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Judi Dench Talks Feeling “drunk with power” as M, Intimidated by Clint Eastwood

Judi Dench Talks Feeling "drunk with power" as M, Intimidated by Clint Eastwood

With “Skyfall” earning rave early Brit reviews, and this year’s global indie blockbuster “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” it’s understandable that Judi Dench, 77, recently told the Guardian that she “never wants to stop working.” The most recent Bond installment is the seventh 007 outing for Dench, and features a particularly hard-hitting storyline for her dry, steely-nerved M. (On “60 Minutes,” Daniel Craig admitted that both he and Dench have to fight for their jobs in Bond 23.)

Below, highlights from her Guardian interview.

On why playing M makes her feel great:

“[The role makes me feel] completely drunk with power, because I can’t mend anything, or even put the ironing board up properly… [but] I would hate people to think that bossy is all I can do…. [The character has grown] necessarily, just by the fact that I got older, and she has to work even harder to prove she is up to it.”

On looking at dailies:

“Really good film actors, proper ones, will always look at a take after it’s done… I find it too hard to cope with the fact that you can’t change it. I love the way in the theatre that you can change it every night… I think it is always appalling to see yourself on film. I think John Gielgud used to say that he would love to have had a performance of a play he had been in to put on his mantelpiece so he could live with it  and see exactly the ways he could have done it better. Because there are always ways. In the  theatre you can change things ever so slightly; it’s an organic thing. Whereas in film you only have that chance on the day, and you have no control over it at all.”

On meeting Clint Eastwood:

He rang me up, and I thought at first it was a friend sending me up. So I didn’t take it seriously to start with. And then I realised it was really him and that was a tricky conversation. I hadn’t met him by the time I got on set [of “J. Edgar”], really. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder and there was this immensely tall man standing there, a bit terrifying, but brilliant…”

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