Helen Mirren stars in The Hundred-Foot Journey, out now on DVD and Blu-Ray. Here’s what she told us about the film – and working with Oprah Winfrey!
Tell us about your character, Madame Mallory
Madame Mallory is a big fish in a small pond. She runs a very successful restaurant in a small village in a country which takes food incredibly seriously. And she has one Michelin star. The restaurant is her whole life…it’s all she really has. She’s single minded, professional and committed to the culture of French food and history.
How was it working with the young actors in the cast?
I always find inspiration from the actors with whom I’m working, and the younger and less experienced they are, the more I find them inspirational. There’s a freshness of attitude, an openness and a freedom that I always find encouraging.
Explain the importance of food in the film
Food is such an incredible indicator of culture, history, the movement of people and the immigration of people. And in this story, food is one of the main reasons a feud between the two restaurants begins, a feud which rapidly escalates into a civilized war of sorts. Kitchens and restaurants are very passionate places because people feel very passionately about the food they cook – especially in France.
What was it like having Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake as producers?
First off, let’s talk about Steven Spielberg. We were all a bit nervous because you know he’s watching dailies, but then you get a good response back from one of the great masters of cinema and you know you’re in good hands. If he did have notes, they always came from a point of great knowledge and great understanding, which provided us with a great sense of security. Then there’s Oprah Winfrey with her great sensitivity and understanding of women, and she has an instinctive, wonderful understanding of people in general. Just to have that life force around is a great experience. And then, of course, Juliet Blake, who found the material, optioned it and had faith in it. She is the mother of the project really. It was her belief in it that brought us all here.
What do you hope audiences take away from the film?
Movies about food should be visceral and beautiful, and I want the audience to come out and go to a French or Indian restaurant. The other thing I hope this film does is show this incredible, beautiful part of France to the world. I want people to be blown away by its beauty and want to come and visit this part of the world. The movie should be a beautiful, delicious, funny experience.
The Hundred-Foot Journey is available now on Blu-Ray & DVD