few years later she returned to controversy (well she never really shyed
away from it) with Peter Greenaways ‘The Cook, the thief, his
wife and her lover’ (1989). Lavish scenery and decadence everywhere
was the dish of the day and as Georgina, Mirren again gets to play a
riveting screen siren – one that she clearly came to relish. Apologies
for the dreadful cooking puns!
Now, in her mid fifties her career REALLY started to take off as she
found role after role just suited to her talents. Notable among these
was as Mrs Wilson in Robert Altman's ‘Gosford Park’ (2001).
As housekeeper Mrs Wilson, she was right at the centre of an English
country manor bedeviled with murder and intrigue and suffering the evil
effects of years of sexual subjugation by the lord and master Sir William
Then in 2003 saw Mirren dominate the front-covers once more due to the
mild controversy surrounding another British film ‘Calendar Girls’,
which would bring her yet another Golden Globe nomination. This was
based on the true tale of the Rylstone and District Women's Institute
who, in April 1999, published a calendar intended to raise money for
a local hospital which had cared for the leukemia-suffering husband
of one of their number.
back in time, she'd then return to TV to take the title role in the
lavish Elizabeth I. Repelling the Spanish and all the demands for a
successor to the throne, she'd enjoy a long affair with Jeremy Irons'
Dudley, then go after Irons' stepson, Essex, played by Hugh Dancy. It
was a demanding role, perfect for Mirren.
was soon to be in the spotlight again this time playing he role of our
monarch HRH Queen Elizabeth II in ‘The Queen’ 2006. Directed
by Stephen Frears, this would see Mirren play the HRH in the midst of
the furore surrounding the death of Diana, trying to follow protocol
and tradition while the country is demanding a wholly inappropriate
is married to the American director Taylor Hackford and was made a Dame
of the British Empire in 2006 (she allegedly refused a CBE in 1996)
– clearly her attitudes are changing.
becoming Dame Helen Mirren in 2003, "In England, it's a big deal.
I do feel it's a great honor. But I had to think about it quite seriously
for a couple of weeks. It does sort of squash you into the establishment
thing. In the end, my baser feelings got the better of me. I succumbed
the Academy Awards] "It's the creme-de-la-creme of bulls**t."
films to see:
Elizabeth I(2005) TV
Gosford Park (2001)