Helen Mirren Interview For ‘Arthur’
In the upcoming comedy ‘Arthur,’ Helen Mirren stars as Hobson, the lifelong nanny to the drunken playboy Arthur Bach (Russel Brand) who stands to lose a wealthy inheritance when he falls for a woman his family doesn’t like. The film co-stars Jennifer Garner, Nick Nolte, and Luis Guzman. ‘Arthur’ is set for release April 8th in the US, and April 22nd in the UK. Check out what Helen Mirren had to say about the film below.
How important is it for you to mix up your roles?
Helen Mirren: It’s always important for me to mix it up. My whole work life that’s what I’ve tried to do. Gone from theatre, to Television, to Film. Then within those different mediums tried to do comedy’s, more serious roles, just really change things up a lot. The one thing I’d never done was a big studio comedy, that was a major gap in my education as an actress (laughs). This was a perfect opportunity to fill that gap.
How difficult is comedy?
Helen Mirren: Comedy is hard especially when you’re an old cart horse, an old nag (laughs), and you’re put out to work with a couple of race horses and stallions. I was surrounded by brilliant performers, that was some-what intimidating but luckily my role , and that’s why I felt I could handle it, I didn’t have to be out there, I could play it straight.
It was an education for me, as much as for the education I was trying to give to the character. Mostly I was the one who was learning stuff, I learned so many things. It was one of the reasons I really wanted to do the film, and I was very lucky that I was working with such brilliantly experienced people in the world of comedy, like director Jason Winer, Russell, and screenwriter Peter Baynham. It was my education.
What made you want to choose this role?
Helen Mirren: I did it because I met Russell. I sat on a sofa opposite him for a couple of hours and he just blew me away. I had kind of worked with him in ‘The Tempest.’ We’d wearily said hi to each other, respectfully, but we hadn’t really spent time together. We bumped into each other and Russell told me about this film, and just totally seduced me, the way he does. I defy male, female or age-appropriate child to spend two hours with Russell and not be completely charmed, and just say, ‘Yeah, fine. I’ll do whatever you want.’
What did it feel like to punch Russell Brand?
Helen Mirren: Punching Russell was great (laughs), but the best thing was being taught how to punch by Evander Holyfield who was my personal trainer on the set. He’s such a gentleman, but he is the champ and he is a big guy, and quite scary. He was very quiet, and he was on the set in the corner. I went up to him and said, ‘Evander, I’ve got to punch Russell. Would you show me how to do it, please?’ He said, ‘Sure,’ and he gave me a little training. One of the highlights of the shoot for me was being taught how to punch by Evander Holyfield.
You’ve had so many beautiful performances, was there an actor or film that sparked you into becoming an actor?
Helen Mirren: Originally I was brought into wanting to become an actor by watching Shakespeare, not from an intellectual reason at all, I just loved the story’s. The story of Hamlet was just so exciting, romantic and amazing. I wanted to live in that romantic, incredible world. That was what first made me want to become an actor, wanting to imaginatively live in another world. As far as film is concerned, the thing that made me suddenly wake up to film was watching ‘L’Avventura’ by Michelangelo Antonioni and seeing the unbelievably beautiful Monica Vitti. Talking Italian, and looking gorgeous, I was like gosh I want to be like Monica Vitti in ‘L’Avventura,’ I wanted to be that, and instead I’m in ‘Arthur’ (laughs).
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