline and Audra McDonald, hits theaters on Friday. Watch the trailer below.

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