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'The Iron Lady' Sneaks In For Oscar Qualification With December 30th Limited Release, While Star Alexandra Roach Joins 'Girls Night Out'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist November 7, 2011 at 9:04AM

Now that latecomers like "Hugo," "Young Adult," "J. Edgar" and "War Horse" have started screening for the press, there's only a handful of Oscar hopefuls that remain unknown quantities. Along with Angelina Jolie's directorial debut "In The Land of Blood and Honey," which won't hit theaters until Christmas, the most high-profile is "The Iron Lady," the biopic of legendary British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which reteams Meryl Streep and her "Mamma Mia" director Phyllida Lloyd. Acquired by The Weinstein Company during Cannes, the film's raised eyebrows by skipping the festival circuit entirely, in part, we're told, because Lloyd went back to make tweaks to the film at the last minute.
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Iron Lady Alex Roach Girls Night Out

Now that latecomers like "Hugo," "Young Adult," "J. Edgar" and "War Horse" have started screening for the press, there's only a handful of Oscar hopefuls that remain unknown quantities. Along with Angelina Jolie's directorial debut "In The Land of Blood and Honey," which won't hit theaters until Christmas, the most high-profile is "The Iron Lady," the biopic of legendary British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which reteams Meryl Streep and her "Mamma Mia" director Phyllida Lloyd. Acquired by The Weinstein Company during Cannes, the film's raised eyebrows by skipping the festival circuit entirely, in part, we're told, because Lloyd went back to make tweaks to the film at the last minute.

The film is now finished, having received an MPAA rating last week (PG-13, in case you were wondering), but it looks like Harvey & Bob are going to keep it as a late-breaking surprise. Previously set to open on December 16th, the film has been moved back to virtually the last possible minute, with the company tweeting last night that it'll now go into limited release on December 30th, with exclusive runs in New York and LA, before expanding wider on January 13th. This means (although it was never really in doubt) that the film will qualify for the Academy Awards.er 31st deadline for an LA run to begin.

It's unclear what the strategy at play here is. It could be that the Weinsteins are giving it some space from their other big Academy-baiting openers, "My Week With Marilyn" and "The Artist," or that it could be that they're hoping to make it a last minute surprise entrant in the race. Alternatively, it could be, as we've heard from more than one source, that the film is problematic, and doesn't hold much Oscar hopes bar what's generally seen to be a home-run nomination for Streep (although Deadline say that the film has tested to record numbers). With the release still over six weeks away, we're not going to find out imminently, but hopefully we'll at least get a trailer soon, and we imagine it'll start to screen for critics by the beginning of December.

Regardless of the film's quality, someone who's getting a big boost from the project is Alexandra Roach, who plays the younger version of Thatcher in the project (as seen above). The star, who only graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art last year, was almost immediately snapped up to play Mrs. T, and has followed it up with work in a number of small British movies, including Iain Softley's "Trap for Cinderella," and Pat O'Connor's "Private Peaceful."

An interview with the 24-year-old rising star in The Guardian reveals that she's only got bigger things on the way: she'll play Countess Nordston in Joe Wright's new version of "Anna Karenina," and, more significantly, she's joining Dakota Fanning in "Girls' Night Out," a post-"King's Speech" romantic comedy from "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" director Michael Hoffman. The script, which made last year's Brit List, follows the young Princess Elizabeth (soon to become the current Queen), and Princess Margaret who sneak out of Buckingham Palace to celebrate with the people on V.E. Day. Roach will play Elizabeth, with the previously-announced Dakota Fanning on board as Margaret. The Guardian doesn't say exactly when it'll be shooting, but we imagine, as it's described as Roach's next job, that it'll get underway early next year.

This article is related to: The Iron Lady, Alexandra Roach, Meryl Streep


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