Meryl Streep needed solitude to play Margaret Thatcher

January 3rd, 2012

Meryl Streep shut herself away in her house for a week in order to prepare for playing Margaret Thatcher.

Although director Phyllida Lloyd had initially planned for the Academy Award winning actress to have two weeks of rehearsals in London before she began filming 'The Iron Lady' which portrays Britain's former Prime Minister, Meryl asked for a week alone where she could cram in as much information about the formidable politician as possible.

She told "I thought I'd really be prepared to do this one, some of them you can just sort of roll out of bed and go to work (laughs). This one, I realized that there would be a different kind of challenge. So I knew I had to read a lot, I gave a lot of time to that. But in terms of having the time to prepare, to immerse myself in the character, a lot of things happened in my life that I couldn't get ready - life took over. So Phyllida had given us two weeks of rehearsal in London, I came and said, 'Can we have one week of rehearsal, can I just sit in my house and eat, sleep and dream Margaret Thatcher for the other week?' And Phyllida said, 'Yes.' So that was amazing. I sort of went to jail, shut myself up and did all the cramming that I could. It was nerve-racking."

Meryl also relied on listening to old speeches of Margaret's in order to accurately portray the former leader.

She said: "I took speeches she gave in the House of Commons that aren't in the film, and I just tried to say them along with her. I have so much drama school, and I could not keep up with the breath, and the attachment to conviction, and the thought that follows through in the breath. They taught us in drama school that thought is carried on the breath, so if you can possibly get to the end of the sonnet without breathing you will convey the point. But listening to her gave me an idea of really the reserves of strength that she had, and also how she had to stand and sit and always be alert."