The Crown confirms that Gillian Anderson is playing Margaret Thatcher in season 4 of the Netflix series. The Crown follows both the personal and public lives of Queen Elizabeth II, exploring her reign throughout the decades. Seasons 1 and 2 of The Crown are set during the 1950s and 60s and see Claire Foy in the role of Britain's longest reigning monarch. Come season 3, Olivia Coleman steps into the role as The Crown enters the 1970s and 80s - a tumultuous time for the U.K. during which Thatcher becomes the country's first woman Prime Minister.
The Crown season 3 will premiere later this year and in addition to Coleman, Outlander's Tobias Menzies is taking over for Matt Smith as Prince Phillip, Helena Bonham Carter replaces Vanessa Kirby as the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, and Ben Daniels is playing Lord Snowden, Margaret's husband, a character previously played by Matthew Goode. Season 3 will also see Emerald Fennell join The Crown as Camilla Parker Bowles, while season 4 introduces Emma Corrin as Princess Diana. And where previously Queen Elizabeth would meet with John Lithgow's Winston Churchill, it will soon be Anderson's Thatcher who comes to Buckingham Palace.
News that Anderson would play Thatcher in The Crown season 4 first broke earlier this year, but Netflix has since made it official, sharing a statement from the actress on Twitter. In it, Anderson expresses her excitement at joining The Crown and for playing such a "complicated and controversial woman." Read Anderson comments about portraying the Iron Lady for Netflix's The Crown, below:
Gillian Anderson will play Margaret Thatcher in The Crown Season Four, now in production. pic.twitter.com/OVCO8o2bVk— The Crown (@TheCrownNetflix) September 7, 2019
Margaret Thatcher is certainly considered a complicated figure, and as Anderson points out, is someone that is both "loved and despised". During her time as Prime Minister, Thatcher's Britain was plagued with high unemployment and a struggling economy, while abroad, the country became embroiled in the 10-week Falklands War. This was also the an active period for the IRA, and Thatcher and her husband were almost killed in a bombing. When it comes to their portrayal of Thatcher, The Crown is unlikely to shy away from showing any ugly truths, but it will also surely give Thatcher her due as an icon of her time.
Previously, Meryl Steep played Thatcher in The Iron Lady, winning her third Academy Award for the performance. Anderson's Thatcher, however, will differ from Streep's, and it'll be interesting to see how she approaches the role. Anderson, of course, has a career with a broad range of roles, but it's easy to see the fierce Prime Minister fitting among them. The Crown also boasts a strong track record when it comes to casting its famous characters, like the many members of the royal family. Lithgow's Churchill, for example, stands out as a surprising but brilliant casting decision that earned the series one of its first awards. In which case, an accomplished actress like Anderson is sure to be a perfect Iron Lady when she comes on the scene in season 4.