Meryl Streep on her prolific, evergreen career

Few names in movies bring the respect and acclaim of Meryl Streep, and even though to she's known to so many as the greatest actor of her generation, she doesn't let that affect her.

"I so put it away from me because it's so not valuable in what I do. What I do requires keeping my pores open to the world," Streep said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning."

She has won three Oscars and holds a record 19 nominations, and even still, insists the title is a misnomer.

"I can't handle the label that has been put on me, which is, everybody in my business knows, not true. But there are so many people ... who are incredibly talented and that do things that I can't do. And that's true. Every year I see performances and I think, 'Ooh, I couldn't do that,'" she said.

After nearly four decades, the scope of her acting ability still makes audiences believe.

"Each one feels like its own challenge," Streep said. "But it's also my -- I think probably, deeply, it's my therapy on some level. I mean, I don't have another outlet like that where I can go insane and think murderous thoughts and not be incarcerated for it."

Streep earned her first Oscar nomination for her role in the 1978 thriller, "The Deer Hunter." It was just her second feature film.

She appeared in a string of celebrated projects alongside some of the industry's biggest names and she received her first Oscar for her performance opposite Dustin Hoffman in "Kramer vs. Kramer."

Three years later, she took home the best actress Oscar for her role in the tragic holocaust story, "Sophie's Choice."

Streep's resume is as extensive as it is impressive and she insists she doesn't have a favorite.

Meryl Streep, director?

"I don't pick and choose among my children or the movies," Streep said.

She also admitted she doesn't dwell on classic roles she'd like to reprise or wish for new characters to make her own.

"I never think about things that way because each individual woman that I've met on the pages of the scripts that come is so-- each one is her own person. And there are so many people that are interesting in the world whose lives never been (covered)," Streep said.

In her latest role, Streep plays a rock n' roll queen who, after a life on the road, returns home to a family in trouble.

"This was a kind of a no-brainer, 'Ricki and the Flash,' because it was so, the writing-- I think I'm attracted by pungent writing that isn't afraid of contradictions and mess. And this is about the mess of life," Streep said.

Perhaps what best defines Streep's acting is her range.

Movies like "Out of Africa" show her mastery of foreign, "Death Becomes Her" captured Streep's ability to play the absurd and "Devil Wears Prada" revealed a more demanding character.

She's played real-life dignitaries like Margaret Thatcher in "Iron Lady" and she's shown off her voice in "Postcards from the Edge," "Mama Mia" and "Into the Woods."

In "Ricki and the Flash" Streep had to learn a new talent - mastering the electric guitar.

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Meryl Streep performs at the Salt Well in TriStar Pictures' "Ricki and the Flash" Bob Vergara

"I had never held an electric guitar. And so I guess I worked about six weeks with the electric guitar," she said. "And Jonathan Demme, our director, had told me-- he was lying all over the place. He told me it was three songs that I would have to learn. And it's 10 songs."

Streep was also tasked with playing leading lady alongside her daughter, Mamie Gummer. On more than one occasion in the film Gummer, Streep's estranged daughter lashes out at her mom.

Streep isn't a stranger to that emotion from her real-life daughter, but said it was "a very weird thing" on set.

"I've thought about this since we made the film, which was that when I looked at her on set, I really saw Julie, I really did. But that was partly because I didn't feel like Meryl Streep from New Jersey. You know, I felt like Ricki," she said.

According to Streep, that was thanks in part to Gummer's believable performance.

"She gave me no, you know, it's only actors who are weaker or insecure or worried that show you their, you know, their anxiety about working with you. My daughter has no fear of Meryl Streep, like none," she said.

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Julie (Mamie Gummer) and Ricki (Meryl Streep) in TriStar Pictures' "Ricki and the Flash." Courtesy of Sony Pictures