David Cameron: Thatcher film 'made too soon'

Meryl Streep as Baroness Thatcher The film focuses on Baroness Thatcher in old age with flashbacks to her time in office

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David Cameron has said he wishes the film The Iron Lady - about Baroness Thatcher - had been made "another day".

The prime minister said the portrayal of his predecessor by Meryl Streep was "a fantastic piece of acting", but questioned the timing of the film.

He told the BBC it was "more about ageing and elements of dementia rather than about an amazing prime minister".

Former Conservative minister Lord Hurd has called the film "ghoulish", but its director has defended her work.

The film is set in the present - when the former prime minister is portrayed as mentally and physically frail - but contains flashbacks to her days in office.

'Staggering acting'

Asked about it on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Cameron said: "It's a fantastic piece of acting by Meryl Streep, but you can't help wondering, why do we have to have this film right now.

"It is a film much more about ageing and elements of dementia rather than about an amazing prime minister.

"My sense was a great piece of acting, a staggering piece of acting, but a film I wish they could have made another day."

The PM is one of a number of senior Conservatives and former colleagues of Baroness Thatcher who have criticised the film.

Former foreign secretary Lord Hurd called it "ghoulish", while former party chairman Lord Tebbit said the prime minister he had known was never the "half-hysterical, over-emotional" woman portrayed by Streep.

But director Phyllida Lloyd told the Evening Standard: "We all felt that a portrait of somebody who is experiencing a failure of strength and health and forgetfulness is not a shameful thing to put on the screen."

Mr Cameron was also asked who could play him in a Hollywood film.

At the suggestion of actor Michael Sheen - who has portrayed Tony Blair on several occasions - Mr Cameron said: "He can play everybody.

"I thought his portrayal of Blair was fantastic."

But on his own potential appearance on the big screen, the PM added: "I'm sure the movie will never be made."

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