'Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep' Focuses On Actress' Early Life At Yale

Meryl Streep with Christopher Durang (right) in "The Idiots Karamazov" at Yale Rep

Meryl Streep with Christopher Durang (right) in "The Idiots Karamazov" at Yale Rep

Michael Schulman heard "the Meryl Streep mythology" when he arrived as an undergrad at Yale in 1999: about the period of the mid-'70s when actors Streep and Sigourney Weaver, costumer William Ivey Long and playwrights Christopher Durang, Wendy Wasserstein and Albert Innaurato were all at the School of Drama being young, creative and fabulous.

Turns out, it wasn't such a magical time for everyone, says Schulman, but rather one filled with stress, frustration and angst. Wasserstein dubbed it "the School of Trauma."

That period of America's most celebrated living actress' life makes up one of the more surprising sections of Schulman's book, "Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep." The book follows Streep as a cheerleader teen in New Jersey, as a student at Vassar and Yale, as a young actress in theater and her start in films.

The New Yorker writer says that period is less known about the actress, now 67. "I felt it would be a great character study of the actress before she had all these accolades bestowed on her," says Schulman.

The author didn't want Streep to hear about the project from others so he wrote her a letter explaining that he would focus on her early life. He told her that he was "a theater nerd and not one of her looney fans," and that he was also fascinated with the story of New York theater in the '70s.