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Meryl Streep to Play Suffragette Leader Emmilene Pankhurst

Meryl Streep will play British political activist Emmeline Pankhurst in historical drama “Suffragette” opposite Carey Mulligan.

The project is backed by Pathe, Film4 and the BFI film Fund. Producers are Ruby’s Faye Ward and Alison Owen; Pathe’s Cameron McCracken and Film4’s Tessa Ross and Katherine Butler are exec producing.

Pathe will distribute in the UK and France and is handling international sales. Filming starts Feb. 24 in the U.K.

Sarah Gavron is directing from a script by Abi Morgan about the early days of the women’s suffrage movement in the U.K., centering around the foot soldiers who were forced underground. Morgan wrote “The Iron Lady,” for which Steep won an Oscar two years ago.

Helena Bonham Carter, Romola Garai , Anne-Marie Duff and Samuel West also star.

Pankhurst founded the Women’s Franchise League and the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Streep received her 18th Oscar nomination last month for “August: Osage County.”

The news was first reported by Screen.

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