Ahead of receivinf the SAG Life Achievement Award for her work, Helen Mirren talks to In Style and looks back on her 50-year career. “When you’re young, you don’t think about where you’ll be in your 70s. You can’t imagine it, really. You just go from day to day, month to month, year to year. But I was obsessive and completely one-dimensional about the fact that all I wanted to do was act. I didn’t want to get married; my private life was completely secondary to my professional life. There was never any question in my mind about that. I remember thinking it must be so incredible to have a script, go to the park, and learn your lines. That was my fantasy of being an actress — how unbelievable it would be if somebody employed me to learn lines. Of course, I eventually did have a script under my arm. And now I hate learning lines. [laughs]”
In the last 10 to 15 years, I’ve found I have a certain power [in choosing my roles]. The British TV show Prime Suspect started me on that trajectory, and I’ve produced some of the projects I’ve worked on since. But I much prefer when someone thinks of me for a part. I don’t like generating stuff for myself — the most fun roles are the ones that come out of left field. I also go back to do theater work every few years. That’s what keeps you on your toes, and I like to shake things up. I never want to be stuck.
The complete essay can be read over at the In Style website.