By Sterling Wong
In a stroke of serendipity (or good timing), the first picture of Meryl Streep as British conservative icon Margaret Thatcher was released earlier today, just a couple of days after Ronald Reagan’s centenary celebrations.
Deadline has the photo, and yes, after her successful portrayal of Julia Child “Julie and Julia,” Streep’s now bringing another iconic figure to the big screen in “The Iron Lady,” a biopic of the controversial former British prime minister.
The look captured in the picture is one of uncertainty, as Streep almost looks like a deer in headlights. It’s a good sign that indicates that the film will probe deeper beneath the impervious facade of Britain’s face of the '80s.
Of course, the most important question about this film is: Will Streep finally win her long-overdue third Oscar? The grand dame has a record 16 nominations, and she has come close many times in recent years, scoring Best Actress nods with “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Doubt” and “Julie and Julia." The Academy clearly adores her and wants to reward her, so all she needs is the right role that will push her over the edge.
Is the titular role of “The Iron Lady” the one? It’s way too early to call anything of course, but I wouldn’t bet against it! Actors playing British royalty have a history of landing Oscar gold, as exemplified by Helen Mirren in “The Queen,” Judi Dench in “Shakespeare in Love” and more likely than not, Colin Firth this year in “The King’s Speech.” Margaret Thatcher may not be nobility, but the power she wielded means she comes pretty close! There’s also plenty of juicy political drama for Streep to bite into in Thatcher’s prime ministerial career, not the least of which is the rundown to her decision to invade the Falklands.
To aid in her Oscar bid, Steep has a phalanx of Brit thespians in supporting roles. Notably, Jim Broadbent stars as Thatcher’s husband Denis; “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Anthony Head is Geoffrey Howe, a key Cabinet colleague of Thatcher’s. Streep also reunites with her “Mamma Mia” director Phyllida Lloyd for the film, but I’m assuming the tone and look of the biopic will be drastically different!
No release date has been set, but keep a lookout for the first footage of the film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival!
What do you think of Streep as Margaret Thatcher in the picture? Tell us what you think in the comments section and on Twitter!