It's hard to accurately portray the life of another person, but in 2011, Meryl Streep won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in the biographical drama The Iron Lady. While Streep's talents earned her plenty of recoginition, her acting in the movie also helped the world to learn more about the real "Iron Lady" who lead the United Kingdom for 11 years. Thatcher was the first woman to be elected as the U.K.'s Prime Minster and has also served the longest term in the position's history. Upon the news of Thatcher's passing Monday, Streep pays tribute to the great political figure.
"Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics," Streep says in a statement to Hollywood.com. "It is hard to imagine a part of our current history that has not been affected by measures she put forward in the U.K. at the end of the 20th century. Her hard-nosed fiscal measures took a toll on the poor, and her hands-off approach to financial regulation led to great wealth for others. There is an argument that her steadfast, almost emotional loyalty to the pound sterling has helped the U.K. weather the storms of European monetary uncertainty."
RELATED: Margaret Thatcher, Former British Prime Minister, Dies
Streep continues: "But to me she was a figure of awe for her personal strength and grit. To have come up, legitimately, through the ranks of the British political system, class bound and gender phobic as it was, in the time that she did and the way that she did, was a formidable achievement. To have won it, not because she inherited position as the daughter of a great man, or the widow of an important man, but by dint of her own striving. To have withstood the special hatred and ridicule, unprecedented in my opinion, leveled in our time at a public figure who was not a mass murderer; and to have managed to keep her convictions attached to fervent ideals and ideas — wrongheaded or misguided as we might see them now-without corruption — I see that as evidence of some kind of greatness, worthy for the argument of history to settle. To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable."
"I was honored to try to imagine her late life journey, after power; but I have only a glancing understanding of what her many struggles were, and how she managed to sail through to the other side," Streep adds. "I wish to convey my respectful condolences to her family and many friends."
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Philipp Guelland/DAPD/AP Images; Wenn]
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
The Santa giveth, and the Santa taketh away — but today he mostly giveth, as several shows received very good news — like, "we all still have jobs next year" good news. What else did the jolly round fat man pull from his bag? Let's take a peek...
The League Totally Scores: It's a very happy day for the fellas (and the lady) over at The League — FX announced via release that the raunchy, laugh-out-loud comedy would come back with a fifth season. The show will be back next fall with a 13-episode order, and it will also air it's fourth season finale on Thursday. Bud Light, anyone?
Psych Breaks a Record: Congrats to the two kookiest detectives in town: Psych has been renewed for an 8th season, making it USA's longest-running show. The seventh season — which hasn't even started yet — will feature the show's 100th episode, as well as a musical. [Hollywood Reporter]
You STILL Think You Can Dance?: Well, I certainly can't, but Fox officially picked up So You Think You Can Dance for a whopping tenth season, so there has to be some hidden talent they haven't discovered yet. [Deadline]
Pawnee's Greatest Resident Has a Sibling: Jean-Ralphio has a twin sister and this news is great, it's even better when you discover she's Jenny Slate... face. Oh well, I tried. Well, Slate will guest star in at least one episode as Mona Lisa, our beloved Jean-Ralphio's twin with an equally fabulous name. ML is hired by Tom as a salesperson at his new Rent-A-Swag store, which is a recipe for a wonderful disaster. Don't worry, Ron Swanson will swoop in with some words to the wise. [EW]
Showtime Gets Papal: We're going to Italy! Well, we're not, but Showtime has officially put their new pilot The Vatican into production, and we're pretty sure that that's in Italy. The network announced via release that Oscar nominee Sir Ridley Scott will direct the pilot, which Emmy nominee Paul Attanasio wrote. According to the release, Attanasio's script is "a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics — set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church." Color us intrigued! With Attanasio, Scott, and The Good Wife's David Zucker set to produce, we'll give this one a very enthusiastic shot.
More Vampire Hatred on True Blood: Looks like the human versus vamp theme from last season of True Blood will continue. Arliss Howard has been cast as (human) Louisiana Governor Truman Burrell, a southern gent who has a serious beef with the undead, after one of them ran away with his wife. [TVLine]
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Yarish/FX]
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As the summer movie season begins, with all its highly anticipated movies in tow, I can’t help but remember a crucial moment from my cinephile past. It was May of 1999, and a fifteen-year-old version of me was beside himself with excitement as the lights dimmed and the iconic words once again graced the theater screen: “A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…
I was about to actually see a brand new Star Wars film, how could anything spoil so magical an event? Easy: the new Star Wars movie. The long walk out of that theater is forever burned into my memory as the first time I ever started thinking critically about film. I didn’t have the words to identify all of the films sundry missteps; I just knew something wasn’t right and that it left me feeling cold. How could this have been a culled from the same brain that gave us the legendary original trilogy?
If you’ve read the Internet for even five minutes over the last fifteen years, you’re aware of the vitriol this once universally beloved filmmaker has engendered among Star Wars fans. His constant tinkering with the classic trilogy, his stubbornness toward releasing the versions we love, and the abysmal prequels have lit the fires of contempt in many zealous geeks. A documentary cataloguing this contentious relationship with fans, titled The People vs. George Lucas, has just hit Netflix Instant. My own feelings on this matter have put this article at risk of abject fanboy bias. Therefore, in addition to strongly encouragingly you to watch the documentary for yourself, I will merely present a few lesser-known arguments the film makes in condemnation of the man once affectionately known as The Creator. I leave it to you to make your own decision and cast your guilty/not guilty vote in the case of The People vs. George Lucas.
Singing A Different Cantina Tune
One of the biggest perceived affronts to his fans committed by Lucas was the altering of Episodes IV-VI for the 1997 “special editions.” Suddenly extra creatures were present at Mos Eisley, the order of shots fired delineated from established canon, and Jabba’s palace now boasted entire musical numbers. Though his justification stemmed from his repeated assertion that the new versions were how he’d always envisioned the films would look, his added digital bells and CGI whistles were received as unforgivable defacement by most fans.
The documentary points out that George’s tinkering with Star Wars in the '90s is in direct opposition to his stance against Ted Turner’s 1988 campaign to colorize several classic black-and-white films. George actually testified before Congress in the landmark case that ended up creating the National Film Registry. These were his exact words…
“Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.”
You Need A Probe Droid To Find The Untainted Versions
For the longest time, those apathetic toward the Star Wars controversy have contended that those making a fuss about the tainted versions of the film should simply satisfy themselves with the original, unaltered versions and cease their bellyaching. This would be a apt prescription, if it were at all an easy task to obtain the unaltered versions. Unless you still have a working VCR, and a pre-1997 VHS release of the trilogy, the only way to own the original versions is to spend upwards of $200 for a copy of the out-of-print 2006 DVD release that offers them as a special feature in the incorrect aspect ratio. Lucas’ apparent contempt for his original masterpiece has largely prevented their seeing the light of day.
The documentary actually goes a step further in this regard by providing evidence that at one time, via his PR department, Lucas was actually claiming that the original negatives of the first three Star Wars films had been forever altered during the 1997 “restoration” and would never be released again. They conclude that he has become a strange sort of history revisionist out to convince the world that naught but the tampered-with versions exist…or ever existed. Their position is that, no matter the film, these actions are antithetical to the integrity of film as an art form.
Have Adult Fans Merely Been Corrupted By The Dark Side?
It’s no secret that a large contingency of Star Wars fans can barely refrain from spitting upon the ground whenever the subject of the prequels is raised. Many of the new trilogy’s issues are investigated within the doc, both objectively and with jaded fanaticism. Also investigated are the counterarguments to the disdain for the prequels. One possible explanation offered for the bitter hatred fans have toward, say, The Phantom Menace is that many of them saw the original trilogy as children and have lost the ability to recognize the wonderment these films always possessed. In other words, The Phantom Menace was always intended for kids. The documentary asks you to consider however the amount of enjoyment the average child would deride from a plot centering on trade disputes and intergalactic embargoes. They also offer that no character in the history of the franchise was as tiresomely moronic as Jar-Jar Binks.
In closing arguments, in spite of the filmmakers’ clear position against Lucas’ actions since the mid-90s, they somewhat defend the accused by also offering plenty of reverence for the man. Fans, even jilted fans, really do harbor a love/hate relationship with the man who, in spite of his supposed crimes, did create something that has touched and changed so many lives across the planet. Also fascinating is the wide array of recreations of Star Wars scenes from several short filmmakers in a variety of different film mediums. These recreations are interwoven into the documentary to impress upon the viewer how indelible the Star Wars legacy truly is.
A special exploring the nature of anti-Semitism. Part 1, "From the Cross to the Swastika," traces the troubled relations between Judaism and Christianity from Roman times through the present. Part 2, "Enemies of the People," explores the relationship between the surge of nationalism in Europe and the growth of hate against minorities. Part 3, "Between Moses and Muhammad," focuses on the anti-Semitism among Muslims that results from the Arab-Israeli conflict.