Here comes a first interview on “The Iron Lady” courtesy the British Express: Meryl Streep is the most nominated Oscar actress in Hollywood history. But even she was humbled by her latest role, playing former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. “She is like a heroine from Shakespeare,” she says. “I have held her up as an example to my three daughters of what women can do to change the world.” Streep, 62, who plays Baroness Thatcher, now 86, from her 40s to virtually the present day in a remarkable performance, became entranced by her character. Yet she admits that she knew little or nothing of her life or political policies. “What interested me more was the cost of her own political decisions on her, as a human being,” she says. “The more I researched, the more fascinated I became. When you are a leader and the buck stops with you what does that do to you and how do you stay strong? “I also realised how her policies split the nation. Some thought she was great. Others detested her for those policies. It was such a lonely job, especially for a woman.” Streep was a controversial choice, as an American, to play our Iron Lady. But British director Phyllida Lloyd, who directed Streep three years ago in Mamma Mia! says it was obvious to her. “Margaret Thatcher is the most significant female leader this country has had since Elizabeth I,” she says. “So I wanted the world’s most significant actress to play her.” Streep, though, who has captured the Thatcher voice and renowned grooming to perfection according to many who have already seen the film, has clearly fallen for her subject. The complete article can be read here.
Article courtesy The Hollywood Reporter: Former colleagues and admirers of Margaret Thatcher have mocked Streep’s portrayal of the former British prime minister, but Phyllida Lloyd is unfazed. Less than two months ahead of The Iron Lady’s U.K. release, Meryl Streep’s portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher is generating a growing furor among British conservatives bristling at what they consider an unflattering portrayal. Director Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!) is unfazed by the uproar. “People have been arguing about her [Thatcher] for months and months,” Lloyd tells THR. “She certainly burns brightly as a still very divisive character.” The movie, made for an estimated $13 million, has been penciled in for a Dec. 30 U.S. release by the Weinstein Co., bowing in exclusive runs in New York and Los Angeles before going wide Jan. 13. It is scheduled to hit U.K. screens Jan. 6 via Pathe’s distribution pact with 20th Century Fox. Much of the opposition to the drama comes from Tory stalwarts and former cabinet ministers who served under Thatcher. None has seen the film, but the movie’s trailer – which mixes elements of gentle comedy with scenes of Thatcher’s personal and political life – was enough to set them off. The complete article can be read here.
Article courtesy The Washington Post: Meryl Streep, sitting in a hotel conference room and later at a podium at the Ronald Reagan Building, says her personal history has led her to join the effort to establish a National Women’s History Museum. “My grandmother had three children and she couldn’t vote in the school board election. She gave my grandfather the piece of paper with her choices,” Streep related. Personal stories, unknown bravery, everyday life and the epic personalities should all be part of a building, she argued,in a honeyed voice so familiar after 35 years. “We need a museum. By their monumentality, they claim a place in your heart,” she said, gesturing at some large place in the air, now invisible. She has found local stories, with universal messages. Near her home is a house where Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, who sued for her freedom, worked for the Ashley family and was abused by the wife. “She heard the discussion about ‘everyman is born free.’ And she was serving tea and stoking the fire,” said Streep. Freeman’s sister was attacked by Mrs. Ashley, but Freeman stepped in front to take the blow from the fireplace shovel. “She was burned on her arm,” said Streep, pushing up her sleeve for emphasis. “But just as interesting is the story of her mistress. If you look at it, both were unpaid workers.”
While scans from the Vanity Fair article “Maggie Mia” have been posted already (see here), their website has now published the article as well, with a better quality version of the stunning promotional picture you’ll find below.
Is the world dying for a Margaret Thatcher biopic? Probably no more than it’s dying for Harold Wilson or John Major biopics, the dramatic possibilities of the Falklands War notwithstanding. But wait. A Margaret Thatcher biopic starring Meryl Streep? That’s P.M.-tainment! How she wrested the part from one Dame or another remains a mystery whose solution is known only to the actress and her director; we’re just thrilled she got her mitts on it. (And now America is finally even for Vivien Leigh playing Scarlett O’Hara.) Did we mention that we love Meryl Streep? Love-love-LOVE her? That there’s literally no other performer we’d rather see on-screen? Even Jessica Alba? Streep, over the last decade, has evolved from being the Greatest Actress of Her Generation to also being the slyest and wittiest and lightest afoot, ventilating the von Sydow heaviness of her younger roles with a bit of Astaire fresh air. Limited footage available from The Iron Lady suggests Streep’s Thatcher will fit somewhere between the poles of her Julia Child and her Miranda Priestly—a Tory leader who can debone Labour M.P.’s as if they were whole chickens, or stiffen wobbly American presidents with a witheringly arched eyebrow, and yet never lose sight of her inner Python housewife. The director is Phyllida Lloyd, who three years ago put Streep at the center of the 21st century’s finest movie musical: Mamma Mia! (Seriously. You can have Chicago and Dream Girls, though we’ll keep Hairspray too.) Along for the ride, Jim Broadbent will risk being ahistorically interesting as Denis Thatcher. Did we mention that we love Meryl Streep?
Exiting news! The November issue of Vanity Fair features a pictorial by Brigitte Lacombe on the shooting of “The Iron Lady”. It’ll be on newsstands in New York and L.A. on October 4, and nationally and on the iPad October 11.
Many thanks to Sven for letting me know about their interview with Meryl Streep on The Talks. An excerpt from the 2009 interview is below, the full interview, along with an audio sample, can be read at The Talks.
Have you ever envied anybody in your life?
Oh, yeah. I mean, yeah! I envied Jessica Lange when she got Sweet Dreams. That was such a great movie; she was beyond wonderful in it. I wished for things that I haven’t had, but I have to say my blessings are pretty great, so I have no complaints.
Sophia Loren once said she hates you because you stole her part in The Bridges of Madison Country with your acting skills.
Well, I don’t think Sophia hates me because I just met her for the first time in my life at the last Academy Awards and she gave me the most wonderful embrace and she made me very happy. I am such a fan of hers and a great admirer of hers and always have been and so is my husband. He has never recovered from that moment where she came out of the sea. (Laughs)