“She’s the world’s worst opera singer but unbeknownst to her,” explained Helberg, who plays the role of her accompanist Cosme’ McMoon. “She thinks she’s God's gift to music.”
Helberg found himself both delighted and intimidated by working alongside Streep.
“I think she kind of cuts that tension right away. [Streep] put me at ease as much as I could be put at ease, which is not as much as you’d hope,” said Helberg. “Because I’m just sort of constantly bubbling over with anxiety and fear and excitement and all of that stuff."
He continued: "All of this, it was just like a lot of dreams coming true, particularly doing a scene with Meryl. She makes you better because she is constantly finding something and living in that moment. And surprising, I think not just herself, but you. Sometimes I get lost just looking at her.”
Heldberg revealed that there was a part of the movie where he found his role to be particularly challenging.
So he sought advice from Streep.
“Her answer was always really frustrating. Because it was like, ‘Oh, I just believed it. I just was laughing,'" Helberg joked while imitating Streep’s voice. "Then I was sort of like, ‘But how do you? But how?’ Eventually she said, 'Try to cry.' That always makes me laugh.”
“Florence Foster Jenkins” hits theaters today.