For American audiences, the definitive portrayal of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in 2011's The Iron Lady by Meryl Streep, for which the actress won an Oscar. Now, X-Files alum Gillian Anderson is going to put her own spin on the iconic politician in the upcoming fourth season of The Crown. While speaking to Variety, Anderson spoke about not letting public opinion influence her choices in playing the character.
"One of the things that I have found in playing historical characters is to put aside all preconceptions and opinions, particularly in regards to Margaret Thatcher. Because in making choices within scenes or within the arc of the series, one has to have a deep understanding of how they arrived to those decisions, how the character was able to take the actions and develop those attitudes and policies, in [Thatcher's] case."
The trailer for the upcoming season of The Crown has already provided fans with the first look at Anderson as Thatcher, engaging in a polite but forceful battle of wills with Queen Elizabeth. While Thatcher was hailed as a feminist icon due to her ascent in the male-dominated field of politics, she herself was often dismissive of the feminist movement. According to Anderson, the new season of The Crown will not engage with that particular angle of Thatcher's legacy.
"[This season will not] enter into the battle about 'feminist' or 'not feminist.' As far as [Thatcher] was concerned, she was just putting one foot in front of the other. The conversation about feminism in her world probably wouldn't have applied to her, I can imagine, given her mindset."
While the addition of Thatcher to the cast of The Crown is exciting enough, viewers are even more intrigued by Emma Corrin, who will be playing the role of Princess Diana, in the early days of her marriage to Prince Charles. For Corrin, who was not alive during the time when the Royal Princess's every action made the headlines of newspapers the world over, her take on the character was inspired by the manner in which people remember Princess Diana.
"In retrospect, I think it made it easier in doing this season, to bring my own interpretation to the character, to her. Growing up, my general impression was just how enamored people were by her. I had a sense of the tragedy of what had happened to her, and also I suppose her spirit that people speak of - her being this very generous, empathetic person who broke the mold of the royal family."
The fourth season of The Crown is set to cover the time period between 1977 and 1990, with the introduction of Lady Diana Spencer, and is set during Margaret Thatcher's premiership. The characters of Prince William and Prince Harry will also be introduced in the season. The Netflix show features an ensemble cast of Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Daniels, Marion Bailey, Erin Doherty, Josh O'Connor, Emerald Fennell, Charles Dance, Gillian Anderson, and Emma Corrin. This news originated at Variety.