Helen Mirren Poster

Quotes (52)

  • [About herself] Being famous for being cool about not being gorgeous.
  • The trick in life is learning how to deal with it.
  • [About the Academy Awards] It's the creme-de-la-creme of bulls**t.
  • Actors are rogues and vagabonds. Or they ought to be. I can't stand it when they behave like solicitors from Penge. I'm a would-be rebel. The good girl who'd like to be a bad one.
  • All you have to do is to look like crap on film and everyone thinks you're a brilliant actress. Actually, all you've done is look like crap.
  • Flesh sells. People don't want to see pictures of churches. They want to see naked bodies.
  • [on 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 to pride.
  • [In 2006] Being me right now is sort of amazing.
  • [Part of her BAFTA acceptance speech, BAFTA Film Awards, 2007] This is great. What an honor, especially to be nominated - just to be nominated - amongst those incredible powerhouse performances this year from women. - I applaud them. I think they were absolutely fantastic. Write more roles for us like that please.
  • [on Ian Richardson, BAFTA Film Awards, 2007] Many years ago, when I started off as an actress, I had the immense good fortune to work with an actor that was so generous at sharing his craft - He became a mentor to me, he helped me believe in myself. Ian Richardson, I'm not too sure I would be here today if it wasn't for you.
  • [on her role in National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)] I get half-drowned, jump across an abyss and fly. I loved every minute of it. Getting attached to wires and flying was the most glorious feeling. It's a lot easier than acting!
  • [on not having children] No. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I am so happy that I didn't have children. Well, you know, because I've had freedom.
  • [on the participation of celebrities in social movements] I've been involved with Oxfam on the proliferation of the illegal sale of small arms throughout the world, which is causing such, such devastation. The only way you can sometimes garner attention is by sending someone like me as a front person.
  • There's nothing sexy about doing a nude scene. It's rather uncomfortable. I like dressing up rather than dressing down.
  • [on filming Love Ranch (2010) with husband Taylor Hackford] Funnily enough, the older prostitutes are the most popular, because the guys think they're user-friendly. They're comfortable with them, so they don't feel intimidated. And guys who go to brothels are not the most successful guys in the world sexually, so that's what they need. It's all about not being intimidated.
  • [About working with husband Taylor Hackford] Working with him, I have to say, wasn't easy. My husband in work mode is not the easiest of people, although a lot of people adore working with him. But because I have the emotional connection with him, I would get upset if he was shouting - not at me, but at someone else, demanding something. I would be seeing it from their point of view. I would find myself rushing around trying to mop up after him. But I love the fact that he got the film together and he created a wonderful role for me. But husbands and wives don't need to work together. We are professional people in our own worlds. There's nothing I love more than going to my husband's set and being his wife. But this, it mixes the roles up. It either gets too cozy, which is not a good thing, because it's not very creative. Or it gets the opposite . . . He didn't make me cry, but he made me very cross.
  • I was never going to be anyone's mum or grandmother. But I can dig that beautiful earth-mother thing, feeding the masses. I'm thinking of Nigella Lawson. Does she have children? She does. Do you know what I mean? She's sort of gorgeously fertile. That's sexy.
  • I actually won my first Golden Globe for something called Losing Chase (1996). Kyra Sedgwick and me fell in love with each other, and it was a lovely piece about women loving women. In my heart of hearts I love women more than I love men. I mean sexuality aside - I'm heterosexual. I guess I'm heterosexual. I loved my friend I had at college because there was a sense of camaraderie and physical closeness that doesn't have to be sexual.
  • [on asking to be interviewed by male rather than female journalists]: ...I prefer male journalists because there's a streak of female journalism - the bitches - who are mean-spirited and nasty because you are another woman and want to make you feel crap. It's very upsetting. I'm more careful when I'm being interviewed by a woman because, from experience as well as reading articles about other women, I know there is a little stiletto knife hidden behind the back.
  • No, I am not confrontational at all. I met a great guy, then another great guy, and had a series of fantastic relationships with nice men. [And that healed me.] Until that point I was thinking men were horrible; they were boring, boorish, vulgar, selfish and arrogant. Then I met a guy who was funny and lovely to me and I loved him. That was Ken, my first boyfriend. I learnt from wonderful men, wonderful relationships. They gave me support, made me feel good and made me laugh. Now I think men are absolutely great.
  • As you get older, naked stuff gets easier. It's more to do with the role than what men in the audience think. There's a liberation about it.
  • [on playing Sofya Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009)] The most telling line that Sofya has is when she says, "Why should it be easy? You are the work of my life and I am the work of yours. That's what love is". I think that's a brilliant description. Because it is work. And you go through all different mountains and valleys in a marriage.
  • My poshed-over voice was learnt and assimilated. I was an Essex girl.
  • You can't ask people: "Did you cast me in this because I won an Oscar?" They'd always deny it: "No! No! We would've had you anyway!" Liars!
  • I didn't cry when I got my Oscar [for The Queen (2006)], but I cried then [when applauded by baggage handlers at Heathrow Airport]. I had my Oscar in my bag, so I got it out. I was shameless, but they loved it.
  • [on going to the Oscars] Oh, it's such a palaver! It's like a day's work. You have to decide what you're going to wear. You put on your costume. You do your performance. It's exhausting. And if you win, everyone wants a piece of you. Of course, it's the mother ship of all ceremonies. And it's a fantastic, wonderful, carnival that you just can't resist. You jump aboard the roundabout, get whizzed round until you're vaguely nauseous and stagger off happily at the end, back to reality.
  • I don't mind being sexy, but on my terms. To this day, I love sexuality. I love the art of sexuality. I love Lady Gaga and the performance of sexuality. The mysterious, the artistic and the slightly perverse. I'm interested in all that.
  • [on a 1970s interview with Michael Parkinson] Your jaw is on the floor watching it. He has always denied that it was sexist, but it was.
  • [on her sexy image in the '70s] In my mind I was a serious actress. But the men in that era got away with such sexist crap. It was constant. They were pushing me into being Barbara Windsor, that sort of "Carry On" type. And it wasn't because of my beauty. I was never beautiful. It was because of these [breasts]! I remember doing a photo shoot for the play "Teeth and Smiles" [1975]. And this arsehole photographer was saying, "Cross your legs and lean down, dear! Because he wanted these [pointing to her breasts.]
  • I was with my husband for years before we got married. It's nice to be married. I love it. And that took me by surprise. But there's really no essential difference to not being married.
  • This is no bullshit: the reason I'm still with Taylor Hackford after all these years [they married in 1997, but have lived together since 1986] is because he supports me in my work, he's proud of my successes and he's sympathetic if things aren't successful. If they aren't, he'll say, 'F*** 'em darling! You were great.' And I do likewise.
  • [on filming RED (2010)] I should be going to the gym now but I just don't want to do it. I don't do anything like that regularly at all. But because I'm filming, I should.
  • I'm not by nature a supporter of the Conservatives [Party], but then the Conservatives are not what the Conservatives used to be. Except they are a bit, aren't they? They're all just bloody public schoolboys!
  • [on seeing an amateur production of "Hamlet" at age 13] I was blown away by all this over-the-top drama. We grew up without TV and never went to the cinema, so after "Hamlet" all I wanted to do was get back into that world where all those fabulous things were possible.
  • It's nice to look back and remember, and to think, "Wow! I've had a fantastic life, it's been brilliant!" Or else you think, "Oh, thank God that's all over!"
  • I try not to think of my own mortality, but that as I gets older it gets darker, there is no question about that. You just say: 'It's going to happen and it's going to happen to everybody'.
  • [on Lady Gaga] I love the way she's elevated pop to performance art, or dragged performance art down to pop, or maybe made a wonderful amalgam of the two.
  • [on performing in television versus onstage] Theatre is more tiring, demanding, more frightening, everything. Film, you have to get up early in the morning, and I hate that. Both are powerful mediums. But the great thing about theatre is you do material you don't normally do on film. And you're the editor of your performance onstage.
  • We're all idiots when we're young. We don't think we are, but we are. So we should be.
  • If you wanted to teach someone who knew absolutely nothing about the British people, it would be very good to guide them to Shakespeare. You could see the foolishness, the humour, the brutality - it's all in almost every play.
  • [on her perceived surge in popularity] Well, that's how it looks from the outside. My success grew slowly but constantly. I've been working every year since I started acting and I got many awards before I won the Oscar for The Queen (2006). Maybe it's because I've never been interested in big Hollywood flicks and I've only been in a few recently. I've always sensed a misogynist and sexist attitude, even in the '60s and '70s. Can I say that Five Easy Pieces (1970) sucks? ...You need to be a feminist. It's about equality and rights.
  • I can't say no to an interesting role. I always tell my husband, 'That's it, I quit, I've done all I wanted', and he's just like, 'Yeah, yeah. Sure'.
  • People get together for reasons other than sex and, although it's important for most couples, it's not what makes marriages last. I think the power of partnership in marriage is under-recognized in our society. That's what makes marriages work, not sex.
  • There's no fake testosterone about Harrison [Harrison Ford]. It's just pure, natural maleness and it's very, very attractive.
  • I'm not going to be the first female Doctor Who (2005). Absolutely not. I absolutely wouldn't contemplate that. But I do think it's well overtime to have a female Doctor Who (2005). I think a gay, black, female Doctor Who (2005) would be the best of all.
  • [on winning an Oscar] Part of you is terrified they will call your name because the fear of making a fool of yourself is paramount. But then it's an incredible pleasure, to sort of feel like you haven't been found out - because as actors we always think we're going to be discovered as frauds.
  • All any of us can do is make the best of what we have and live with generosity and kindness. Now that is beautiful.
  • (On her 1975 interview with Michael Parkinson) "That's the first talk show I'd ever done. I was terrified. I watched it and I actually thought, bloody hell! I did really well. I was so young and inexperienced. And he was such a fucking sexist old fart. He was. He denies it to this day that it was sexist, but of course he was."
  • I'm an eternal optimist. I know that when I put my moisture on it probably does fuck all, but it just makes me feel better.
  • [on streaming] It's devastating for people like my husband, film directors, because they want their movies to be watched in a cinema with a group of people. An audience, a movie, and you're all in it together. You're frightened, you laugh, you cry all together. So it's a communal thing. And that's beginning to disappear.
  • [As a teen] I read Rimbaud and Verlaine, whom I found extremely romantic. I smoked Gitanes to appear cool, and I dreamed of being French. But not just any French woman - I wanted to be an elegant bourgeoisie or an artist just like Juliette Greco. From the age of 15, I desperately wanted to be Brigitte Bardot and to go and live in St Tropez. But I was just a small and plump English girl with spots. Then I had a French boyfriend called Jean-Louis with whom I'm still [2010] friends.
  • Two phrases I hate in reference to female characters are 'strong' and 'feisty'. They really annoy me. It's the most condescending thing. You say that about a three-year-old. It infantilises women.