Weinstein acquires ‘The Iron Lady’ for 2011 release

Posted by · 9:59 am · May 13th, 2011

When I get around to updating Oscar predictions in a couple of weeks, I will, as usual, refrain from including any films that don’t yet have domestic distribution. But one title can be taken off of that list, and may have just thrust Meryl Streep to the top of the lead actress race (though she’ll certainly find competition from Tilda Swinton when “We Need to Talk About Kevin” inevitably finds a home).

The Weinstein Company has stolen a little thunder from the Cannes whirlwind, announcing today its acquisition of Phyllida Lloyd’s Margaret Thatcher biopic “The Iron Lady.” In the wake of “The King’s Speech,” it seems Harvey is sticking to proven material, and Brit biopics are still a solid play in the awards season. Jim Broadbent could also be someone to watch for in supporting as Thatcher’s husband.

For a number of years now, the cult of Streep has demanded further awardage for the undeniably prolific actress. Two Oscars over 20 years ago just aren’t enough. In my opinion, nothing she’s done since last winning in 1982, save for maybe 2002’s “Adaptation,” has warranted a win over her competition. But 16 nominations is nothing to sneeze at, and it seems a 17th could be on the way, further extending her record.

Check out the full press release after the jump.

TWC PARTNERS WITH RON BURKLE TO ACQUIRE U.S. RIGHTS FROM PATHÉ INTERNATIONAL TO PHYLLIDA LLOYD’S THE IRON LADY STARRING MERYL STREEP AS MARGARET THATCHER

2011 Release Planned

New York, NY, May 13, 2011 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that it has acquired from Pathé International all U.S. distribution rights to THE IRON LADY, directed by Phyllida Lloyd (MAMMA MIA!) and starring Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep (THE HOURS, JULIA AND JULIA) as Margaret Thatcher. Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent (the HARRY POTTER series, IRIS) co-stars as Thatcher’s husband, Denis. The film marks the second collaboration between Lloyd and Streep, following the acclaimed hit musical MAMMA MIA!. THE IRON LADY is written by award-winning writer Abi Morgan (BRICK LANE, WHITE GIRL) and produced by Damian Jones (THE HISTORY BOYS, MILLIONS). The announcement was jointly made by TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein and Francois Ivernel, EVP, Pathé.

TWC will partner on the acquisition with Ron Burkle, in the third joint acquisition of 2011, following OUR IDIOT BROTHER and THE DETAILS.

The US Theatrical release for THE IRON LADY is planned for 2011.

Said Weinstein, “Having worked with both Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent, I know that they are without peer as film actors. Even so, I was absolutely blown away by what I saw of their performances as Margaret and Denis Thatcher. Phyllida is doing an incredible job.”

Commented Ivernel and Cameron McCracken, MD Pathé UK, “We are excited to be in business again with Harvey and his team – The Iron Lady has found a worthy home in TWC and a great champion for the US market.”
Added Peter Lawson TWC Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, “I was very impressed by the screenplay and when I saw the assembled footage, I knew immediately that THE IRON LADY belonged at TWC.”

The deal was negotiated for TWC by COO David Glasser, Lawson, and Michal Steinberg, Senior Vice President Business Affairs and Acquisitions; and for Pathé by McCracken, Muriel Sauzay, Executive Vice President, International Sales and Mike Runagall, Senior Vice President, International Sales.

THE IRON LADY – SYNOPSIS

THE IRON LADY is a surprising and intimate portrait of Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep), the first and only female Prime Minister of The United Kingdom. One of the 20th century’s most famous and influential women, Thatcher came from nowhere to smash through barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male dominated world.

[Photo: The Weinstein Company]




→ 37 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

37 responses so far

  • 1 5-13-2011 at 10:46 am

    Zack said...

    Confession: Jim Broadbent’s involvement in this always makes me chuckle because it reminds me of that “Simpsons” episode where Otto is watching a (fictional) Broadbent coal-mining drama and ends up yelling “There’s blood on your hands, Mrs. Thatcher!!!”
    …dear God, I need regular coverage back.

  • 2 5-13-2011 at 11:49 am

    /3rtfu11 said...

    “In my opinion, nothing she’s done since last winning in 1982, save for maybe 2002′s “Adaptation,” has warranted a win over her competition.”

    She was deserving in (83) for Silkwood — however MacLaine was excellent and overdue — (87) for Ironweed — although Hunter is best-in-show that year.

  • 3 5-13-2011 at 12:12 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    “though she’ll certainly find competition from Tilda Swinton when “We Need to Talk About Kevin” inevitably finds a home”

    If that home isn’t Fox Searchlight, Focus Features or Lionsgate she’s not getting in.

  • 4 5-13-2011 at 12:27 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “If that home isn’t Fox Searchlight, Focus Features or Lionsgate she’s not getting in.”

    Why? Roadside, for instance, had a big year last year. Sony Classics could turn the trick, too.

  • 5 5-13-2011 at 12:38 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    All of her previous independent distributors couldn’t do it off the strengh of her work and name alone — she needs Searchlight, Focus, Lionsgate and yes you’re right about Sony I forgot about them because there seems to be less studio driven art-house divisions.

  • 6 5-13-2011 at 12:39 pm

    markus said...

    I was hoping Harvey would pick up Iron Lady. Like him or hate him he has a magic touch in getting awards recognition for his actors (Cruz, Winslet, Firth, etc.). Harvey will also be behind Streep’s August Osage County which looks on paper like a sure Oscar winner for Streep.

  • 7 5-13-2011 at 12:43 pm

    Bradley said...

    If her screentime reflects the script and how much they shot of her, Alexandra Roach should be watched out for in Supporting Actress as Young Maggie. She’s superb, playing Maggie from 16-34.

    Mark Coulier’s make up should be a lock for a nom. Not only does Meryl get made up to LOOK like Maggie, but they age (and de-age) het considerably as well. Not to mention the prosthetic work on Broadbent and Olivia Colman as well.

  • 8 5-13-2011 at 1:51 pm

    Bradley said...

    Speaking of future Oscar winners: http://www.eatsleeplivefilm.com/premature-evaluation-2-rob-savage/4390/

    Please check it out! :)

  • 9 5-13-2011 at 2:01 pm

    m1 said...

    4-I hope that Sony Classics does not get it. Their campaigning barely ever works.

    Fox Searchlight would be the best choice.

  • 10 5-13-2011 at 2:45 pm

    Mr. F said...

    @m1

    If their campaigning did not work, how did they manage to get a nomination for an Australian that is not known outside her country for a movie that no one saw. Sure, Lesley Manville didn’t get a nomination, but I blame that on category confusion.

  • 11 5-13-2011 at 3:26 pm

    SJG said...

    I would almost agree with the idea that Meryl Streep has never been a more deserving contender than her competition in the last, ahem, almost thirty (the ‘more than twenty’ sounds like ignoring just how long she’s gone without a win) years, except for one: Doubt.

    I know some people thought it was a bit hammy, but I’m pretty solidly convinced that it was still a better performance than any of the competition, and, let’s face it, the only reason Kate Winslet actually won is because she was going to be the Oscar-losing-est actress since Deborah Kerr if she didn’t, which was probably a greater injustice than stiffing Meryl again.

    And, frankly, I’m convinced that about 10 of Meryl’s nominations were just laziness on the part of the actor’s branch when checking their nomination list. “Meryl Streep? Eh, she probably deserves a nod. Vote!” …. So, it’s kind of hard to feel too bad for her.

  • 12 5-13-2011 at 4:54 pm

    Michael W. said...

    @SJG

    I completely agree. Streep should have won for Doubt.

    But personally I also love that Kate Winslet won (even though it was nowhere near her best). So that was a very tough year. I kept praying they would nominate Kate in supporting so BOTH Streep and Winslet could have won.

  • 13 5-13-2011 at 4:55 pm

    Isaac Richter said...

    When she got that nomination for “Doubt”, that was the year that I got pissed at this obsession the Academy had with Meryl Streep. I wouldn’t have even nominated her for that, especially not over Sally Hawkins in “Happy-Go-Lucky”, or Michell Williams in “Wendy and Lucy”, and my win pick for that year of the five nominees was Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married”. Seriously, there are so many actresses Meryl’s age who have delivered classic performances without ever winning an Oscar, and yet people whine about Meryl not winning a third statue? What about Glenn Close? What about Sigourney Weaver? And, seriously, when one of Meryl’s automatic/ lazy nominations get in the way of a more deserving performance getting snubbed, that’s when I really get pissed at this Meryl obsession (and I love her, I thought she deserved the two Oscars she won without a doubt, and also loved her in The Devil Wears Prada and Adaptation).

  • 14 5-13-2011 at 5:45 pm

    Raj Himself said...

    Harvey is on a killer roll at the moment. Putting aside 2011, TWC’s 2012 looks amazing already with Cogan’s Trade, Django Unchained and PTA’s Untitled Project. They will probably turn out to be anything but Oscar bait but they are definitely three of the best projects out there and they’re all under one roof. He’s back alright.

  • 15 5-13-2011 at 5:47 pm

    Puchika said...

    OT: Scorsese and Lars Von Trier are teaming up

    http://www.empireonline.com/news/feed.asp?NID=30987

  • 16 5-14-2011 at 2:22 am

    Raymond said...

    I think some of Streep’s nominated performances are not the best of her career, but come on, she has a really impressive record. Her early nominations are rightly deserved, and I respect her nominations for her beautiful work in stuff like Postcards from the Edge, Ironweed, Adaptation, etc. I agree that Adaptation is probably her most deserving performance after Sophie’s Choice, a pity it went completely unrecognized.
    I thought she was hammy in Doubt but I absolutely hated Kate Winslet in The Reader (and I’m a huge fan of her work), she was definitely the most deserving that year, same as she was the most deserving the year that Sandra Bullock won for that awful film I won’t even mention.

  • 17 5-14-2011 at 2:58 am

    RichardA said...

    Iron Ladies was awesome. When is Harvey going to make the Oscar winning American version of that movie?

    Streep deserved all the nominations she had.

  • 18 5-14-2011 at 9:02 am

    Ross said...

    I completely diagree with the statement that Meryl wasn’t the best in the field in 1988 (she was absolutely brilliant) and probably in 1983 (with Silkwood). Adaptation as well, but you recognize that. To me she was close to the top in 1985, 1987 and 1995 as well and of course she was great in the weak year for the category in 2009. She wasn’t really deserving in 2008, but let’s face it – the actual winner was less deserving and Jolie’s nomination was a joke as well, so let’s notblame everything (the Sally Hawkins snub) on Meryl. To me having Harvey means she could very well be winning that third Oscar next year. After all he’ll play the overdue theme better than anybody else.

  • 19 5-14-2011 at 9:29 am

    John H. Foote said...

    Not since ’82?? Wow, in my opinion she should have won in ’88 for A Cry in the Dark, again in ’02 for Adaptation and again for doubt in 2008 — the NY Film Critics gave her Best Actress in 09 for Julie and Julia and I did not see a better performance by an actress than hers that year — God there could be a strong argument made for her in Out of Africa!! She cosistently challenges herself does she not?

    Harvey can smell Oscars, and he’s right on the money here — she’s in and if nominated I think they will finally vote a second — kind of shameful that Sally Field, Hilary Swank and Jodie Foster are two time Best Actress winners and the greatest actress in film history…is not.

  • 20 5-14-2011 at 2:00 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    “kind of shameful that Sally Field, Hilary Swank and Jodie Foster are two time Best Actress winners and the greatest actress in film history…is not”

    Streep being the greatest is a myth since there’s no such thing as the greatest– she’s a soulless actress which is why she’s able to play just about everything to varying degrees of quality.

    Eleven women have two Best Actress wins– very few actually deserve them. My personal favorite two-time winner is Bette Davis.

    There’s no reason in the world why Katharine Hepburn has four– she certainly didn’t get them on performance alone.

  • 21 5-15-2011 at 8:02 am

    Afrika said...

    “In my opinion, nothing she’s done since last winning in 1982, save for maybe 2002′s “Adaptation,” has warranted a win over her competition.”

    Really? so Sandra Bullock was better than Meryl in Julie and Julia? a travesty if I ever saw one. Interesting how when it comes to Meryl, the movie “gurus” always compare her work to Sophie’s Choice. If she doesn’t surpass the level of acting in Sophie’s Choice, then she doesn’t deserve an Oscar. Why was the same logic not applied to Hilary Swank? or Jack Nicholson? or Daniel Day Lewis? or Katharine Hepburn???? Katharine Hepburn won a friggin Oscar for Guess who is coming to dinner? I mean are you kidding me? but when it comes to Meryl Streep because want to have “standards”? give me a break.

    I also get aggravated when people act like Sophie’s Choice was Meryl’s pinnacle. Um, excuse me have you seen A Cry in a dark? or Silkwood? I could go on

  • 22 5-15-2011 at 8:32 am

    Eunice said...

    I worry about this film because it raises the third Oscar question, and personally, I would rather that her Oscar count stayed at two than if she won for a performance that might not count as one of her best. I’m kind of hoping August Osage County does it for her than this one.

  • 23 5-15-2011 at 8:52 am

    John H. Foote said...

    “…soulless actress…????

    Are you kidding me?? Havaing studied the art of acting, not that I am an expert but let me state with every confidence that Streep is hardly without soul in her work — in fact, she brings an extraordinary amount of soul to the performances which require such and none to those which do not (The Manchurian Candidate) — from her debut in Julia (1977) through to her current work, she has consistently proven to have an astounding range, magnificent intelligence, and a gift for inhabiting the characters she portrays to utter perfection — no one, not Brando, Duvall, no one has accomplished what she has through her career — let me go a step further in stating not only is she the greatest actress in film history, but very likely the finest ACTOR…period. Just my opinion. Each and every word written on the script comes out of her mouth as though the character were saying it for the first time…so sick and tired of people disparaging this astonishing talent. And Bravo Afrika for statuing the obvious about the 2009 Best Actress winner…the critics in NY nailed that one…the Academy, not so much…Bullock, over Streep?? Seriously??

  • 24 5-15-2011 at 10:04 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Uh, Afrika and John:

    “Really? so Sandra Bullock was better than Meryl in Julie and Julia?”

    No, but Gabourey Sidibe and Carey Mulligan were better than both. “Competition” does not mean “winner.”

    Also, settle down and don’t put words into people’s mouths. “Standard?” She’s given consistently great work her whole career. But in my opinion, most every year she was up for an Oscar, there was a better performance out there. That doesn’t mean she peaked in 1982. It means timing sucks sometimes.

    And I think John missed what /3rtfu11 meant by “soulless,” but I won’t speak for him.

    “so sick and tired of people disparaging this astonishing talent”

    No one is disparaging anything. You and others are, I guess, just getting your panties in a twist because some aren’t willing to worship at the Streep altar.

  • 25 5-15-2011 at 11:00 am

    Ed of We HO said...

    Weinstein did the right thing. Hope he promotes this movie so Meryl can surely win her 3rd.

    Message to the Academy: give it to her already! You guys are cruel, what does she need to do to win her 3rd? Eat some fire or do a trapeze show!

  • 26 5-15-2011 at 11:41 am

    m1 said...

    24-Agreed. Mulligan deserved the Oscar more than anyone that year. I’m still not happy that the movie was completely overshadowed by several inferior contenders that year.

    Re SPC: I didn’t mean to say that their campaigning barely ever works. It is just that they are more hit-and-miss with their campaigning than any other studio. Let’s not forget that Another Year was completely overshadowed last year.

  • 27 5-15-2011 at 3:27 pm

    Afrika said...

    “But in my opinion, most every year she was up for an Oscar, there was a better performance out there.”

    You could make the same argument about every other Oscar nominated actress but you don’t. I could name actresses who I think were better than Mulligan and Sibide that year but weren’t nominated. Hell, I thought Tilda Swinton was better in I am Love than Portman in Black Swan. As I said, anyone can make that argument but no one does. For some reason, people claim to value quality acting only when Meryl Streep is concerned.

  • 28 5-15-2011 at 3:31 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Why would I make the argument for every other Oscar nominated actress when this is a post about Meryl Streep’s potential Oscar-nominated work in “The Iron Lady?”

    And people only make that point because others seem to think it’s a tragedy she doesn’t have a third Oscar. It’s the circumstance and the already-in-place discussion about Streep and her supposedly being “due” that yields that consideration from those who disagree, so you’re talking in circles. It’s like saying, “Why are you staying on topic?? Anyone can veer off topic but they don’t! They only talk about Meryl Streep not being due when I say she’s due!”

    Seriously…

  • 29 5-15-2011 at 3:33 pm

    SJG said...

    For people complaining about Streep’s loss to Bullock, I have two things to say:

    1) Bullock managed to make a mediocre, contrived, and self-consciously “feel-good” movie into a gazillion-dollar grossing blockbuster that secured a freaking Best Picture nomination. Was it a great performance? No. Did Bullock’s performance single-handedly outshine every other performance of the year anyway, deservingly or not? Pretty much.

    2) Failing a Bullock win, that Oscar should have gone to Sidibe, not Streep.

  • 30 5-15-2011 at 3:45 pm

    Afrika said...

    But have you ever made that argument about best actress Oscar nominees in other posts? exactly my point. The possibility of other actresses “out there” who are more deserving of nominees seems to surface only when Meryl’s multiple nominations are mentioned. Hilary Swank and Katharne Hepburn and Daniel Day Lewis and the entire world can win 50 Oscars and no one would talk. When talk of Meryl’s third Oscar begins, she is immediately branded as overrated. Gimme a break.

    And no! Meryl is “supposedly” due for third Oscar. SHE IS DUE FOR THAT THIRD Oscar. Anyone who feels differently does not deserve to be analyzing film. Have a good day. Cheers!

  • 31 5-15-2011 at 4:42 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “But have you ever made that argument about best actress Oscar nominees in other posts?”

    No, because other Best Actress nominees with two Oscars don’t have fanboys and girls shouting “overdue!” every time a word is written about them.

    “The possibility of other actresses “out there” who are more deserving of nominees seems to surface only when Meryl’s multiple nominations are mentioned.”

    You’re so cleanly missing my point that it almost seems willful.

  • 32 5-15-2011 at 7:35 pm

    Paul Outlaw said...

    I never think of it as Streep deserving a third Oscar. To me it’s about her winning a second Best Actress Oscar, and Field, Swank, Penn and Day Lewis are among the many reasons she is overdue.

    (And although I would have given the prize to Emma Thompson over Susan Sarandon, I still have a weakness for Streep’s work that year in The Bridges of Madison County.)

  • 33 5-15-2011 at 8:41 pm

    Patryk said...

    George C Scott once said that the New York Film Critics award was the only one that meant anything. Keep that thought in mind when tallying up the totals. Streep=4, Ullmann=3, Woodward=3, Kerr=3, Bergman=3

  • 34 5-16-2011 at 3:58 am

    m1 said...

    33-“George C. Scott once said that the New York Film Critics award was the only one that meant anything.”

    And I should keep that douchebag’s comment in my mind because…?

  • 35 5-16-2011 at 4:42 am

    caleb roth said...

    I’m late, but I just want to say that I agree with everyone that said Meryl should have won for Doubt. Being hammy was a big part of the performance.

    It’d be her 4th Oscar. The third, of course, would be for The Bridges of Madison County, her best performance ever.

  • 36 5-16-2011 at 5:03 am

    JJ1 said...

    I think Streep is an incredible actress. I give her wins for the 2 Oscars she won. And I’ve nommed her countless times.

    The only other time I would have given her a 3rd Oscar would be 2009 for ‘Julie & Julia’. I just think she became Julia and we saw all sides of the woman (good, bad, determined, playful, serious, highs, lows, in-betweens). Sidibe & Mulligan would have been close, but 2009 was the first time since 1982 that I’d actually give it to her, too (stiff competition in all other years she was nommed):

    1978 – Maggie Smith, California Suite
    1981 – Diane Keaton, Reds
    1983 – Shirley Maclaine, Terms …
    1985 – Geraldine Paige, Trip to Bountiful
    1987 – Cher, Moonstruck
    1988 – Jodie Foster, The Accused
    1990 – Kathy Bates, Misery
    1995 – Susan Sarandon, DMW
    1998 – Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love
    1999 – Annette Bening, American Beauty
    2002 – Nicole Kidman, The Hours
    2006 – Helen Mirren, The Queen
    2008 – Kate Winslet, The Reader

  • 37 5-16-2011 at 5:08 am

    JJ1 said...

    … and I had her 2nd in quite a few of those years.

    Back to the Iron Lady. I feel like she has stiff competition this year, again. And I wonder if Weinstein’s influence could actually backfire with her; too much. I don’t know. Just ponderings.