She speaks out against political censorship.
She was born in London, grew up in Southend, a dreary town by the sea, she claims she was educated at St Bernard’s Convent in Westcliff-on-Sea and then trained to be a teacher for three years. “That was a terrible mistake and then I became an actress,” Helen Mirren remembers. Mirren is the blonde actress who got fine reviews for her work as the intelligent sexy gun moll in the British gangster film “The Long Good Friday.” But she’s been around for awhile. She portrayed Caligula’s wife, Caesonia, in the controversial “Caligula,” Titania in PBS’ “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and has appeared in other films and on stage. Recently having returned from a trip to Hollywood, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, she commented on the hundreds of roles that she has turned down. Why? “For one reason or another,” was the only explanation she would give. Maybe it’s being British at a time when her homeland is involved in an international crisis? “I don’t know anything. I’ve been in Los Angeles since the hosuliues started and the only thing you hear out there is what Robert Redford had for dinner last night.
But England has been at war for the last 10 years in Northern Ireland, so it’s nothing new. I just think it’s stupid that they allowed themselves to be put in this situation. They bungled the whole thing.” Politics, however, creep into everything her newest film, and possibly its distribution, included. The film, financed by Lew Grade, deals with the London underworld in the 1980s. It could be considered controversial in some sections. There is police corruption, government corruption, the English mob, the American mob and the IRA all rolled neatly Into a tight violent suspenseful and often comic film about today’s criminal elements. Grade for one reason or another decided not to release the film after Its completion. “Either for economic or political reasons no one retlly knows why,” Mirren says. “It was a personal decision. He only agreed to release it if it was bought outright from him. If he refused to release it for political reasons, since it does criticize the establishment that Lew Grade is a part of, it’i horrid But one can see his point If you’ve fought your way up from the streets of London as Lord Grade has you don’t want your world criticized.
They take these things very personally in England. Political censorship is unforgiveable. I can’t make my mind up about” she added. “Some of what they give you is base. Some films give you really horrible, horrible stuff just so you can get your rocks off. Bob Guccione (“Caligula”) hated censorship. In dismantling it he set up his own form a censorship against spiritual values, sensitivity, or privacy of the human soul, spirit body.” The curvaceous, British is actually half Russian.” Which half? “Methinks the bottom part”, the Shakespearean (“I’m not a Shakespearean actress, I’m an actress who occasionally does Shakespeare.”) actress, who has been referred to as the thinking man’s sex symbol, appears to have it all looks opinions, a sense of humor and talent.