Movie Editor's Blog

Movie Editor's Blog

The Iron Lady cast: fiction vs. reality

By common consensus Meryl Streep looks spookily similar to love-her-or-loathe-her ex-PM Margaret Thatcher in new film 'The Iron Lady'. That hair, the poised expression, the power suits — it's jolly convincing.

However the rest of the cast are something of a mixed bag when it comes to looking like their real life counterparts.

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Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher

First up the dead ringers. Besides Streep as Maggie, Michael Pennington is the only actor to look eerily like his character: left-wing Labour leader Michael Foot. Pennington is a regular on British TV, and had a minor role in 'Return of the Jedi' apparently.

Michael Pennington as Michael Foot

Jim Broadbent's had mixed reviews for his take on Dennis Thatcher, but he does look similar-ish to Maggie's late hubby. Some critics reckon his take on the character veered into 'Dear Bill' territory.

Jim Broadbent as Dennis Thatcher

Roger Allam —the go-to-man if you want a slightly slimy Tory after playing Peter Mannion in 'The Thick of It' — also shares a decent resemblance to political strategist Gordon Reece. It's the ice cream hair that does it.

Roger Allam as Gordon Reece

Period drama specialist Julian Wadham (he's shown up in 'Marple', 'Foyle's War' and 'Poirot' in recent years) does a decent job impersonating Francis Pym, the rebel minister who led the 'Wets' during the Thatcher years.

Julian Wadham as Francis Pym

Even though he has a narrow-er face, TV stalwart Nicholas Farrell also cuts a familiar dash as Airey Neave, the hero-soldier-turned politician who was assassinated by the IRA in 1979.

It seems the more famous the actor however, the less the resemblance (with the exception of Streep obviously).

Anthony Head as Geoffrey HoweAnthony Head, of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and Nescafe ad fame, looks nothing like deputy PM Geoffrey Howe, who's resignation speech slamming Thatcher help bring about her downfall in 1990. He plays a great schemer though.

Olivia Colman as Carol Thatcher

Even stranger is Olivia Colman as Carol Thatcher. 'The Peep Show' star doesn't really resemble the journalist-turned 'I'm a Celeb' contestant, even with that weird blonde wig (at least we assume it's a wig).

Richard E. Grant as Michael Heseltine

Finally Michael Heseltine, who helped oust Thatcher after standing against her in a leadership election. He's played by, err, Richard E. Grant — hardly a dead ringer despite the hair.

Agree with our assessments? Will you be seeing 'The Iron Lady' this week? Let us know in the comments section below.

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