Meryl Streep: playing Thatcher was “very scary and very intimidating”

The Hollywood actress discusses her time spent playing the Iron Lady

The most Oscar-nominated actor in history, Meryl Streep, takes on “one of the biggest challenges” of her career, in new film The Iron Lady. 


She plays Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and though she may not agree with all of her policies Streep jumped at the role. After all, she tells Andrew Collins in this week’s Radio Times, “How many people get to play the first female leader of the Western world?”

Phyllida Lloyd, who also directed Streep in 2008 hit Abba musical Mamma Mia!,

praises Streep’s performance: “It needed a superstar to play a superstar. And whatever your politics, Thatcher was a superstar. Meryl’s performance is extraordinary”.

Despite being nominated for 16 Academy Awards Streep admits that she found rehearsals “very scary and very intimidating”. 

Surrounded by 45 of Britain’s great actors, including Richard E Grant, Jim Broadbent and Anthony Head, perhaps the American was right to feel nervous. At first, she says, “I wasn’t ready to do any voice other than my own”, but of course she rose to the challenge and her performance has been described by Michael Portillo as “faultless”.

Streep also speaks about spending an hour and a half in the make-up chair every morning of filming, the challenge of perfecting Thatcher’s famously authoritative voice and in what ways she relates to the Iron Lady herself.


You can read the full article in this week’s Radio Times magazine, available now