Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 29 January 2015

Helen Mirren amazed by Pixar visit

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 20:  Dame Helen Mirren attends the Chelsea Flower Show  press and VIP preview day at Royal Hospital Chelsea on May 20, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
Helen Mirren

Dame Helen Mirren was blown away when she visited the Pixar studios, calling it a “fantasy land”.

The British actress has won countless awards, including an Oscar for her portrayal of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 2006’s The Queen.

All of that paled into insignificance when she was asked to visit the animated film studio ahead of her role in Monsters University.

“Before I did any of it they invited me up to visit Pixar in San Francisco. That was just so unbelievable exciting and amazing. Talk about a trip into fantasy land, just incredible,” she told BBC Breakfast

“They’re inventing these amazing characters. There are these brilliant, brilliant, incredibly creative people. You go into this beautiful environment, just gorgeous architecturally. And full of incredibly creative people. It was one of the highlights of my life, visiting Pixar, it was amazing.”

Helen voices Dean Hardscrabble in the new movie. Her character is tasked with ensuring the other monsters are scary enough and she had a great time delivering her lines.

She was surprised by how difficult she found making the film and believes American actors are usually better at such jobs.

“Americans for some reason, really seem to be brilliant at it… British people are weirdly not so good at it, although we are very verbal,” she mused

“[In America] they have a great history and tradition of public speaking. Kids in American schools always have to get up and do presentations to the class, which is not so much a tradition in British schools and I think it should be because it’s very noticeable that Americans get up [quickly] to make a speech. They are totally unintimidated by speaking in front of people. British people get quite shy and intimidated and nervous.”

Although the 67-year-old star’s career has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, she is aware that isn’t the case for everyone. Helen is in no doubt that there aren’t enough roles for women of her age, claiming it means often their male counterparts are less talented.

“If over the last 20 years if you could break it down, of course it’s iniquitous actually. I’ve watched it myself I’ve seen contemporary actors of mine have fantastic careers up to the age of about 45, 50 and then suddenly, as they reach their zenith of ability and professionalism and they’ve really honed their craft, there’s suddenly nowhere for them to do it. Whereas comparatively mediocre male actors can go on working,” she claimed.

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