Meryl Streep has insisted that she searched for the "humanity" in Margaret Thatcher while filming The Iron Lady.
The Academy Award winner explained in an article for Newsweek that she was determined to understand why Thatcher became such a lightning rod for controversy during her 11-year term as British Prime Minister.
"We give our elected leaders iconic stature almost to have things to tear down, to work out all sorts of our own psychological problems and needs and venomous feelings," Streep said.
"So I wondered about all the times that Margaret Thatcher was spoken about being unfeeling. And I thought, well, why was that? Was she really completely unfeeling?"
Streep continued: "As a public figure in a much smaller way myself, I understand that feeling of being stripped of your humanity. Was she a monster?
"While we were making the film, people had such strong and particular and specific venom for her. It was sort of stunning. It made me all the more interested in where her humanity lay."
Streep recently defended her portrayal of Thatcher in The Iron Lady against criticism from some ex-politicians.
She has since received Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe award nominations for The Iron Lady, while Thatcher's former colleague Nigel Lawson has predicted that Streep will also win an Oscar.
The Iron Lady opens on limited release in the US on December 30 and wider on January 13. The film is released on January 6 in the UK.
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Watch a trailer for The Iron Lady below: