Monday, December 19, 2011

Meryl Streep on Margaret Thatcher and public speaking

Public speaking was a hallmark of Margaret Thatcher's career, long before she became Britain's prime minister--and public speaking is emerging as a strong theme in the new movie The Iron Lady, which debuts January 6 in the UK. Now CBS has featured the movie's star, Meryl Streep, in an interview that also zeroes in on several aspects of Thatcher's speaking and how Streep brought it to the screen.

Thatcher's hiring of an acting coach is noted in the interview. "Her voice was sort of lighter, like mine is," Streep said. "And they taught her to support it, to bring it up from the depths of her place, where the conviction lies, and to carry it through without a breath, until the end of a thought. And then not to give 'em a chance to interrupt her."

She objects when it's pointed out that she's played a lot of strong-minded women. "No one has ever asked an actor, 'You're playing a strong-minded man.' We assume that men are strong-minded, or have opinions. But a strong-minded woman is a different animal,"  Streep said. 

The story also notes that Streep is active in the campaign to build a National Women's History Museum in Washington and shows her at a fundraiser quoting Thatcher: "If you want something spoken about, ask a man. If you want it done, ask a woman."

Margaret Thatcher's "Iron Lady" speech--the one that earned her that nickname--was featured in our Famous Speech Friday series earlier this year. For the 60 Minutes interview of Streep, read the script of this segment here, and watch it below. What do you think?

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