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Update: Margaret Thatcher biographical film gets lead actress

MargaretThatcher.jpgThe talk of a Margaret Thatcher biographical film first surfaced way back in 2007, although the idea of the Julian Fellowes script was to focus on the Falklands War and the events around that time, then in 2010 we heard of a producer making a move on a fully fledged biographical film of her life.

Now news has arrived that the film Thatcher has a director and a massive star in talks for the leading role, with a leading man already in place to play her husband, Denis Thatcher. It also confirms that both stories from 2007 and 2010 are correct, the film does concentrate on the Prime Minister of Britain during those seventeen days of the Falklands War, but the story comes from Producer Damien Jones and writer Brian Fillis.

It's a shame because I would have loved to have seen the Julian Fellowes script, if ever there was one, and his version of the story, however it's still wonderful that a truly British story is being given so much attention and finally Margaret Thatcher, and the story of the Falklands War, will be immortalised in film.

However don't expect the film to be all about the war, it will be set in 1982 and focus on the seventeen days prior to the war where she tries to remain the British Prime Minister and keep the Conservatives in power at a time when their ratings were incredibly poor.

When Argentina threatened the sovereignty of the Falklands Islands and the British people who lived there, the government sent troops to protect and liberate them, and began the two and a half month war, after which saw her and her party remain in power and their popularity sky rocket.

Now for the good bit, the names behind the roles. The Hollywood Reporter has the news that Denis Thatcher is to be played by the excellent Jim Broadbent, a superb choice, and that the actress who is currently in negotiations to play the lead of Margaret Thatcher is none other than, Meryl Streep.

Now that looks like an awesome choice if you ask me, she's a wonderful actress who can really carry so many different personalities and characters that you could easily see her pulling off the role.

Okay, I'm a little disappointed that we couldn't see a British actress play the role, although perhaps the obvious choice of Helen Mirren might be a little masked now that she's played the Queen, but still Streep is a great choice for the role.

There are two doubts in my mind though. One is that this is a snapshot of her life and we're going to see a simplistic view of the character and the situation involved. Unpopular and bad to manipulative and a winner perhaps, and yet there's so much more in her entire story about her time in power that could make for a complete roller coaster ride of a film. Not just that but surely there's an entire film in the Falklands War? I'm really surprised there's been nothing about this to date, and it looks like this film will fall short of it.

The second big surprise is the director of Thatcher, Phyllida Lloyd, who previously directed Mamma Mia! (Filmstalker review) and before that Gloriana for television. I don't know, but that's a real stretch for me to see her tackle a film about a time that so personally affected me while I was growing up.

Doubts there are, but looking at that cast and the intentions of the film I'm thinking Thatcher could be something rather uniquely special. Then, let me throw in the name of the writer again, Brian Fillis. He previously wrote An Englishman in New York, the film about Quentin Crisp starring John Hurt, and instantly we have another positive mark for Thatcher.

What do you think of the idea? Is it really going to hit home or will it polarise the views of those who grew up through these times?

Update: The Guardian has the story and tells us that the production has moved from BBC Films to Film4 over the period from the first announcement, plus the script is based on one from Abi Morgan who wrote Brick Lane.

The film is scheduled to shoot at the end of the year and a statement from Pathé and Film4 revealed that Meryl Streep has indeed expressed an interest in playing the role and negotiations are underway.



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