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Meryl Streep 'lined up to play Baroness Thatcher'

Hollywood star Meryl Streep is in discussions to play Baroness Thatcher in a new film, it was confirmed today.

The star could take the lead in a biopic of the long-serving former prime minister which is being made by Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd.

The film is based on a script by Abi Morgan, whose previous screenwriting has included Sex Traffic and Brick Lane.

Movie companies Pathe and Film4, which will co-finance the production, confirmed Streep's involvement was under discussion.

In a joint statement, they said: "We can confirm that Meryl Streep has expressed interest in playing the role of Margaret Thatcher.

"Discussions are under way with her representatives, but no agreement is in place. The film is scheduled to shoot at the end of the year."

The film is to be produced by Damian Jones, whose previous credits have included the Ian Dury film Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and The History Boys.

Tessa Ross, controller of film and drama for Channel 4, said: "Film4 is delighted to be working with Abi Morgan and Phyllida Lloyd on such an exciting project."

Other real-life figures played by Streep in previous movies have included chef Julia Child in Julie And Julia.