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Meryl Streep and the stars of ‘Suffragette’ on feminism, family and fame

‘I'd rather be a rebel than a slave.’ So said Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the suffragettes. We talked to the stars of the first film about those women's extraordinary bravery, ‘Suffragette’

© Mary Rozzi

What do you think of when you think of suffragettes? Genteel ladies wearing sashes and big hats, marching arm-in-arm? A new film, ‘Suffragette’, out on October 12, will change that cosy impression for ever. It’s a hundred years since the suffragettes fought to get women the vote, but unbelievably this is the first film about their bitter struggle. After years of being ignored by the government, humiliated and demeaned, in 1909 they got militant: smashing windows and blowing up postboxes.

‘Suffragette’ is an important film: tough and shocking. Written by Abi Morgan (‘The Iron Lady’) and directed by Sarah Gavron (‘Brick Lane’), this is the story of ordinary working-class women. Carey Mulligan is Maud, a Bethnal Green laundress whose eyes are opened to the movement by her workmate Violet (Anne-Marie Duff). Romola Garai is their boss’s suffragette wife. Meryl Streep appears as the formidable Emmeline Pankhurst, rallying her troops from a London balcony.

Mrs P’s speech ends: ‘I’d rather be a rebel than a slave’. That idea of finding your voice, keeping your nerve and fighting the impulse to be a ‘good girl’ is a powerful one in the film. It’s perfect, then, for our photoshoot with Mulligan, Streep, Garai and Duff, four women who tell us why the fight for equality still isn’t over and why the suffragettes were ‘bad-ass’ feminists.

Read interviews with the stars of ‘Suffragette’

Meryl Streep on feminism, family and playing Pankhurst in ‘Suffragette’
Film

Meryl Streep on feminism, family and playing Pankhurst in ‘Suffragette’

Meryl Streep stars as Emmeline Pankhurst in the new film 'Suffragette'. Here she talks feminism, Hollywood sexism and window-smashing

Carey Mulligan on being a bad-ass feminist and starring in ‘Suffragette’
Film

Carey Mulligan on being a bad-ass feminist and starring in ‘Suffragette’

Carey Mulligan stars as working-class Maud swept up in the feminist movement in ‘Suffragette’. Here she talks sexism, being nice and having no regrets in life

Anne-Marie Duff on life mottos, Lena Dunham and starring in ‘Suffragette’
Film

Anne-Marie Duff on life mottos, Lena Dunham and starring in ‘Suffragette’

Anne-Marie Duff stars as Violet, a working-class member of the feminist movement. Here she talks about fighting and feeling brave

Romola Garai on window-smashing, passion and starring in ‘Suffragette’
Film

Romola Garai on window-smashing, passion and starring in ‘Suffragette’

Romola Garai stars as a member of the feminist movement in forthcoming film ‘Suffragette’. Here she talks George Osborne, fear and fighting sexism

Read more on ‘Suffragette’

Suffragette
Film

Suffragette

Nearly 100 years after smashing shop windows and blowing up letterboxes, the British suffragettes finally get a film they deserve

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars

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