Gillian Anderson has long split her time between her native America and her adopted England, even going so far as to switch to a fetching British accent when across the pond. Now she’s about to become even more officially English: As per Entertainment Weekly, the X-Files alum will be joining the cast of The Crown, playing no less a historical figure than the much-dreaded former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Anderson — who spent part of her childhood in London before her family relocated to Michigan for her teens — will join the cast for its fourth season, although its third has yet to air. The Netflix staple follows the Royal Family, particularly Queen Elizabeth, who was portrayed in her youth by Claire Foy and, in the third and fourth seasons, by recent Oscar-winner and award season joy magnet Olivia Colman.
The Favourite and Peep Show scene-stealer will be joined by Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. When Anderson enters the picture, she’ll take on a younger Thatcher, presumably before she made England better for the rich but worse for the working class.
The life of the controversial PM — whose reign partially coincided with that of Ronald Reagan, and who was policies were likewise roundly condemned by progressives — was previously covered in 2011’s The Iron Lady, in which she was played in her youth by Alexandra Roach. Meryl Streep won her third Academy Award as the elder Margaret; also feted was the team that did her ghoulishly transformative make-up.
News of the former (and hopefully future) Dana Scully playing one of England’s most divisive public figures was met with conflicting emotions, to put it mildly. People were simply unsure how to feel about one of television’s most iconic and dashing stars portraying a woman for whom no one but Tories and far-right types hold any affection.
So many conflicting emotions https://t.co/tJJPdoejG2
— Ali Plumb (@AliPlumb) September 7, 2019
before this starts
you know my love for gillian anderson, i support everything this woman does and the crown is no different.
i do NOT like thatcher, but i do love gillian and everything i say/ every thatcher joke i make is no disrespect to her. she gonna act the shit outta this
— m. (@NlCOLEKlDMANS) September 7, 2019
DON’T MAKE ME FANCY THATCHER https://t.co/4Smek9sZDE
— Mitch Benn 🇬🇧🇪🇺 (@MitchBenn) September 7, 2019
Very much looking forward to being able to use the line "I haven't felt this sexually conflicted since they cast Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown".
— Róisín Caird (@roisincaird) September 7, 2019
I don't want to lower the tone, but Gillian Anderson playing Margaret Thatcher looks like being my most challenging wank yet.
— Russ (@RussInCheshire) September 7, 2019
Some were not conflicted at all, but rather entirely unamused.
Gillian Anderson playing Thatcher is like Tom Hanks playing Hitler! Sure, they would do a great job, but it just feels wrong!!
— Welshguy78 (@Welshguy_78) September 7, 2019
Feels like we don’t really need anyone falling in love with Margaret Thatcher at the moment, but okay! https://t.co/xtp4JdNSPq
— Jackson McHenry (@McHenryJD) September 7, 2019
Others simply enjoyed watching the drama unfold from afar.
Watching straight dudes and lesbians ponder how the shit they’re ever going to knock out a successful wank to Gillian Anderson when she’s playing a literal fucking monster is my new favourite kind of Twitter.
— 🏳️🌈 Max 🏳️🌈 (@SpillerOfTea) September 7, 2019