Streep is transformed into the divisive politician who reshaped Britain in "The Iron Lady," which has its European premiere in London on Wednesday, just across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament.
"It was extremely daunting, because I’m from New Jersey," Streep said in an interview ahead of the red-carpet event. "And yet as an outsider, I felt something of what she might have felt."
Streep, who won Academy Awards for "Kramer Vs. Kramer" and "Sophie’s Choice," said her youthful experience as one of a handful of women at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire helped her understand Thatcher’s isolation. In 1970, Streep spent a term as an exchange student at the men-only college, which became coeducational in 1972.