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Elusive local angle: Helen Mirren

Posted at 11:00 AM on October 11, 2006 by Euan Kerr

Stephen Frears "The Queen" opens this week, starring Helen Mirren. The drama portrays what happened at Buckingham Palace after the death of Diana Princess of Wales. Apparently it's not a pretty story.

There's a preview tonight, but an important high school soccer game demands my attention this evening. I am keen to see it however mainly because Mirren is one of the most magnetic performers around.

To quote a from Ryan Gibley's recent article in the London Observer published before the films British release:

The film's writer, Peter Morgan, was amazed at the transformation that Mirren underwent. 'In the first few days, she was Helen Mirren in a wig,' he remarks. 'But then she started inhabiting the role more and more and she suddenly became this rather squat, piggy woman with enormous presence. She would walk on to the set and you would find yourself stiffening slightly. You minded your Ps and Qs and started saying things like, "Goodness gracious."'

And he also brings up Mirren's Minnesota connection:

In person, Mirren is always quick to undermine her sophisticated or high-falutin' image. Sometimes, she will accomplish this by making very un-Hollywood, off-the-cuff statements such as: 'I've always been a bit of a wild thing and have the scars to prove it.' These 'scars' manifest themselves variously in stories about stormy relationships with former lovers, among them Liam Neeson and Nicol Williamson, or in evidence of her youthful hedonism, such as the tattoo of a lakesh, comprising two interlocking crosses, that is still visible on her left hand. 'I got it done in my twenties,' she says. 'I was visiting this native American reservation in Minnesota. I got very drunk on brandy and woke up with it the next day. I haven't had it removed because it's a reminder that I was sometimes a bad girl in the past.'

An example on how Minnesota literally left a mark on the film world?

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