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Watch: Helen Mirren on Playing the Queen Again, and How Al Pacino Inspires Her (VIDEO)

Watch: Helen Mirren on Playing the Queen Again, and How Al Pacino Inspires Her (VIDEO)

After winning the Best Actress Oscar for Stephen Frears’ 2006 “The Queen,” Helen Mirren was reluctant to reprise the role but unable to turn down director Stephen Daldry and writer Peter Morgan when they wanted her to topline their Broadway play “The Audience.” Mirren says inhabiting the Queen on the stage is less difficult than navigating the very hidden Elizabeth Windsor in closeup on film. The play is about how England’s prime ministers all meet with Queen Elizabeth every Tuesday behind closed doors, like she’s their shrink. (Read Variety’s favorable review.) Mirren says the Queen has never not been there in her life, and that she admires Elizabeth’s extraordinary service and discipline. 

Below, on Charlie Rose, she also talks about how she digs back into the Holocaust (as she did for one of her favorite roles as an Mossad spy in John Madden’s “The Debt”) in order to play elderly Jewish woman Maria Altmann, who 60 years after she fled Vienna during World War II, fought to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” The Weinstein Company now opens Simon Curtis’s Woman in Gold,” co-starring Ryan Reynolds, on April 1. 

Working with Al Pacino on HBO’s “Phil Spector” (for which Mirren won the SAG Award for Best Actress in a TV movie) inspired her because of his astounding technique and ability to be entirely free when he’s in front of the camera. Charlie Rose interviewed the Danny Collins last week as well for the whole hour (clip below), where Pacino shows his raconteur side as he shares why he loves playing Shakespeare’s Richard III but will never play Hamlet or King Lear, and which roles are easier to shed than others–the one that stuck to him the longest was Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” which he was reluctant to play. He loves it when directors like Francis Ford Coppola chase him for roles, not when he’s cast because he’s bankable. It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference, he admits. 

READ MORE: Peter Morgan Talks Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, James Bond, Freddy Mercury, 360, and Tony Blair


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