Meryl Streep To Play Iconic Feminist Emmeline Pankhurst In Suffragette


There are only a handful of actresses working today who are capable of doing justice to iconic figures, and Meryl Streep is right at the top of that list. Having previously taken on British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to much acclaim, including an Oscar win for Best Actress, Streep is now turning her attention to playing feminist icon Emmeline Pankhurst in the upcoming film Suffragette.

Suffragette will cover the rise of the early feminist movement and its subsequent radicalization. Despite Streep’s presence, Pankhurst is not the central character of the film. That honor goes to Maude, played by Carey Mulligan, described as a “foot soldier of the early feminist movement.” Maude turns radical, engaging in violent techniques to rally for change. Streep’s small part will feature little more than a rousing speech on women’s rights, but the veteran actress is very cautious with her project choices, so one assumes that it must be a well-written part.

Suffragette is being directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) from a script by Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady). In addition to Streep and Mulligan, the cast currently includes Helena Bonham Carter and Romola Garai. In other words, a lot of powerful actresses are coming together for this one.

For those who don’t know, Pankhurst was a major player of the British suffragette movement. She founded numerous women’s rights organizations, including the Women’s Social and Political Union. She even staged hunger strikes during her terms of imprisonment. She also became an advocate for increasingly militant measures to achieve change when the government first ignored and then cracked down on suffragette protests, resulting in divisiveness in the movement and in its perception by the public at large. I cannot think of a better part for an outspoken actress like Meryl Streep, no matter how small the role might be.

We will keep an eye on Suffragette as it goes into production but for now, let us know what you think about Streep’s casting in the comments section below.

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