Meryl Streep at a news event in Beijing. The many-accented Academy Award winner portrays former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the biopic The Iron Lady. (Photo/CFP)
The Iron Lady, a biopic about the life of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, made its world premiere in Beijing on Saturday evening during the China-US Forum on the Arts and Culture.
When asked whether the film is gunning for an Academy Award in 2012, the Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, who plays Thatcher, said it was not made with a prize in mind.
"The movie has an ambition to be written by a woman, directed by a woman, and it has an ambition to reach an audience that isn't served currently," she said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
Streep dove into research in order to take on the role of the first woman to become prime minister, who governed Britain from 1979 to 1990 with a platform centered on free market capitalism. "Thatcher was a very strong leader at a time when a woman leader was extremely unusual," she said. Streep remembered being excited when Thatcher was elected in 1979, even though she didn't agree with Thatcher's policies.
"In that time, I think she broke ground in people's perceptions," she said, adding that she thinks Thatcher's success had great symbolic effect in Britain. The 62-year-old actress joked that the marketing department of her movie company thinks the film is boring because half of the film is about an old lady, her memories of her husband and her interactions with her daughter. "It's after power, it's how we take leave of things after a big ambitious life," she said. "The things she had to give up in order to have a life she chose are really interesting to me."
When asked how she successfully interprets different characters, Streep said, "Everybody that I have played is a little bit like me, I just need to find the part of myself that's like that person."
"There are a lot of roles for young girls but there are just so few roles for a woman of my age, so I am representing something, I am taking one for my team," she said in response to a question about maintaining her presence on the big screen.
Meanwhile, she noted that Chinese culture isn't very present in the United States, and "it's not distributed widely."
She recalled her cooperation with Chinese actor Liu Ye in the movie Dark Matter several years ago and expressed a willingness to cooperate with Chinese filmmakers in the future.