Meryl Streep Opens Up About Playing Thatcher - Plus Other Stars Who've Played Polarizing Politicians

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Actress Meryl Streep.
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Actress Meryl Streep.

In her rather impressive career, Meryl Streep has played characters of all walks of life. From a Holocaust survivor with a dark secret to one of the world's most beloved television chefs, her resume runs the gamut of roles. Her most recent and newsworthy part is that of Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of England, who even in her own country is quite a controversial figure.

In a recent interview, Streep said of the task of playing Thatcher, " It was extremely daunting, because I'm from New Jersey, and yet as an outsider, I felt something of what she might have felt." Thatcher's governance happened to coincide almost perfectly with that of American President Ronald Reagan, which forever ties the two together. Streep has already been nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," and it would seem that momentum will certainly carry forward to get her yet another Oscar nomination as well.

Streep, the star of "Kramer vs. Kramer" and "Sophie's Choice" is certainly not the first actor or actress to play the role of a polarizing or controversial leader. Here now are a few of the more notable instances of actors stepping into the shoes of a head of state that may or may not have been a beloved figure.

Madonna as Eva Peron in "Evita" - The cinematic adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical of the same name, "Evita" tells the story of the former First Lady of Argentina, Eva Peron. She was a controversial figure in her time, and the story of both the musical and the film paints her in a slightly sympathetic light, though does show her penchant for using her feminine wiles to move up the social ladder.

Josh Brolin as George W. Bush in "W." - Director Oliver Stone took his unique look at life and applied it to this biopic about former President George W. Bush. For the title role, he tapped Josh Brolin who actually did a very convincing job playing the controversial commander in chief.

Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland" - For his work as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, Forest Whitaker won an Academy Award in 2007. Amin is highly regarded as one of the most barbaric leaders in Africa during his reign, the film is told through the eyes of Amin's doctor, played by James McAvoy.

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