Meryl Streep Was Very Nervous for ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Songs

Meryl Streep is opening up about some of the fears she had going into season three of Only Murders in the Building, particularly when it came to her big musical number.

Streep joined Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, showrunner John Hoffman and songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for a For Your Consideration event on the Paramount lot on Friday night, with a conversation moderated by co-star Jane Lynch. The group is currently shooting season four of the series, which is largely set in Los Angeles, on the lot.

Streep told the crowd how she called Martin to ask to appear on the show, after having had a “really fun” time working with him on 2009’s It’s Complicated.

“I’m sorry, can you believe that Meryl Streep asked to be on this show? I could die,” Gomez exclaimed, as Streep responded, “Doesn’t everybody want to be on this show? They do, because next season, they all are,” referencing the fact that several new stars, including Eugene Levy, Molly Shannon and Eva Longoria, will be joining the cast.

“They have to erect barriers to keep these actors out,” she continued. “I was a huge fan of the show, but I also just wanted to have some fun because the world is pretty shitty right now.” She added of the Broadway music-set third season, “I really thought they should have had Selena sing.”

Streep also discussed her role in the show — playing an actress who finally gets her big break after decades of trying to land a job — and remembered getting the demo for the lullaby she sings in the show, which was originally recorded by Sara Bareilles.

“It was beautiful and I thought, ‘Wow, oh man, I hope I can do this.’ And I was very nervous and we went in to record it — you record it first so you can fake sing it on the day so you can do it over and over and all the takes match — but I was really nervous in the recording session,” she said. Pasek and Paul joked that she kicked them out of the studio, but Streep explained it was because there were about 20 onlookers watching her sing.

“I just said, ‘I can’t do it,’ and I was shitty, really bad in the beginning and I thought, ‘It’s because you’re nervous,’” she added. “People have an idea of what they’re going to hear and if it’s not that, [it will] come crashing down and [they will] think, ‘How can we get rid of her? She called up and asked to be in this and it’s so bad.’” But, she teased, “After they left the room, I was great.”

The cast spent much of the 30-minute chat gushing over Streep, as Short called working with the star, “one of the great thrills of my life. The first day of shooting, which was rare because I’m not brand new, I was driving to work and I thought, ‘I’m nervous today. I’m working with Meryl Streep.’”

He also spent plenty of time teasing Streep, joking with her, “With this show, I think you got an agent, didn’t you?” and deadpanning that when she sang, “the whole cast was crying. I mean I asked for glycerin but a lot of them were emotional.”

Gomez joked back, “Welcome to my life every day, Meryl.”

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