Meryl Streep Had an Epic Response to a Director Who Said She Was Too Ugly For a Film

Meryl Streep, the most-nominated Academy Award actress to date, was once turned down early on in her career for being too “ugly” for a part in “King Kong.”

The actress shared on “The Graham Norton Show” the story of how rejection taught her an incredible life lesson. Being turned down for the role in “King Kong” during her audition could have ended her acting aspirations then and there, but it pushed her to success instead.

Streep, 66, was turned down for a role in Dino De Laurentiis’s remake of “King Kong” when she was 26 years old. Laurentiis’s son had asked Streep to audition for the part in 1975, but when his father caught sight of the actress he remarked “che brutta” in Italian, which meant “how ugly” or “what an ugly woman.”


“Dino De Laurentiis Senior and his son had seen me in a play and so I went up to the top of the Gulf and Western building, like the 33rd floor, and he had this amazing office that looked all over Manhattan …  I walked in and his son was sitting there very excited that he brought in this new actress.”

“Then the father said to his son in Italian because I understand Italian, ‘Che è brutta,’ or ‘why do you bring me this ugly thing.’ It was very sobering as a young girl. So I said to him, ‘[speaking Italian] I understand what you’re saying I’m sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be in ‘King Kong.’ ”

Meryl Streep has so far won three Academy Awards, one for Best Supporting Actress in 1979, one for Best Actress in 1982, and the most recent for Best Actress for 2011s “The Iron Lady”.

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: