Meryl Streep has reunited with her ‘Mamma Mia!’ director Phyllida Lloyd for “The Iron Lady,” a biopic of Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. The script is by Abi Morgan, a two-time TV BAFTA winner for Best Single Drama (“White Girl,” 2009) and Best Drama Serial (“Human Traffic,” 2005). Oscar winner Jim Broadbent is playing her stalwart husband Denis in the film which is framed around the Falklands War in 1982. Thathcher’s steadfast leadership during that troubled time solidifed her hold on the office and she went on to win two more elections.
Playing a real-life lady was the key to claiming the Best Actress Oscar seven times in the last decade: Julia Roberts as advocate Erin Brockovich in the film of the same name (2000); Nicole Kidman as writer Virginia Woolf in “The Hours” (2002); Charlize Theron as serial killer Aileen Wournos in “Monster” (2003); Reese Witherspoon as country singer June Carter in “Walk the Line” (2005); Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen” (2006); Marion Cotillard as French chanteuse Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose” (2007); and Sandra Bullock as do-gooder Leigh Anne Tuohy in “The Blind Side” (2009).
At the earliest, “The Iron Lady” will be a 2011 release stateside. Pathe, which contends at this year’s Oscars with “127 Hours,” is hoping to line up distribution in the coming months. As part of their pitich, they released this statement from Streep: “The prospect of exploring the swath cut through history by this remarkable woman is a daunting and exciting challenge. I am trying to approach the role with as much zeal, fervour and attention to detail as the real Lady Thatcher possesses. I can only hope my stamina will begin to approach her own!”
Were Streep to win at the 2011 Oscars, it would be 29 years since she last claimed an Academy Award. The longest time span between two victories at the Oscars is 38 years, a record set by Helen Hayes — Best Actress for “The Sin of Madelon Claudet” (1932) and Best Supporting Actress for “Airport” (1970).