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MUSIC OF THE HEART

Production Information (Continued)
Streep, aside from having the daunting task of learning the violin while acting like a professional, also had the burden of playing a real person. She found this to be particularly challenging. "Playing a real person carries with it a whole other set of responsibilities than you would have when creating a fictional character," Streep continues, "So, I did as much research as I could and then I just sort of threw it away because I can't think of the real Roberta. I had to make it our Roberta, our movie Roberta. The real woman is a sizable phenomenon of energy, inspiration, hard work, irascibility. I tried to capture little parts of her and put it together in the film."

No one was more excited to work with an incredible acting talent, Meryl Streep, than film newcomer, Gloria Estefan. Estefan, known as a pop star sensation, had been looking to act for some time. However, she wasn't willing to be in just any film and she wasn't looking for a big, splashy starring role. In Estefan's words, "I was looking for a small role in a meaningful film." Estefan knew she could learn a lot from Streep and she watched her carefully and did her best to learn as much as she could from her. "Streep is very giving and very supportive to everyone around her." Estefan continues, "I just saw her do a scene with the audience and the camera wasn't even on her and she did this amazing thing that just made everyone spellbound and right into what she was doing, and it's a very giving thing for an actor to do. That's why she is at the top of her game."

Streep shared the same admiration for Estefan, "I'm so proud to be in Gloria's first movie. She is just a huge spirit. As a woman, she is someone that I've admired for a long time, and she just walked into this. She did a beautiful job."

Estefan obviously is one cast member that truly understands the power and importance of music, for over ten years she has worked tirelessly for the Save the Music program. But she also offers an added perspective, "My mother was a teacher for years. I went with my mother to school and I know what it's like to not only have over-crowded classrooms, but to start a program that is not popular. My mother actually had to go and get funding from the outside, so I know what Roberta goes through and she still is going through it." Estefan adds, "Hopefully, this film will help her program and many others like hers in the schools."

Estefan clearly drew on this knowledge to play Isabelle, a member of the teaching staff who is one of the first people to offer Roberta some much needed support. Estefan explains her character as someone that "knows the importance of the arts and music, she loves the underdog, and she knows Roberta needs her. She's a fighter, she's feisty, she's a bit irreverent, and she has a sense of humor. Everything I love."

The trio of incredible women who star in Music of The Heart is rounded out by acting great Angela Bassett. Her style is one of incredible strength and steely determination. Bassett's character, Janet Reeves, the high school principal, allows her innate determination to shine through. Bassett really connected to her character, "Education is so important to her. Children really are our future and Janet, my character, sees that. She knows if you motivate them, if you love them, if you invest in them, if you discipline them, if you give them their boundaries and exposure to the world, then there's no limit to the great things they can do." Bassett clearly believes in her character and the work of Guaspari and this allows her to pour herself into her performance.

Streep noted what an experience it was for her to have the opportunity to work with Bassett. "I've idolized Angela for a long time, so I was really, really thrilled to work with her and to get to scream at her and have her scream back at me. We have a great relation

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