Lady of silver screen admires PM
MERYL Streep says her admiration for Lady Margaret Thatcher grew as she made a film about Britain’s former prime minister. The actress has won plaudits and generated Oscar buzz for her role in The Iron Lady, a controversial movie which has drawn criticism from the ex-tory party leader’s former colleagues. But Streep says making the film has given her greater respect for a woman who succeeded against overwhelming odds. ‘‘The more I learned, the more my view of her changed. Wherever you stand on her policies, and many people didn’t like her, the scale of her influence and the fact that she got things done was extraordinary,’’ she says. ‘‘And the mental, physical, spiritual energy that it took to live every one of those days as head of the government was phenomenal. It’s really humbling to consider that she was at 10 Downing Street for 10-and-a-half years. I admire that achievement. I stand in awe of it, even though I didn’t agree with a lot of her policies.’’ Streep, 62, plays the politician over a 40-year span, showing her rise to the top. ‘‘I was aware of her very early on and, even though her policies were not popular, to say the least, in my circles, people were kind of thrilled that a woman had become leader,’’ she says. ‘‘When I was in college the professions open to women were so few – there were very few women that went to law school, no one dreamed of being a corporate head, it was out of the question.’’ Former Conservative party chairman Lord Tebbit has called Streep’s performance as a frail old woman suffering from dementia several years after Denis Thatcher’s death ‘‘half-hysterical, over-emotional’’. Streep doesn’t agree. ‘‘The part of the story that interested me the most was the part that’s wholly imagined and that’s set in the present day. And it’s about the diminishment of power, the denouement of a big life,’’ she says. ‘‘That’s the part that writer Abi Morgan made up. But we have some basis of reality because of Carol Thatcher’s book ( A Swim-on Part in the Goldfish Bowl: a Memoir) . . . we weren’t making up the dementia; it’s drawn from Carol’s book and from talking to people.’’ The film also stars Jim Broadbent as Denis Thatcher, Anthony Head as Geoffrey Howe, Richard E. Grant as Michael Heseltine and Olivia Colman as Carol Thatcher.
The Iron Lady
The Iron Lady is screening now.
Jim Broadbent and Meryl Streep as Denis and Margaret Thatcher in