Wearing a blush floral Prada gown and matching headband, Helen Mirren told Variety at the 28th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards that she felt like the “homecoming queen.” A fitting title, since she was on hand as the 57th recipient of the SAG Life Achievement Award. But Mirren admitted her upcoming role as villain Hespera in the superhero film “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” set to release in 2023, won’t be quite as romantic.
“I had such a good time in ‘Shazam,’ playing a Roman goddess,” Mirren told senior entertainment writer Angelique Jackson during Variety On the Carpet presented by DIRECTV. “I am a bit of a baddie, yes. Watch this space.”
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Throughout her career, Mirren has taken on roles that range from three different British queens to her upcoming turn as Golda Meir, the former prime minster of Israel. She’s also a featured player in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, as the formidable Magdalene Shaw. Asked whether she’ll join the film series in for its final chapters “Fast 10” and “11,” Mirren said, “Oh gosh, I hope so. I just wait by the phone to see if they will call me.”
Mirren noted that she’s always trying to mix it up when it comes to her roles in television and film, whether it’s a superhero movie or a romantic comedy.
“I love the genre work,” Mirren explained. “I love working with those incredible artists of stunts and of special effects. … It’s just great to watch them work and to be a part of their work, and I love to mix it up. I love to go from those big-budget extraordinary technical films to a film that’s much more about relationships and conversations rather than bangs.”
Mirren also spoke about receiving the award, which was presented to her by Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett. She joined SAG after she came to the United States in the late ’70s, and received her guild card after starring in Peter Hyam’s 1984 film, “2010: The Year We Make Contact.”
“It’s incredibly meaningful; it completely took me by surprise,” Mirren said. “I suppose everyone who gets it says that, but it is true. And, of course, to get it from my fellow actors is amazing, and I have to say specifically my fellow actors in America.”
Among her many accolades, including three SAG Awards, Mirren was the first woman to portray Queen Elizabeth II on screen in the 2006 film “The Queen,” which also netted her an Oscar. She relished the “enormous” privilege to have played the monarch, and shouted out the actors who have taken on the role more recently, like Claire Foy and Olivia Colman in the Netflix series “The Crown.”
“Thanks to ‘The Crown,’ we’ve seen many great performances of the Queen, and I love seeing different actresses do their portrait of Her Majesty,” Mirren said. “I had the fortune of being the first one to do that and it meant a huge amount to me at the time, and I think it will ’til the day I die.”
As for what’s next for the life achievement winner, Mirren has a couple ideas of how to keep audiences guessing.
“I think the next hurdle, I would love to play a cowboy,” Mirren said. “Just a cowboy on a horse. I’ve fallen off a horse so many times. I absolutely can’t ride, so that would be a major challenge.”
Michael Buckner for Variety
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