Meryl Streep adds another incredible performance to her pantheon of characters as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the new biopic The Iron Lady, and she explains to ET that people often have a tendency to dehumanize politicians.
"[Thatcher is] highly, highly divisive and controversial, and I think when we reduce people to monster or saint, we neglect who they are, their humanity," she tells our Christina McLarty. "That's what we were interested in discovering in this movie."
Ever the humble thespian, the ageless 62-year-old star shrugs off the fresh awards buzz acclaim that is coming her way from the seamless portrayal: "No, I don't enjoy recognition," she says with a laugh.
In wide release Friday, The Iron Lady chronicles how a determined Thatcher was able to break through the barriers of gender and class to make her mark in a male-dominated political environment in the Reagan-era 1980s, and Meryl says she took away "so many things" about the historic politician.
"I took away an awe of people who are willing to stand up and be our leaders, because they have to be willing to take the loathing of a great segment of the population," says Meryl. "You love her or you hate her; you think that she destroyed England, or she was responsible for its only post-war boom. There is no middle ground."
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, The Iron Lady also stars Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Nicholas Farrell, Anthony Head, Harry Lloyd and Richard E. Grant.