Meryl Streep's Thatcher interest

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A biographical British drama film profiling former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, portrayed by Meryl Streep. Her husband, Denis Thatcher, is played by Jim Broadbent, and Thatcher's longest-serving cabinet member and eventual deputy, Geoffrey Howe, is portrayed by Anthony Head. The story is narrated through a series of flashbacks, including the 17 days leading up to the Falklands War in 1982.
December 20th, 2011

Meryl Streep was "more interested" in portraying Margaret Thatcher due to the hatred people have for her.

The Oscar-winning actress - who portrays the British political leader in upcoming movie 'The Iron Lady' - was shocked just how people dislike people have for the 86-year-old former British prime minister, but found it made her keener to take the part.

She said: "We give our elected leaders iconic stature almost to have things to tear down, to work out all sorts of our own psychological problems and needs and venomous feelings. So I wondered about all the times that Margaret Thatcher was spoken about being unfeeling.

"And I thought, 'Well, why was that? Was she really completely unfeeling?' And as a public figure in a much smaller way myself, I understand that feeling of being stripped of your humanity. Was she a monster?

"While we were making the film, people had such strong and particular and specific venom for her. It was sort of stunning. It made me all the more interested in where her humanity lay."

The 62-year-old star was surprised to learn about Thatcher's workaholic nature while she was researching the role, and the actress believes the anger directed towards the political leader would not be as intense if it was a man voicing the same policies.

She added to the Daily Beast: "I mean, I did suspect that there was a weird special rage about her because she was a woman. From all sides. The policies that she pursued were the same policies that Geoffrey Howe pursued, although he's not loathed and detested with the same intensity. And I think that it is a discomfort with, and a confusion about, women in leadership roles.

"For feminists it's a betrayal because she doesn't do the right thing, and so you hate her more than you'd hate a man who stood for the same things."