April 8, 2022

Helen Mirren, filmdom’s perennial majesty, arrived at Andrew Saffir’s exclusive movie preview. She plays queens. He does screenings. She’s in Sony Pictures Classics’ newie “The Duke.” His Cinema Society showed it at the Tribeca screening room.

“We were unbelievably lucky,” she told me. “We shot this movie in England. It’s where the film takes place. Happens we were absolutely done, over, completely all finished, exactly two weeks before what then became a two-year lockdown in England.

“After that, like everyone else, I was locked at home. During the pandemic, it was first time since 1984 my husband and I stayed home. Alone. Just we two. Not one or another of us off doing something. Anything. We just had a normal home life. Wonderful. For once we lived like everyday other people. We stayed home, we made dinners and we improved our Italian lessons because we have a house in Italy.

“This movie ‘The Duke’ is a 1961 true story. It’s about a 60-year-old Brit taxi driver who stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington in London’s National Gallery in London.”

Helen Mirren arrived exactly 7 p.m. sharp. Hair, each strand perfect. Makeup exact. High heels. She looked stunning. Dress Carolina Herrera, cape Valentino. She wore it all just long enough to put it back on a hanger and return next day.

Said the rogue’s real grandson Christopher: “My screenplay was optioned. It was a famous heist. People purchased the rights and the story’s surreal. It’s like coming from humble beginnings, like from poverty, then seeing this whole famous heist story unfold.”