Helen Mirren interview

by Gaby Huddart on Thursday, 3 January 2013

Fresh starts & new challenges
It's so important to keep doing new things.
That really drives me – wanting the next challenge and wanting the thing that I love, acting, to continue.

The very best films are those that are quirky and unexpected, and I was drawn to Hitchcock because it's a very different movie.

Previously I didn't know about the importance of Alma –
she's yet another amazing woman who's been airbrushed out of history. But she was very influential to Hitchcock – she was a key collaborator on every one of his pictures.

This film also deals with a sexless marriage, which is very, very unusual in movies. But I think the power of partnership in marriage is under-recognised in our society. That's what makes marriages work, not sex.

On the stage
I still suffer terribly from stage fright.
I get sick with fear. Not every night, but at the beginning and on occasion.

I believe it's dangerous to ever go back to a role, and was determined that I wouldn't play the Queen again. Last year, when I went to the read-through for The Audience, I'd decided I wasn't going to do it.

But I walked into the room and there was such a brilliant team behind this play, so I ended up saying the opposite of what I intended to.

The play is based on the private audiences the Queen has with her Prime Ministers. I was so interested how much they all highly value these meetings, and the total trust they have for her. She's the one person who will not expose anything they say and who can offer advice to them without any sort of agenda.

Love & marriage
Working away from my husband for long periods is good and bad.
It stops us taking each other for granted and gives us space, but I miss him terribly.

I knew pretty much from the beginning when Taylor and I met that we could get along and live very harmoniously.

Taylor and I aren't remotely romantic with each other. And actually we appreciate the lack of romance in the other person. I'd be completely horrified if Taylor gave me a Valentine's card! We even forget to get each other birthday presents.

My body & soul
I don't believe that if you do good, good things will happen.
Everything is completely accidental and random. Sometimes bad things happen to very good people and sometimes good things happen to bad people. But at least if you try to do good things, then you're spending your time doing something worthwhile.

I believe in meditation – it's a good tool to centre yourself, but unfortunately, I'm too lazy to do it. It's very hard work and I prefer to watch Nothing To Declare on TV!

As for my personal New Year's resolutions, they're the same every year: to lose weight, to go to the gym and not to procrastinate. Every year I set those goals and every year I fail. Maybe 2013 will be different!

Hitchcock is in cinemas from 8 February. The Audience is at London's Gielgud Theatre from 15 February.

This is an edited version of Helen's interview. To read the full article, pick up the February issue of woman&home, out now.

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