May 24
2021

Solos, Amazon’s newly launched sci-fi series, is unlike anything else on the small screen. Creator David Weil’s vision of the future unfolds via episodes that focus and feature a single performer. Familiar faces like Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Anthony Mackie, and Constance Wu monologue through stylized sequences that combine to form an overarching narrative. While we’re used to seeing actors command the stage by themselves on Broadway, most television shows and films rely on a cast of characters. This stripped-down version of storytelling offers a new level of intimacy for audiences, but it’s just as exciting for the performers. “Anything that shakes up the format is interesting, isn’t it?” shared Mirren via Zoom. “At first, I thought, oh, it’s a monologue, it’s just too much work. I don’t know if I’ll be good enough, but then I read the script, and I thought, this is such a beautiful piece of writing. There’s such sensibility and understanding of a certain sort of woman, one who is very recognizable.” It’s hard to imagine an acting scenario where Mirren wouldn’t be up to snuff. As one of cinema’s most versatile stars, she’s played everyone from Catherine the Great to a trained assassin with skill. Still, her Solo character, Peg, feels like a departure. Self-doubting and shy, she’s spent her life apologizing for existing, but when an opportunity to see the galaxy comes around, Peg decides to take a chance. Surprisingly, Mirren saw a bit of herself in the role. “When I read it, I thought, this is my apologetic, British side, and it drives my husband crazy because he’s American and doesn’t understand it at all,” she says. “I identified with Peg. That part of me is why I became an actor. Many actors are extremely shy people who can’t deal with the real world, but the way they [manage] is through performance. It gives them a portal through which they can engage.” The complete article can be read over at Vogue.