Helen Mirren is a woman of many monikers. There’s “dame,” of course, which she was officially named by Queen Elizabeth II 15 years ago, for an acting career that has spanned more than five decades, starting with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the late 1960s.
There’s “Oscar winner.” That happened in 2007 for playing Queen Elizabeth in The Queen. (Don’t forget: She has a Tony, an Olivier, and several Emmys too.)
There’s also “sexpot,” a sobriquet that refers back to early, occasionally barely clothed performances in movies like Caligula (1979) and Age of Consent (1969) and still trails Mirren today, at the spry age of 73.
And many would consider her something of a no-nonsense ballbuster. There were her many seasons as the tough-as-nails detective chief inspector on Prime Suspect, way before A-list actors doing television was supercool. She continues on that tough-as-nails path this month as the villain in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, a Disney fantasy film based on an E.T.A. Hoffmann story. And for more evidence, there’s a recently resurfaced clip that racked up 13 million views on Facebook in which Mirren cut down a sexist British talk-show host for calling into question whether her physical attributes got in the way of her acting talents. This was in 1975. Talk about a nutcracker.
But here’s a description of Oscar-winning sexpot Dame Helen Mirren you probably didn’t imagine you’d ever hear: “scaredy-cat.” And it’s actually Mirren’s own.
“I consider myself a scaredy cat,” she says. This during a moment of unpacking in the Lake Tahoe home she and her husband, filmmaker Taylor Hackford, just moved into as a break from “the intensity of Los Angeles life.”
Read the whole article/interview in our press library.