Helen Mir­ren chan­nels her in­ner Martha Ste­wart in

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By RICK BENT­LEY

DAME Helen Mir­ren’s role in the new ac­tion-com­edy has the Os­car-win­ning ac­tress play­ing a for­mer CIA op­er­a­tive who comes out of re­tire­ment to help a friend.

Think Martha Ste­wart meets Rambo.

“Or maybe it’s Martha Ste­wart meets Martha Ste­wart,” a laugh­ing Mir­ren says dur­ing a tele­phone in­ter­view from Hun­gary, where she’s work­ing on the film drama

The Door.

“When I was try­ing to think who is this woman, I just sud­denly thought of Martha Ste­wart. She’s got that steely, strong re­solve that goes along with ut­ter fem­i­nin­ity.”

Mir­ren may have been in­spired by Ste­wart, but it was hours on a fir­ing range that helped her get a sense of the power the char­ac­ter feels from wield­ing such ma­jor weaponry.

based on the graphic nov­els by War­ren El­lis and Cul­ley Ham­ner, is the lat­est film to cast Mir­ren in an ac­tion role. She’s pre­vi­ously shown her ad­ven­tur­ous side in and



Inkheart Na­tional Trea­sure 2: Book Of Se­crets,

a film she calls the high point of her ca­reer. The 65-year-old ac­tress has only one re­gret about mov­ing into the ac­tion genre in re­cent years.

“It’s been a lot of fun but I wish they had asked when I was bit younger and a bit more able,” Mir­ren says. “I re­ally think it’s bril­liant when peo­ple go the op­po­site di­rec­tion. When I get of­fered roles as an up­tight duchess I say ‘No, thank you. I’ve been there, done that.’”

Hav­ing a ca­reer on stage, TV and film that cov­ers 45 years has re­sulted in many fa­mil­iar roles. She’s played three Bri­tish queens: Queen Char­lotte, the wife of Ge­orge III, in the 1994 fea­ture

King Ge­orge;

El­iz­a­beth I in the 2005 tele­vi­sion se­ries and El­iz­a­beth II in her 2006 film

Other cred­its in­clude the

El­iz­a­beth I;

The Queen.

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover, Cal­en­dar Girls, Rais­ing Helen Gos­ford Park


and the much-her­alded Bri­tish TV se­ries

Prime Sus­pect.

Mir­ren will con­tinue to work in a va­ri­ety of roles, in­clud­ing the lat­est film ver­sion of Wil­liam Shake­speare’s and a re­make of the Dud­ley Moore movie


along with

The Tem­pest

Fol­low­ing up John Giel­gud’s Os­car-nom­i­nated work in was a con­cern for Mir­ren. She fi­nally de­cided that she would never be as good a Giel­gud, only “who I am”.

She wrote in a re­cent blog: “It is al­ways a bit of a dan­ger­ous move to re­make a beloved film, but here it is mixed up a bit with my play­ing the role that Giel­gud played so bril­liantly, as a nanny rather than a but­ler. A very tough act to fol­low.”

No mat­ter her con­cerns about a role, Mir­ren loves the work.

Whether it’s a big-bud­get block- buster like or a small film shot in Hun­gary, there’s the same sense of be­ing part of a very spe­cial group.

“I find a film set to be in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing, ro­man­tic and com­fort­able place to be,” Mir­ren says. “Ev­ery cast and crew is this tribe and when I’m not mak­ing a movie, I want to be back with the tribe.”

As for whether she likes film bet­ter than stage or TV, Mir­ren laughs and says: “I tend to like best the one I’m not do­ing.” – The Fresno Bee/McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

On tar­get: Helen

Mir­ren blows the com­pe­ti­tion

away in Red.

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