Dame Judi Dench is one of those actresses who can turn her hand to virtually any screen role and fit perfectly into place, don’t you think? Her latest part in one of autumn’s most anticipated films, Victoria and Abdul, sees her do just that. Based on Shrabani Basu’s book Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant, the film tells the true story of the unexpected friendship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young clerk who travelled from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.
As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. And as the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity. Take a look at the trailer below to get a glimpse of Judi doing what she does best…
JUDI DENCH’S BEST FILM MOMENTS…
1. The James Bond series
From Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig, Judi played Bond’s superior, “M”, from 1995 until 2012 and it wasn’t just us who loved seeing her in the role. She revealed that when producers told her “M” was being killed off in Skyfall, she cried. “They told me gently and I laughed through my tears. Seven films is a long time. But MI6 would have given her the push by now, don’t you think?”, she told Radio Times magazine.
If you haven’t seen Judi star as Philomena Lee, a mother who as a teenager in the 1950s was forced to give up her tolddler son, now’s the time to do it. Based on a true story, Philomena spent the next 50 years searching for her son in vain – then she met Martin Sixsmith, a cynical journalist who finds himself offering help. Expect lots of tears – along with some laughter.
3. Mrs Brown
Believe it or not, Judi’s latest film role won’t be the first time she’s played Queen Victoria – 20 years ago, she took on the same role in John Madden’s film Mrs Brown, and she certainly did it justice. She took home both a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, as well as a BAFTA Award for Best Performance by Actress in a Leading Role. No pressure, then.
4. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Judi utterly charmed us when she joined the likes of Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton as British pensioners who decide to outsource their retirement to exotic – and less expensive – India. But having been lured by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel, which suggest a life of leisure in lush surroundings, they soon find that the Marigold is actually a shell of its former self – and the real adventure begins!
5. Notes on a Scandal
Richard Eyre’s clever psychological thriller saw Judi step into the shoes of Barbara Covett, a schoolteacher who develops a passion for newly-arrived art mistress Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) – but a harmless crush slowly turns into obsession. Once again, Judi made a challenging role look incredibly easy.
6. And one to watch out for?
Judi Dench will play Princess Dragomiroff – a Russian princess – in a star-studded adaptation of Agatha Christie’s detective drama, Murder on the Orient Express, this November, and if the trailer is anything to go by, it’s going to be good! The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh and Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz and Derek Jacobi are also among the cast. Check it out for yourself below…
Victoria and Abdul is released in cinemas on 15 September.