Dame Helen Mirren greets me enthusiastically on the phone from New York City after a day of promotion for her latest thriller, The Good Liar, in anticipation of digitally featuring as Flaunt’s first Annual Icon. I’m over 3000 miles away in Manchester, England. The first thing Mirren wants to talk about is not her current film, nor her other high-profile role in HBO’s Catherine the Great which is currently airing, but Manchester—the city where she arrived as a young actress in 1965. Mirren eventually returned to the city 26-years-later for her life-changing, BAFTA and Emmy winning performance as Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect. “I owe Manchester a great deal,” Mirren says fondly. “I had my very first professional job in Manchester and of course Prime Suspect came out of Manchester and it was filmed there too. I hold it very close to my heart.”
For a time in the late 1960s, Manchester was a home-away-from-home for Mirren as she appeared in several Braham Murray-directed plays at the city’s Century Theatre. Her initial route in came via the UK’s Youth Theatre scheme where those without the means to afford astronomical drama school fees were supported into a career in the arts via a vocational route. “I was dying to go to RADA but I couldn’t,” Mirren says, sadly. Yet her talents were quickly spotted: months later she was hired by the Royal Shakespeare Company where she soon became one of the company’s most acclaimed actors. Eventually, Mirren appeared on prime-time British television where her gritty portrayal of the ambitious Tennison—one of the first female detective chief inspectors of the metropolitan police—changed her career forever: it changed the face of women on screen forever too.
LONDON — In 2001, Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren were rehearsing a production of August Strindberg’s “The Dance of Death” at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City. A week before the previews opened, the events of Sept. 11 shook the city and its inhabitants to the core. But the play continued on.
“We opened the next week, at a time when you couldn’t move off Manhattan,” says McKellen, sitting with Mirren in the basement room of a restaurant in Hackney where the pair filmed a scene for their new movie “The Good Liar” last fall. “All the bridges were closed. It was extraordinary. You couldn’t move off, you couldn’t come in. Manhattan was a world by itself.”
“And it was an amazing time to be there,” Mirren jumps in. “I’m so honored I was there at that time, honestly. It was so moving and impressive. I thought the New Yorkers were incredible. They just got on it with it in the most amazing way.”
“You might have thought this was a play they would have avoided, but no,” McKellen continues. “We were the latest play on and the locals, having seen all the old hits years ago, came. Those other theaters were empty because the tourists couldn’t come. You could walk into ‘The Producers’ to see Nathan Lane, but you couldn’t get a ticket to see us because it was the locals. They had the blitz spirit. They were going to go on and go to the theater in New York. And we became the center of that need.”
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The gallery has been updated to complete screencaptures of Helen Mirren from “Catherine the Great”. Last two episodes have been added, take a look and enjoy!
The gallery has been updated with a few HQ scans promoting “Catherine The Great” and “The Good Liar” with Helen Mirren. Take a look and enjoy!
I added to the video archive a few videos related to “Catherine The Great”, promos and interviews with Helen Mirren. Take a look and enjoy!