The new drama Suffragette is set to commence filming next week in the U.K., yet the film may be adding a major cast member to its mix. Meryl Streep is in final negotiations to join the period film, portraying political activist Emmeline Pankhurst. The film focuses on the early foot soldiers of the feminist movement in Great Britain, and has already enlisted a top tier cast including Academy Award nominees Carey Mulligan (Inside Llewyn Davis, An Education) and Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech.) Sarah Gavron is directing the feature from a script by BAFTA and Emmy Award winner Abi Morgan, who incidentally also wrote the screenplay for The Iron Lady, which earned Streep her third Academy Award.
The ever-prolific Streep, who is currently enjoying her 18th Oscar nomination (the most for any actor– by a long stretch) for her acclaimed work in August: Osage County, would join Suffragette with a slew of other titles making their way to theaters in the next year. She is set to star in the drama The Homesman, starring and directed by her Hope Springs co-star Tommy Lee Jones, along with Hilary Swank, Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and her own daughter Grace Gummer (Frances Ha.) Streep has also joined the cast of the sci/fi feature The Giver, directed by Phillip Noyce (The Quiet American) and starring Alexander Skarsgaard (True Blood) and, most curiously, Taylor Swift. Then there’s Into the Woods, Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical in which Streep will once again showcase her singing abilities in the iconic role of the Witch.
If she were to join Suffragette, it appears it would be a small role – Pankhurst was the leader of the British suffragette movement in the early 1900s, but the film’s narrative will focus its attention elsewhere – but certainly given the stature of the actress signing on, a significant role. Ruby Films and Pathé are partnering the produce the period drama. There is no word yet on U.S. distribution or possible release dates at this time.