Alexandra Roach and "The Iron Lady" director Phyllida Loyd
Starpix Alexandra Roach and "The Iron Lady" director Phyllida Loyd

Newcomer Alexandra Roach had big shoes to fill for her feature film debut. In "The Iron Lady," the Welsh actress portrays Margaret Thatcher in her younger years, before the divisive, pearl-loving figure became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (and Meryl Streep). Talk about pressure.

"When I was cast, I thought this would be intimidating with Meryl Streep attached," Roach said at the New York premiere of the Weinstein release on December 13. "But all that disappeared as soon as I met Meryl. She's so open, kind and encouraging. She would watch me on set, but she was so calming. She'd just give me a wink every now then, a little thumbs up."

Asked whether she sympathized with Thatcher, Roach said, "I’m an actress so I wanted to play her as truthfully and as fully as possible. I was definitely not judging her. We don’t agree on a lot of things, but when I was filming at the Houses of Parliament and I had all these older men around me in dark suits, it kind of struck me what she did for women, what she did as a woman. She came from a humble background. To come from that and have ambition and drive, just knowing what she wanted out of life, you cant help but admire that."

Roach next apprears in Joe Wright's anticpated adaptation of "Anna Karenina" starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law.

The same night "Iron Lady" premiered at the Ziegfeld, Glenn Close's passion project "Albert Nobbs" screened nearby at a glam event hosted by the Cinema Society and Giorgio Armani. Below find pictures from the dueling premieres.

iPOP: December 10-16, 2011

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    'Albert Nobbs' Screens in NYC

    "Albert Nobbs" stars Mia Wasikowska (left) and Glenn Close (right) joined their director Rodrigo Garcia (center) Dec. 13 at a special screening of the Roadside Attractions release. The night, hosted by The Cinema Society & Giorgio Armani, with Sandra Brant & Ingrid Sischy, kicked off at MoMA with the film and was followed by a party at Armani Ristorante nearby, where Grey Goose flowed like water. Among the guests that night: Sinéad O’Connor, Sandra Brant & Ingrid Sischy, Viola Davis, Rose Byrne, Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Olsen, Taraji P. Henson, John Leguizamo, Angela Bassett, Daniel Radcliffe, Gabourey Sidibe, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Courtney Love, Parker Posey, Mary Beth Hurt, Tony Danza, Alan Alda, Cillian Murphy, Zoe Kravitz, Bruce Weber, Gina Gershon, Padma Lakshmi, Paul Haggis, Joel Schumacher, Cary Fukunaga, Lance Bass, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Corey Stol. [Photo by Nick Hunt/PatrickMcMullan]
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    Anne Hathaway and Patricia Clarkson Gab at 'Iron Lady'

    Anne Hathaway caught up with Patricia Clarkson at Forty Four in NYC for the after-party at the NY premiere of "The Iron Lady" on December 13. Whatever they were talking about, it sure looks interesting. [Photo by Marion Curtis/Stapix]
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    Stranger Than Fiction Welcomes 'Battle for Brooklyn'

    "Battle for Brooklyn" co-director Michael Gallinsky at the IFC Center's Stranger Than Fiction documentary series' Dec. 13th screening of his film. The documentary tracks the story of activist Daniel Goldstien who struggled to save his home and community from being demolished to make way to a basketball arena. Gallinsky was joined by his co-director Suki Hawley for a Q&A following the screening.
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    'The Iron Lady' Storms NYC

    Meryl Streep was joined by her husband, Don Gummer, Dec. 13, at the New York premiere of "The Iron Lady." The Weinstein Company Oscar-hopeful screened at the Ziegfeld Theater with Sofia Coppola, Edie Falco, Olivia Wilde, Patricia Clarkson, Anne Hathaway and Ellen Barkin all in attendance. Streep, along with the film's cast and crew, headed over to Forty Four at Royalton nearby following the film to party the night away. Veuve Cliquot and Salvatore Ferragamo sponsored the event. [Photo: Marion Curtis/Starpix]