Welcome to my first and only official web site. Here is where you can find out about my latest projects, contact fan sites, contribute to the charities I support, and learn anything you care to about my work. I appreciate your interest and involvement.
I am not a twitterer, or a facebooker, so this is the best way to keep up with the developments in my life and career. I’ll keep it simple and try to update it as often as possible.
See you soon, I hope! And thanks for visiting.
After the last blog, I was off to Canada to do a fun job. It was a reading, with Jeremy Irons, of Midsummer Night’s Dream in a concert of the Mendelssohn music conducted by Lorin Maazel. We did it in Toronto and Washington. Jeremy was spectacular, extremely funny. He is a great comic actor. It was so great to be out there, in front of a full orchestra, in the open air. I know the play very well, having played Hernia, Helena and Titania!
Immediately after that I went to Moscow to attend the Film Festival. That gave me the opportunity to meet up again with my Russian relatives. They came to the screening of the film and we had time to catch up.
On the 14th July, my English teacher from school, Mrs. welding, the person who inspired me to become an actress, had her 100th birthday. She is as bright and inspiring as she ever was, also as beautiful. As with so many truly great people, she is utterly modest.
Then off to Italy for what I hoped would be a protracted holiday, until November at least!
I was on holiday in Italy with my sister, looking forward to a quiet summer of reading books, and watering geraniums, when a call came from my beloved American agent saying that Bette Midler had sadly just fallen out of a project, and would I like to step into the Divine Miss M’s shoes? It was a project written and directed by David Mamet and co starring the very great Al Pacino. How could any actress say no? They wanted me to start work pretty well immediately. This was an intimidating idea, so of course I had to say yes.
A week or so later I found myself in a very hot New York, being fitted with Ms M’s wig..
An earthquake and a hurricane later I have just finished the project. Neither of these natural occurrences compared to the thrill of working opposite Al Pacino. He is just the most extraordinary actor I have ever worked with, constantly inventive, free, and totally committed. His work off screen is as powerful as what he does for the camera, he just can’t stop himself. He is also very supportive of all the actors who work with him, loving the process and performers. One of the highlights of my career.
In the meantime we tragically lost another great artist, Amy Winehouse. Many words have been written about her, including a really good piece written by my friend Russell Brand.
I can only say that I loved her music, and am so sad that we have all been deprived of the flowering of that brilliant talent.
I finished my work in New york just before Sept 11. This year being the 10 year anniversary.
I was in New york on that terrible , monumental day, just finishing the rehearsal run for Dance of Death, the black comedy by Strindberg, that I was doing on Broadway with Sir Ian Mckellen.
So I witnessed first hand the great courage and cohesivness of the New Yorkers as they dealt with this massive tragedy. I am not by nature a nationalistic person, but I flew the American flag in those months. The people on Capitol Hill right now could learn a lesson.
Now I am back with Taylor who is shooting a film in New Orleans, still and always one of the greatest cities in the world.
See you soon!
PS don’t forget to vote in the “ Scream” election. It would mean a lot to me…
I have just heard that the acting profession has lost one of its finest, Margaret Tyzack, known as Maggie to all her fellow actors.
I began my career on television with Maggie, playing to her Cousin Bette. Then a whole lifetime and many roles later, both hers and mine, we played together onstage in Phedre. It was as if no time had passed. Maggie was still the kind, indomitable, funny, wry, generous person she was in 1971. I had admired her and learnt from her in 1971, and when 2009 came around, I was still admiring and learning from her. Her attitude to her work was always instinctive, sensible and unfussy. As we say, she just got on with it, but with such understated brilliance. There was always the feeling of a volcano beneath the surface, a fierce intelligence. She was also immense fun to be around, very hard working with always a great ironic sense of humour. She was supportive to her fellow actors, whether they were experienced or the ignorant green thing I was in 1971. She watched, encouraged and led by example.
We will all miss her very much.
So it is spring in London, and I am very happy to be back in my hometown.
May in any country in the northern hemisphere is the prettiest month, but it is particularly kind to London; the trees are a clean green, the river sparkles [from a distance] the pubs are heaving, the Londoners and their visitors are out and about, and the shops are full of girls eyeing frocks and sandals.
On Sunday I went to my favourite parts of London, the East End markets. I started out in Petticoat Lane, went then to Bricklane, then on to Spitalfeilds. I got some great bargains, [a really nice dress for 10 pounds in Petticoat lane, for example]. Petticoat lane was full of the traditional immigrant people who have always populated the East End, now an exotic and colourful mix of Asian and African, Brick Lane full of young artists and trendies and Asians, and Spitalfields full of young even trendiers.
Brick Lane amazed me. It was absolutely packed with with food, with shops and with people, mostly young. Spitalfields is all posh and done up. I loved the old Spitalfields, and you see that change with some sadness for the loss of the old. They at least have kept some of the old market, I am sure with a battle. I cheer those who fought for the old. The new, however, is pretty glossy and also lovely to be in and around, and also full of Londoners enjoying the shops, bars and restaurants available. City Life at its best. Next week Whitechapel, a market I love, and Roman Road. I count myself an East End woman. My mother’s family was from West Ham since forever and I grew up in Southend on Sea, the St Tropez for east London.
We had our big Premiere of Aurthur, also on the East side of London. We were lucky that Warners made the film, because they are well known for really doing a great job in marketing and openings. An uber efficient and funfilled person, Louisa Radcliffe, organized the event. Now by the strange way life happens, she is kind of related to me in that she is the daughter of the lovely man married to my cousin, Tania.
Taylor met her with me many years ago, and was immediately impressed by her and asked her to be his assistant on “Proof of Life” She did so, and survived my husbands demanding nature with flying colours. She then decided to stay in the film business, and joined Warner Bros in the Marketing department where she has done extremely well. Leicester square was unavailable fro our premiere because of reconstruction, so it took place in the O2. This meant we could arrive by river, so the director, producers and actors took a boat and cruised past my beloved East End of London. I was the tour guide, pointing out the sights, like one of those tourist boats.
I thought the O2 was a great place for a big opening. It was wonderful, with lots of fans and 3 cinemas available for the screenings. A slight drawback was that the bus taking guests to the after party in Canary wharf got hopelessly lost and did a fine tour of the Blackwall tunnel [twice] and Deptford before finding Canary Wharf. A 10-minute journey took ¾ hour. Once they got there the food and the party was really great. They were ready for that drink! The best laid plans…
Back in Los Angeles a couple of weeks before, I was honoured to have my hand and feet cemented for posterity outside Graumans Chinese cinema on Hollywood Boulevard. This was enormously exciting for me.
Many years ago, like all first time visitors to LA, I made my way to Graumans, [now called Mann Theaters, to me it will always be Grauman’s] to look at the hand and feet of all those iconic Hollywood stars. At that time Hollywood Boulevard was peopled more by drug dealers and hookers, but to me it still retained the tattered glamour of old Hollywood. It is considerably cleaned up now, and the Oscars have come back to their spiritual home. Like the East End of London, that part of Los Angeles is experiencing a rebirth, and is so much the better for it. As much as I can appreciate the strange pleasures of urban decay, I guess in the end I am a middle class girl and I like walking without fear and the possibility of a nice cappuccino!
It was a great day for me. My whole family came, as most of them now live in Los Angeles and my sister was visiting as well. They were all sitting in the front row, looking up at me with big smiles on their faces, my husband, my stepsons, my nephew Simon and his wife and sons and my nephew Basil. Russell B made a spectacular speech for me, funny and very warm-hearted. I have said it before and I say it again, you could not find a kinder, more generous hearted person than his Russellness. I am inordinately proud that my hand and feet are with all those other great stars of the screen. I did both my hands and feet back to front to confound the tourists of the future.
Another big highlight followed closely on the footprint of the footprint so to speak.
The following week I did my stint on the Iconic show Saturday Night Live. When they say live, that is exactly what it is. Russell had done it before me and gave me the wise advice to just let go and go with the flow, which is exactly what I did.
It was one of the more surreal weeks of my life, starting with a meeting where about 30 young writers sit on the floor in front of you and throw out ideas. It is a well crewed ship and brilliantly and strictly captained by Lorne Michaels. It was both terrifying and great fun to be a passenger on that venerable ship. The show itself passes in a mad blur of rushing around throwing on wigs and costumes. For an inveterate dresser upper like me it was heaven.
All for right now,
I send you all love and the admonition to take care of your environment. Recycle your water bottles. The Thames is awash with them. Don’t use plastic bags except in an emergency. Mother Earth thanks you.
Congratulations to Helen for winning the prestigious Olivier Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience. Helen is picture with Richard McCabe who won Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Harold Wilson.
The Audience continues to play to packed houses at The Gielgud Theatre London. Tickets are returns only by checking with the box office.
Box Office: 0844 4825130 (UK only phone no.)
Helen was very busy at the end of 2012 filming RED2 in locations all over London and also promoting her new film Hitchcock (see UK premier below). She and Taylor spent Christmas in Italy and New Year in LA and then straight into rehearsals for The Audience (see details below), briefly suspended by a lightening visit back to LA for the Golden Globes. The Audience first preview is 15 February, opening 5 March and final performance 15 June. Keep checking here for news of her plans for later this year.
Helen is delighted and honoured to have been nominated in the Best Actress category by for the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild for her role as Alma Reville, Hitchcock’s wife in the film ‘Hitchcock’. Here she is with her co-star Anthony Hopkins at the UK premiere of ‘Hitchcock’ in London. The film is released in the UK in February 2013.
Helen becomes Patron of the Voluntary Responders Group and learns CPR
Helen narrates at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle
Helen took a break from filming 'Hitchcock' to make a lightening trip to the UK to narrate at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant: 'All the Queen’s Horses' in front of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It was a spectacular show involving over 500 horses and many more performers from all over the world. It will be broadcast in the UK on ITV on Sunday 3 June 2012 as part of the Jubilee celebrations. Helen declared she was thrilled to be invited to narrate and really enjoyed the experience.
British Comedy AwardsHelen had a fun time presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to the comedy panel show ‘Have I Got News For You’ and looked stunning in a star-studded dress by Dolce and Gabbana and a Chopard star necklace. Next day she flew to Berlin for ‘A Heart for Children’ German TV children’s charity fundraiser where she presented a special award to honour Sister Raphaela for her remarkable work with AIDs orphans & children in Namibia and Tanzania.
Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2011Helen co-hosted with Rosario Dawson the Nobel Peace Prize Concert: for full details of the line-up and event <http://nobelpeaceprizeconcert. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three extraordinary women Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman and Helen attended the very moving ceremony and also met and interviewed all three Laureates.
Helen and Jessica Chastain at the NY premiere of The Debt
Helen stars with Al Pacino in the HBO film of ‘Phil Spector’
Less than a week after filming of the HBO Films movie Phil Spector was suspended after co-star Bette Midler had to pull out for medical reasons, the producers of the David Mamet-written and directed movie have found a replacement. And boy did they deliver. Oscar winner Helen has been tapped to star opposite Al Pacino in the film, which explores the client-attorney relationship between legendary music producer Phil Spector (Pacino) and defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden (Mirren), who represented Spector during his first trial for murder. Helen is delighted to have had the opportunity and challenge of this new role. Watch this space for a release date.
Phillip V. Caruso/HBO
Helen attending the Moscow Film Festival for a screening of The Debt
Helen made a ‘flying’ visit to Moscow for the Film Festival which was showing her new film The Debt due for US release on 31 Aug and UK 30 Sept. She looked particularly chic in an electric blue dress by Jaeger with Chopard jewellery. She was also honoured at the closing ceremony with the Stanislavski Award and gave part of her acceptance speech in Russian. Helen was most appreciative of her trip and the hospitality from everyone in Moscow and hopes to be able to return for a longer visit in the near future.
Helen has her hands and footprints impressed in cement in Hollywood’s Walk of Fame
Getty Images/Alberto Rodriguez
Welcome to HMAS members joining the website. You may have noticed that we now have the additional web addresses of www.helenmirren.com and www.helenmirren.net which were transferred to us from the HMAS website when it closed. Sending a big 'thank you' to all those who were involved in founding and running the HMAS site for many years in such a dedicated fashion. Their hard work and generosity of spirit in transferring the domain names is also much appreciated.
Prime Suspect box set
The complete box set of Prime Suspect is available in the US and for all those who enjoyed Helen's performance it's great that you can now watch the entire series on DVD, priced at $124.99. For those of you not living in the US we are hoping it will be released in other parts of the world in the not too distant future.
See Current Projects page for details of recent film projects.