Helen Mirren is on the move.
It’s late September, and the 74-year-old actress is calling from a train station business lounge in London, where she’s about to board the Eurostar to Paris. The night before, she arrived at the U.K. red carpet premiere of her miniseries Catherine the Great carried by appropriately regal footmen. Now she’s headed to France, where she’ll walk the runway (barefoot) at L’Oreal Paris’ 2019 fashion show. Just a few days prior, she was busy on the set of Fast & Furious 9, reprising her role as an elegant underworld mastermind, and she can next be seen in The Good Liar (in theaters Nov. 15), a twisty thriller about an unassuming widow (Mirren) taken in by a charming grifter (Ian McKellen).
In other words, the Oscar winner is having a busy fall.
For EW’s Fall Movie Preview issue, we caught up with Mirren to talk about The Good Liar, manservants, beauty, and the art of deceit — at least until her train departs.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This movie takes multiple twists and turns. What about it hooked you?
HELEN MIRREN: It was a combination of my costar Ian McKellen and of course the director, Bill Condon. It’s a very interesting script, a wonderful, twisty thriller that I thought would be fun to do. It’s nice to do a film about old people that’s not about Alzheimer’s or cancer, if you know what I mean. [Laughs]
You and Ian McKellen have starred together on Broadway, but this is your first film together, which surprised me.
It is kind of surprising. I missed the whole Lord of the Rings thing, so it’s great to be in a real chunky, proper movie together.
Helen Mirren (HBO’s Elizabeth I, The Queen) is no stranger to playing powerful female rulers operating in the world of men. Her latest endeavor, Catherine the Great, is no different as she brings the story of the extraordinary 18th century Russian Empress to life in the upcoming HBO limited series.
At the New Yorker festival screening of the first episode, Mirren was joined by co-star Jason Clarke (Chappaquiddick, Zero Dark Thirty), who plays Catherine’s military leader and lover Grigory Potemkin, for a Q&A moderated by Juilliard Drama Director Evan Yionoulis. While the four-part series charts Catherine’s shaky beginnings as a ruthless but progressive empress following a coup that overthrew her late husband, it equally follows Catherine’s passionate love affair with Potemkin and its sweeping impact on the Russian empire.
Read on for four takeaways about the series, including its inspirations and some surprising similarities.
Unlike Catherine the Great when she took power, Helen Mirren has Russian roots.
While Catherine herself was Prussian-born, making the scope of her rule even more extraordinary, Mirren is Russian on her father’s side. Her paternal grandfather was a member of the Russian Imperial Army and her original family name was “Mironoff.”
“I was made aware of Russian history by my grandfather when I was 7 or 8, listening to him tell stories of the dacha and where the horses were kept,” Mirren recalls. “And he’d tell of a sleigh ride that took four days from Moscow to our family estates in Russia.”
These tales gave Mirren an early start, but it wasn’t until later in life when she began reading Russian history that she became specifically fascinated with Catherine the Great.
Read the full article/interview in our press library.
What an Empress. The gallery has been updated with over 90 HQ photos of Helen Mirren at the Los Angeles premiere of Catherine The Great. Take a look and enjoy!
The gallery has been updated with a few HQ photos of Helen Mirren visiting SiriusXM Hollywood Studios. Take a look and enjoy!
Emmy Magazine October issue features an article on Catherine The Great, played by Dame Helen Mirren. Catherine The Great airs October 21st, we’re very closed to the date!
Last week of september issue of TV & Satellite Week covered with Helen Mirren as Catherine The Great. I’ve added HQ scans to the site. Take a look and enjoy!