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©AP / Helen Mirren
© AP / Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren worried new play would upset Queen Elizabeth II


Dame Helen Mirren initially planned to turn down the chance to portray Queen Elizabeth II for a second time because she was worried about upsetting the British monarch.

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The actress, who won an Oscar for her performance in 2006 film "The Queen," has reprised her role as the ruler for a London theater production called "The Audience," but Mirren reveals she almost rejected the job.

"I knew it was gonna be something I was going to be incredibly attracted by the thought of doing but absolutely didn't want to do (sic)," she told the BBC. "Because you don't want to repeat things anyway. I didn't want to become the actress who plays the queen, if you know what I mean. I don't think that's very nice for me, and it's not very nice for the queen."

However, Mirren felt compelled to sign up for the lead role after meeting the crew at a read-through of the play.

"I said I would do a reading of the play, and I went to the reading and there was this lineup of the most effective, successful, nice people working in the British theatre today, so I thought 'You're an idiot if you turn away from this. Look, there's a chance to work with this team, you should be so lucky,' " she said. "So even before I'd said a word of the read-through I thought, you know what you're an idiot, do it. And here we are."

"The Audience" officially opens at London's Gielgud Theatre on Tuesday night.

Mar 5, 2013 9:48AM
I can't think of a better person to play the part of the Queen on stage.  Helen was magnificent in the movie - even the Queen herself was very impressed.  Helen Mirren became a Dame of the English Empire for her body of wonderful work over many, many years. She is one of the most wonderfu,l talented actresses of our day, and is to be commended - not castigated for doing what she does best.
Mar 5, 2013 12:23PM
At this point, the royal family is fair game for whatever besets their charade of a ruling party.  They are a joke already and need to go away.  Do what you's silly enough and no matter what you do, it can't possibly make the who farce worse.
Mar 5, 2013 8:55AM
Oh come on now.  I'm sure movie roles at her age don't come by all that easily and she probably actually jumped at a chance at the role.  This is BS.
Mar 5, 2013 8:12AM
Shouldn't playing Queen Elizabeth on film, and winning an Oscar for that performance, be enough for Helen Mirren?  Seriously?!?
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