Dame Helen Mirren was on hand at yesterday’s BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, and has said she was “scared” and “frightened” by her new role as Catherine the Great, according to The Independent. The actress – who stars as the titular Russian queen in the Sky Atlantic drama – described the show’s creator’s decision to write the part for her as a “terrible mistake”. Speaking at the festival, the veteran actress explained that a pair of producers she had previously worked with had read an interview in which she had mentioned wanting to play the powerful monarch. She said: “I made the mistake when I was doing an interview and someone said, ‘what would you like to do next?’ Maybe it was after Elizabeth. “I said, ‘Well, I’d quite like to play Catherine the Great, actually. That would be an interesting character’. “People heard that, producers David Thompson, who was involved in Elizabeth, and Charlie Pattinson – and they went off and raised the money. “It’s really bad. I was, ‘oh no, that’s a terrible mistake’. But then I was committed. I couldn’t wriggle out of it.” Dame Helen, who also starred as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, said being responsible for kick-starting such a vast project had worried her. “I think I was nervous. I think was frightened,” she said. “I don’t know why but I was. You set yourself up to fall flat on your face. I’ve always been very wary of saying ‘I’d like to do this’, because it is a recipe for disaster. “It’s better to allow things to come randomly and brilliantly.” The Oscar-winner’s induction into the Radio Times hall of fame closed three days of panel discussions and talks at the festival. Dame Helen also defended Catherine the Great against claims of promiscuity and that she had had sex with a horse. She said: “That was calumny thrown at her by history because history doesn’t like very successful, very powerful women. “They have to drag them down and history tried to drag Catherine down. I hope we are going to reinstate her reputation as the incredible leader that she was. “I’m not saying she didn’t have her faults. She made mistakes and finished up quite tyrannical but she was originally a reformer and a Westerniser, if you like, of this vast, vast country.” Catherine the Great is set to air on Sky Atlantic this autumn.
Helen Mirren and Bill Condon were on hand at the Las Vegas CinemaCon on Monday to attend the Warner Bros. Pictures panel to promote the upcoming release of Condon’s thriller “The Good Liar”. Helen’s interview for the film was clickbait-worthy when she shared her opinion on Netflix, so in case you’re wondering what the “Helen Mirren disses Netflix” is all about, here’s Vanity Fair‘s summary: Helen Mirren has a love-hate relationship with Netflix. How do we know this? Because at a presentation for her new film at CinemaCon on Tuesday, the actress had this to say: “I love Netflix, but fuck Netflix.” The dame, according to Variety, received “thunderous applause” for her comment. (After all, she was attending a convention for studios and theater owners.) Mirren was on hand to help Warner Bros. introduce her upcoming film The Good Liar, a thriller co-starring Ian McKellen. She also expanded on her “Fuck Netflix” mindset, praising the glory of going to the movies in a traditional theater: “There is nothing like sitting in the cinema,” she added, per Variety. Pictures from the event have been added to the photo gallery.
Earlier this week, Helen Mirren was among the celebrity guests at the Bolshoi Theatre where stars gathered to celebrate the achievements of talented musicians for the BraVo Classical Music Awards. The awards ceremony brings together the best of the industry with classical performers from across the world competing for the top honour each year. They are joined by a flurry of stars such as Mirren, John Travolta and Michael Bolton, along with media executives and ambassadors for the special occasion. Pictures from the rehearsals, a celebratory dinner and the ceremony have been added to the photo gallery.
The day after the Academy Awards, Helen Mirren was a guest at the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center in New York to talk about “Woman in Gold” and the story behind the film. Reality became a perfect film plot: A stunning Gustav Klimt portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, a Jewish society woman in Vienna in the early 20th century, was stolen by the Nazis in Austria in 1941. Six decades later, declaring that theft irrelevant, the Austrian government refused to return the painting to the woman’s niece. But the 81-year-old, who’d fled Vienna during the Holocaust, refused to be a victim again and fought back… all the way to the US Supreme Court. Helen Mirren, who received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for playing Maria Altman, discussed the ironic transformation of the portrait of a Jewish woman into an Austrian national treasure, her niece’s long legal battle and the importance of pursuing truth. Pictures from the conversation have been added to the photo gallery.