The Crown: Gillian Anderson on her role as Margaret Thatcher in new series
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But an expert on the 1980s Prime Minister believes the former X-Files actress may have made her a “bit too glamorous”. Chris Collins, director of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation said early publicity shots from the forthcoming Netflix Blockbuster do not quite capture the Maggie he knew. The senior historian and former aide to the Tory leader said in another film still, the 52-year-old actress seems less stylish than the real thing.
He said: “She looks the part, but possibly she is a bit too glamorous – but not vastly so.
“In the one with the sunglasses, she looks less good than the real person, but potentially she could play the part very well.”
The fourth series of the award-winning drama documentary begins next month and charts the 1980s when Mrs Thatcher occupied 10 Downing Street.
Alongside Gillian as the Premier, Olivia Colman stars as the Queen, Emma Corrin as Princess Diana and Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles.
Chris said the show is bound to show Maggie’s political “sparring in fascinating style” with the Queen over the issue of apartheid in South Africa.
Her Majesty was so furious with the Prime Minister’s refusal to back sanctions against the then pariah state she considered scrapping their weekly audience.
He said actors who play Mrs Thatcher should concentrate on learning her mannerisms rather than relying on her look.
“She was small in stature, not merely in height but also narrow in her shoulders.
“Her hair, make-up and clothes were a major element in the impression she left, and she was coiffed, made-up and dressed even when there was no major event.
“She wore wonderful scent. You knew when she was coming or where she had been – useful since she moved around almost silently on stockinged feet.”
But he said screen Thatchers also need to capture her understated “humour and warmth” and the “winning feminine touches – slightly artful but not unreal”.
He said Meryl Streep made an “impressive” Maggie in movie The Iron Lady, portraying her “style and presence” so well she won the Oscar for best actress.
He added: “She caught MT’s peculiar way of walking – moving fast, but with short steps.
“Streep did her way of speaking very well, an not just for an American. I five her high marks.
“Another thing she got exactly right was the way MT held a whisky glass – a tiny but revealing thing.”
But he was not impressed by Angela Riseborough, who played a young Maggie in BBC 4 drama The Long Walk to Finchley.
“I couldn’t see anything of MT in her performance at all, not even the appearance. There seemed to be hostility in her treatment.”
Chris also said that the best actor never to have played Mrs Thatcher is Basic Instinct star Glenn Close.
“In the mid-90s, I was in Washington and went to the Kennedy Center. one evening.
“I was in a lift when in walked Glenn Close dressed to the nines.
“We rode up two floors together and it was uncannily like standing next to MT, something I’d done often enough in like circumstances.
“I had an instant sense that she would one day play her and that she would do it very well.
“I thought of saying something to her but it was none of my business really, so I stayed mum.”
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