Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Mirren 'brews up with microwave'

Dame Helen Mirren boiled up the water in a microwave, her director said

The director of Dame Helen Mirren's latest film has revealed her tea-making is far from regal - as the Oscar-winner brews up in a microwave.

American Jason Winer undertook painstaking research before meeting the star of The Queen to discuss his remake of the 1981 comedy Arthur, which also stars Russell Brand, but his meticulous preparations proved to be in vain.

"It was nerve-wracking, to say the least. My agent was actually freaking out [beforehand], he was like, 'Have you ever had tea with a British person? There are rules! There is all sorts of etiquette,'" Jason told Collider.

"He forwarded me a link to a tea etiquette website, where I learned silly things like you're supposed to stir the tea back and forth with the spoon, and not in a circle."

But Jason - who also counts the hit TV show Modern Family among his directing credits - said the meeting was much less refined than he expected.

"When I got to her house, not only did she immediately profess to be a big fan of Modern Family, which put me at ease, she also made us tea in mismatching mugs, with Lipton tea bags and water heated up from the microwave."

"That's Helen, in a nutshell. She's regal on the surface, and thoroughly and incredibly charming, but also tremendously down-to-earth with an irreverent streak that not a lot of people know about."

Dame Helen plays the nanny of Russell's playboy character Arthur in the film, which is due for release in the UK on April 22.

The original comedy starred Dudley Moore and won co-star Sir John Gielgud an Oscar for best supporting actor.

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