HOLLYWOOD superstar Meryl Streep has revealed she wanted to show the “human being” behind Margaret Thatcher’s fearsome reputation.
The Oscar-winning actress plays the former British prime minister in controversial biopic The Iron Lady - on general release on Friday, January 6, 2012.
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Streep, at the premiere at the BFI in London, said: “I consider all the roles I play a privilege but this one was special because there are such vehement opinions about her.
“People seemed to look at her as an icon or a monster and I just wanted to locate the human being inside those caricatures that we’ve seen over so many years. And to investigate myself what it must have been like for her.”
Many fans braved the wind and rain to greet Streep and fellow stars of the film Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Richard E Grant and Anthony Head on the red carpet.
Mamma Mia’s Phyllida Lloyd has directed the moving story written by The Hour’s Abi Morgan, which sees the former leader, lonely and senile, looking back on her life and imagining her late husband Denis Thatcher, played by Broadbent, is still with her.
Streep has been tipped for an Oscar nomination for the role, which could lead to her third win.
She said: “It would be great, because the secret of the nomination is that it comes from the actors and actors are the ones who know what you go through. So it would be amazing.”
The Thatcher family have snubbed an invitation to see the film.
Director Lloyd said: “We invited them to see the film when we’d just completed it and they didn’t come to see it at that time, which I quite understand. The probably want to watch it in the privacy of their own home. I think that’s how I would have reacted if it had been a film about my family.”
The film was given a mixed reception by some critics today.
Kate Muir, for The Times, awarded it three out of five stars, adding: “Streep’s five-star performance is trapped in a three-star film.”
She wrote: “Streep’s Margaret Thatcher looks and sounds uncannily like the real thing, but in this biopic the divisive politics of her reign are soft-coated with a hymn to her femininity, and a dirge for her dementia.”
In the Daily Mail, Chris Tookey gave the film two out of five stars.
Despite Streep’s “uncannily accurate, Oscar-quality performance”, he said the movie was “jaw-droppingly misconceived”.
“It consistently, and persistently, sacrifices complexity and depth in order to pretend that Thatcher was something she never set out to be, a feminist icon,” he wrote.