Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 May 2015

Helen Mirren: Queen is not neurotic

Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren has revealed how she plays Britain's Queen Elizabeth so convincingly.

The 67-year-old actress won an Oscar for her portrayal of the British monarch in 2006 movie The Queen and again reprised the character for theatre show The Audience.

Helen shared how she manages to pull off such convincing portrayals of the royal.

“The queen always appears to be looking at the world. She’s objective and steady. She isn’t repressed or neurotic. There’s a sense of humour. But she remains a mystery," Helen told Vanity Fair. "And I think it comes from living a life that nobody can ever comprehend. Remember, she has never drawn her own bath, never stood on line in a shop. Her husband walks two paces behind her in public. It’s a world we just can’t fathom, and there’s no escape from it for her. So I’ve thought of her weirdly as a captain of a submarine looking out at the world through a periscope. She takes us in. And then - dive, dive, dive!”

Helen denied she tries to impersonate the queen in her roles, insisting she just goes with the flow.

“I’m a c**ppy impersonator, actually,” she admitted. “But, you know, she lets portrait artists make of her what they will. So, I’m making just another portrait of her.”

Helen addressed the idea that monarchs are actors themselves. She claims the queen never fakes a smile.

“Waving, yes. Not necessarily smiling,” she responded. “The queen doesn’t need to smile! Or make us think how charming or beautiful she is. She’s not at a permanent red-carpet event.”

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