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.