The revered Hollywood veteran, who has won three Academy Awards and received a further 16 nominations, takes on the role of famed women's rights campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst in the film.

Her character only makes a brief appearance in the drama, but Meryl confesses she struggled with a scene in which she addresses campaigners from a balcony, because the cast had not rehearsed.

"There was a real buzz because we didn't rehearse it and there was a big crowd of actors," Meryl tells U.K. talk show host Graham Norton. "I was really nervous as it was my only thing in the movie and I kept forgetting my lines, but it was really exciting and they were very forgiving."

Meryl, who won the 2012 best actress Oscar for her role as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, also admits she jumped at the chance to portray another important historical figure when she was offered the role of Emmeline, who led the campaign for British women to be given the right to vote.

"It's historic and it's the first civil rights film about women," Meryl adds. "This is all such recent history if you think about it. My grandmother had had three children before she was allowed to vote and I remember her telling me how annoyed she was. Not that she couldn't vote for the president, but that she couldn't vote for the school board."