Meryl Streep says 'The Laundromat' is the story of a bad joke ''being played on all of us''.

The 70-year-old star plays a middle class woman cheated out of money she's owed in the new Netflix black comedy taking a look at the investigation into the Panama Papers, when documents leaked to the press in 2016 revealed global schemes set up by a Panamanian law firm helping rich clients and companies to avoid billions of dollars in tax.

As reported by Variety, she said: ''This is an entertaining, flash, funny way of telling a very, very dark, black-hearted joke, a joke that's being played on all of us.''

Director Stephen Soderbergh - who revealed 'Dr. Strangelove' was a big inspiration for the project - explained he thought it was vital they got the right tone to make sure the film resonate with audiences without feeling like a lesson.

He added: ''We decided that a dark comedy would have the best possible chance of remaining in the minds of the viewers and also gave us the opportunity to use the complexity of these kind of financial activities almost as a joke, almost as a setup for a punchline.

''Otherwise...[viewers] would feel as if they were being educated as opposed to entertained.''

Streep - who stars with Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas in the movie - also opened up on its distribution, which will see it head to Netflix right after a big screen release.

Looking at her watch, she pondered: ''We'll all be appearing on screens right here soon, right? The size doesn't even compute anymore. I mean, I'd rather see it big, but the kids these days, they don't care.''