The Crown star Gillian Anderson says she would have been 'really dumb' to turn down the role of Margaret Thatcher
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has been impersonated and parodied on countless occasions and portrayed to Oscar-winning success by Meryl Streep in 2011's The Iron Lady. The politician is also someone about whom people tend to have very strong opinions, both positive and negative. But The X-Files and Sex Education actress Gillian Anderson claims she had no apprehensions when she agreed to play Thatcher in season 4 of The Crown, which premieres on Netflix Nov. 15.
"It is one of those roles that, if you’re asked to do Thatcher in The Crown you’d be really dumb not to say, 'Yes,'" says Anderson, speaking over Zoom from London. "I think I would have really regretted it, had I done that, and somebody else taken it, and done a good job. So, I kind of felt that it was a welcome challenge. Yes, [it was] daunting in the sense that, as you say, a lot of people have very strong opinions about her, and will have a lot of opinions no doubt about how she’s portrayed and how I've played her. That, at the end of the day, is par for the course."
Did playing Thatcher change the actress' own opinion of the prime minister?
"I didn’t really have much of an opinion about her going in," says Anderson, who as a child lived in London for several years. "I left [the U.K.] in ’79, I was 11-years-old, and I don’t think there was much political talk in the house before, or even after, we moved to the States. So, it was only years later, in coming back, or in reading books or reading about Thatcherism, or hearing people’s opinions, which you hear a lot if you’re in this country, that I fully understood how strong the feelings were about her. I didn’t really need to clean much of a slate in the beginning. But regardless of anything, even if I did have opinions, the fact is that she was the first female prime minister of Great Britain and she lasted for 11 years and that’s extraordinary in and of itself."
Watch the teaser trailer for season 4 of The Crown above.