Meryl Streep’s favorite love scene was with Robert Redford, admits she ‘didn’t want it to end’

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Meryl Streep reflected on her famous shampoo scene with Robert Redford in the 1985 movie “Out of Africa.”

In the epic romantic drama, Streep starred as a Danish baroness who falls in love with a big game hunter, played by Redford, while running a coffee plantation in colonial South Africa. 

During a memorable scene from the film, Redford tenderly washes Streep’s hair by a river while reciting lines from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”


“It’s a sex scene in a way, because it’s so intimate,” the 74-year-old actress said during a Wednesday conversation at Cannes’ Théâtre Debussy, per Variety. “We’ve seen so many scenes of people f——, but we don’t see that loving touch, that care.”

Meryl Streep recalled her famous shampoo scene with Robert Redford in “Out of Africa.” (Getty)

While speaking at Cannes, Streep recalled that filming the scene initially wasn’t very pleasant. According to the UK Metro, she told the crowd that she and Redford, now 87, were warned by the production to be wary of potentially dangerous wild animals nearby.

“We had lions, but they were imported from California and they were supposedly fine — tame. They were not,” the actress said, per the outlet.

“And the second thing we were told is the animal that kills the most people in Africa is the hippopotamus, if you get between the hippopotamus and the water,” she added.

“So we were shooting in the river and the hippopotamus were right above it. I don’t know if they show that in the movie, I can’t remember, but I was aware of it!”

robert redford washing meryl streeps hair in out of africa

Streep said that she didn’t want the scene to end. ( Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

Streep recalled that Redford was worried about their safety and wasn’t washing her hair well at first.

“It wasn’t good,” she admitted.

However, Streep’s longtime hair stylist and makeup artist Roy Hellund jumped in and demonstrated how he typically washed the actress’s hair, which Streep described as “the best part of my day.”

“Redford took the lesson, and he just really got into it, and he was great,” Streep recalled. “By take five I was so in love!’

“I didn’t want it to end that day, even in spite of the hippos,” she added.

Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Austrian actor klaus-Maria Brandauer on the set of out of africa

The actress and Redford played lovers in the 1985 epic romantic drama. ( Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

Directed by Sydney Pollack, “Out of Africa” was based on Karen Blixen’s 1937 autographical book of the same name. The film was a box office hit and received 11 Academy Award nominations, including a best actress nod for Streep.

“Out of Africa” went on to take home seven Oscars, including best picture and best director for Pollack.

During a 1985 interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Streep praised Redford, telling the outlet that she found him “very charming.”


“We really got to know each other after he arrived in Africa,” she said. “I developed this huge crush on him, which made it easier to do the love story. He’s really wonderful to work with.”

She continued, “He has an unusual quality for a man — he has a very receptive way about him and is an incredibly good listener. That’s an attribute people usually associate with women. So for women, he’s very easy to talk to.”

robert redford and meryl streep talking on the set of out of africa

Streep said that her co-star is “very easy to talk to.” ( Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The two later teamed up again in the 2007 war thriller “Lions for Lambs,” which also starred Tom Cruise.

On Tuesday, Streep received a two-minute standing ovation when she was presented with an honorary Palme d’Or during the opening ceremony of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival. 


During her conversation at the Théâtre Debussy, the three-time Academy Award winner shared how she had been touched by the warm reception at the Palme d’Or presentation.

“I felt just a wave of feeling coming from the audience, and it’s so much bigger than I thought — so many tiers of people, all the way up to the top,” she said. “Yeah, it was a lot. I live a very quiet life, and really I don’t get any respect at home, so it’s sort of amazing to come into this arena and have that big tidal wave.”

meryl streep holding her palme dor at cannes with juliette binoche

Streep received the Honorary Palme D’Or Award from Juliette Binoche during the opening ceremony at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 14. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Streep later said that she never set out to make movies that she thought would become box office hits.


“The ones that ended up being blockbusters — ‘Mamma Mia!’ and ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ — happened when I was 58 and 60, and I never thought they were going to be anything but fun,” she said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“I didn’t know they were going to be big, but I knew that I could get them made.”

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