February 10, 2019

Few people could introduce a fake documentary called “Bats— Valley” with a straight face. But if there’s anyone for the job, it’s Dame Helen Mirren.

Clad in a shin-length orange dress, Mirren, studio host of the parody series “Documentary Now!,” stood resolute at her mark and took a lengthy pause before delivering the introductory line, “This is ‘Bats— Valley,’” deadpan to camera — only allowing herself a brief chuckle when the director called “cut!”

“It was a little long, but I wanted it to be frightfully serious,” Mirren said, explaining why she delayed the final expletive.

“Bats— Valley” was just one of multiple mockumentaries for which Mirren filmed intros on a hot August day at Walt Disney Studios. Reading from a teleprompter, the seasoned actress knocked each one out back-to-back, only pausing every so often to clear her strained throat (ADR work earlier that day required “a bit of shouting”). The final product will be featured at the beginning of episodes throughout the third season of Bill Hader and Fred Armisen’s “Documentary Now!”

Read the whole article/interview in our archive.


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