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Helen Mirren developed Collateral Beauty character around rock T-shirt

Helen Mirren worked together with costume designer Leah Katznelson to create the look for her character in Collateral Beauty.

Helen Mirren found inspiration for her Collateral Beauty character in the form of a vintage Grateful Dead T-shirt.

The veteran British actress stars in the drama alongside Will Smith, who plays a man who deals with the loss of his daughter by writing letters to love, time and death.

Helen and Will worked on their characters in rehearsals in the weeks leading up to the shoot and they had the freedom to make decisions about their look and wardrobe. But it wasn’t until Helen, who plays Death in the film, found a Grateful Dead T-shirt in vintage store Search & Destroy in New York's East Village that she really felt her character.

"I was so excited, Grateful Dead, it was just so cool and really my whole character developed around finding that T-shirt," she said at the film's London premiere. "Your costume in a performance is incredibly important, it's where the whole thing starts from and if you get that wrong, there's a disconnect. The costume is, I wouldn't say the most important thing, but incredibly important."

The Queen star added that Search & Destroy is a "great funky shop" but the T-shirt was "very expensive", costing the team $70 (£56).

She collaborated with costume designer Leah Katznelson, who has worked on movies such as 21 Jump Street and How to be Single, to create the look for her character.

The 71-year-old's co-star Will recalled being blown away by her talent and attention to detail at the rehearsal stage, calling it a "magnificent" process.

"When we all came in we didn't really know what we were gonna do with our characters so we had the opportunity to work together to figure it out," he said. "You know, just watching Helen, (deciding) just something as simple as the choice of (wearing) blue for Death. I just thought that was genius."

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