When one compiles a list of the most sophisticated, upstanding British Dames ever to grace Hollywood, Helen Mirren’s name has to be damn near the top. Mirren has won an Academy Award, Golden Globes, Emmys, BAFTAS, but most recently you can see her reprising her ass-kicking role as MI6 Agent Victoria in the upcoming action sequel, RED 2.
Seeing such a sweet woman play Queen Elizabeth is one thing, but man, the fact that she can still hold her own as an assassin is downright astonishing. Victoria was easily my favorite character in RED, and you better believe she still is after seeing RED 2!
While attending the film’s press day in New York City, I had the pleasure to hear Helen talk about her experiences at her very own intimate press conference, as she opened up about numerous topics. Read on to hear Helen talk about her reaction to such overwhelming fan approval, what personal touches she brought to the film, and her thoughts about retirement. Oh yeah, don’t forget to read this with Helen’s signature English accent!
Since we’re talking about Helen Mirren kicking butt in RED and RED 2, the first questioner asked Helen what she heard the most when people described her performance as an assassin:
Helen Mirren: Well the word “badass” occurred quite frequently. I love being a badass, it’s just the best. To lurch from being “The Queen” to a badass is very cool.
People really enjoyed the first one and I’m thrilled we got to do a second one. It’s lovely to reprise a character in action as well because the character takes on a different kind of life when you come back to it. It’s like when I did Prime Suspect, coming back to Jane Tennison. It’s funny because the characters become a part of your personal life. I feel that about Victoria. She’s just a great, funny, surprising sort of character to see on screen, and actually, one someone hasn’t seen on the screen before. It’s always a bit of a miracle when you can do something that hasn’t been seen before – that sort of very refined character who has this other life.
Following that question, Helen was then asked what fans of the original RED will like about her performance in RED 2:
Helen Mirren: Well, more of the same, really. I think there are sequences they will really enjoy. You never quite know which side of the fence she’s really on.
Since Helen mentioned how refined Victoria is, someone asked if Helen thinks Victoria prefers killing in formal wear, or if it just works out that way:
Helen Mirren: I think she absolutely prefers killing in formal wear! Quite right. Well, as long as she’s got the right shoes on. Her shoes are very, very, important. In the first one, there’s a sequence where out of a bag I pull combat boots, and that was completely my idea. I said “No woman can do this kind of job in high heeled shoes. You cannot run. If you’re going to be serious about it, I want her to get the right shoes on.”
Would Helen Mirren be in a superhero film? Here’s what she had to say:
Helen Mirren: Oh yes! Well, some Superwoman really, or girl I would think. Unless I’m the baddie – I’d probably have to be the baddie. You know, because I’m British. Our role in life is to be the baddie.
In RED 2, there’s a scene where Helen has to dress up like The Queen (in some capacity), which is a role she’s already done seriously. We asked Helen if that was her idea, and how much fun she had with it:
Helen Mirren: Oh yes, that was my idea! The Queen Elizabeth part was my idea because I’d played her. I can’t remember what it was originally in the script – it was Shakespeare or something. I can’t remember. But certainly, to play Queen Elizabeth was my idea, to get a really bad wig and an awful costume. That was fun. It’s always nice to bring other roles into a piece of work in a tongue-in-cheek way. You’re slightly crossing the fourth wall a little bit. But it’s kind of a nice way to do it. Especially in a movie like RED, you can play around with those sorts of things.