Helen Mirren in Jenny Packham in London, says girls should learn to say ‘F— off’

Helen Mirren

Now that’s more like it. Dame Helen Mirren may have looked perfectly regal at the Los Angeles premiere of RED 2, but she brought the glamour big time for the London debut of the film. Helen wore an absolutely stunning, scarlet red Jenny Packham dress with beaded detail, sheer sleeves, and a form-fitting silhouette. That smile! That body! And look how she’s being all coy with that fan on the red carpet. Classic Helen.

I always want to describe Helen as “lovely,” but I am attempting to refrain from doing so in this post because Helen has given an interview to the Mail, and she constantly says “lovely,” so I will just let her have the word for now since she undoubtedly utters it in a more distinguished manner. And Helen even manages to sound proper while cursing, which she also does in this interview. There’s no audio version, so we’ll just have to imagine how she sounds while explaining that she’d have told her fictitious daughter to say, “F— off” at the earliest opportunity:

Helen Mirren

Dame Helen loves Yanks: “Americans are very, very flattering, aren’t they? I mean, it’s lovely, but I always take it with a pinch of salt because I think they want you to feel good. They’re much more polite than Brits are; they don’t want to hurt your feelings, so they always say very nice things about you.”

On sexism in film: “The 60s were not great, the 70s were really crap; the 60s and 70s were pretty ghastly, I think. And into the 80s, as an actress, you would be the only female on set, apart from the continuity person, who was always a woman, and maybe your own personal wardrobe person. Otherwise it was completely male, and a particular kind of testosteroney male that was quite hard to deal with. You had to have a sense of humour, put your head down, you were never going to be one of the boys, if you know what I mean.”

Has Hollywood changed its ways? “Oh yes, a great thing that I have noticed changing is behind the camera, especially in the electrical department, which I find very exciting, to see girl grips, girl camera… whoops, sorry, not girl, female. I’ve seen contemporary actors of mine have fantastic careers up to the age of about 45, 50, and then suddenly, as they reach the zenith of their ability… there’s nowhere for them to do it. Whereas comparatively mediocre male actors can go on working.”

Her advice to young women: “If I’d had children and had a girl, the first words I would have taught her would have been ‘F— off.’ Because we weren’t brought up ever to say that to anyone, were we? And it’s quite valuable to have the courage and the confidence to say, ‘No, f— off, leave me alone, thank you very much.’ You see, I couldn’t help saying, ‘Thank you very much,’ I just couldn’t help myself.”

Why she did RED: “I’m still rather star-struck to be in a movie with Bruce Willis and John Malkovich. The challenge in doing something like RED, and it’s why someone like Bruce (Willis) is so brilliant in these movies, is that there’s a great self-discipline. The first time I was offered the role I was going ‘ooh gulp, is this really the right kind of thing to be doing, Helen?’ But Victoria’s such a lovely character, isn’t she? 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.”

On her battle gear: “Our wonderful costume designer kept bringing me gorgeous Dolce & Gabbana camouflage outfits. I said: ‘No, I want them to be real secondhand army fatigues.’ They had to scour the army shops for camouflage with short enough legs to fit me.”

Will she ever retire? “The work is still worrying and challenging and nerve-racking and I think that’s why I can’t stop doing it. I have just done six months of theatre, so I have had enough of that for a while, I feel liberated at the moment and I can’t wait to get back on a film set. You know, you have your dream of what it’s going to be like being retired. My husband and I have been building this house in Italy that’s sort of our retirement dream, but in reality, whether we ever will actually do that, I don’t know. It’s hard to let go of our business, of the creativity involved. It’s also hard to let go of the attention. You don’t think that you’re addicted or in love with that attention, you think it doesn’t mean anything to you, until suddenly you don’t get it. But maybe, in the end, it’ll be lovely to do that.”

[From Daily Mail]

I love how much respect Helen has for her co-stars. Of course, she’s absolutely correct to note that very few women make it to an “advanced age” and continue acting while men barely have to pass muster to continue on with their established careers. Naturally, these men’s cinematic love interests just keep getting younger and younger too.

Let’s do a bit more fashion, shall we? But first, I have to admit being slightly disappointed that John Malkovich didn’t show up in London for this premiere. Little known fact — you can dissect every single crush on behalf of Kaiser and myself, but she and I will eventually fight to the death over Malky. It will be like a much classier version of the duel between Malky and Keanu at the end of Dangerous Liasons. Shhh.

Oh right, back to fashion. Mary Louise Parker wore a really cute Alberta Ferretti dress with a flirty shape to show off her arms and legs while also enchanting with silver lace and beading. Her shoes are Jimmy Choo. Even though Mary Louise has been in the industry for decades, she says she’s quitting Hollywood soon because of terrible internet comments. Really? Hmm.

Mary Louise-Parker

Bruce Willis is always so boring on the red carpet. He’s also in a million movies these days, and no one really gets excited to see him, so I’ll just follow Bruce up with more interesting Dame Helen photos.

Bruce Willis

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren

Photos courtesy of WENN

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43 Responses to “Helen Mirren in Jenny Packham in London, says girls should learn to say ‘F— off’”

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  1. Suze says:

    It’s a rare thing to see a sixty something woman eclipse every other person on a red carpet.

    Rock on Queen Helen!

  2. Tapioca says:

    So MLP is forced at gunpoint to read the blogs now. Really? Has any Hollywood star threatened to quit and actually gone through with it?


    Sure you hear them p*ss and moan about celebrity all the time, but 30 seconds later they happily sign on for the next high-profile project.

    (I like all the dresses.)

    • T.Fanty says:

      I’d just like to say that a couple of the meanest stories I’ve heard about celeb behavior in the theatre feature her.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      MLP never said anyone forced her to read blogs. Where did you get that?

  3. Anna says:

    Dame Helen is DIVINE. She is totally right about women needing to say ‘f-ck off’ more – we’re taught to please and to help, even at our own expense. And I love how honest she is about needing the attention. I think it’s almost a personality prerequisite for an actor/actress, and yet everyone always denies or complains about it.

    • blue marie says:

      completely agree, love Dame Helen. I didn’t really learn the “f-k off” until a couple of years ago, but man I use it with a quickness now..

      • Liberty says:

        Dame Helen is 100% right.

        She is amazing in all ways.

      • V4Real says:

        Love Helen she is beautiful and still has a kick ass body. Have you guys seen her in that bikini, yes bikini.
        F _ck off has always been one of my go to words. When I’m at work I change it up a bit and tell people to just FOCUS. F_ck Off Cause Ur Stupid. They don’t have a clue that I’m cursing them by saying it that way.

      • blue marie says:

        ha, I’m stealing that V4.. awesome!

      • V4Real says:

        Blue Marie you are more than welcome to it. Let me know the reactions.

    • CTgirl says:

      Dame Helen rocks. Girl power!

  4. allons-y alonso says:

    I f****ing love Dame Helen Mirren

  5. Joanna says:

    I like that red dress! pretty

  6. Amelia says:

    I really like Helen’s comments about being able to have the confidence to tell someone to bugger off when you’re not comfortable.
    A few people on the Daily Fail boards are clutching their pearls over her language, but the point still stands.
    I was thinking about this a little earlier today when I read this article in The Guardian; http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/23/danced-sexual-assault-tube-women
    A young woman was sexually abused on a Tube train, and some of the comments were asking why her response was not to question what he was doing or to defend herself. I think it’s difficult to know how you might react in that sort of situation until you’re actually in it, but I definitely think teaching young girls how to stand up or defend themselves is a worthy cause.
    I know Helen’s comments aren’t necessarily referring to unwanted attention of a sexual nature, but I guess I’ve just been having a crisis of confidence myself, lately!

    • allons-y alonso says:

      very well put Amelia! 🙂

      P.S Please accept my online Aussie hugs

    • Sixer says:

      True story: I was on the tube during rush hour one time and some horrid guy was taking the opportunity to cop a feel of some hapless girl on the QT. Happily, she wasn’t hapless at all. First anyone knew, her hand shot up in the air, clutching his, as she shouted at the top of her voice, “Whose dirty little hand is THIS, then?”

      Everyone stared. Doors opened at the next stop. Dirty little man couldn’t get off fast enough. And everyone on the carriage cheered!

      No idea who the girl was, but I’ve loved her ever since.

      • Alita says:

        Good on her 🙂 public shaming is brilliant for such a gross (yet no dount common) circumstance. Smh.

      • Eleonor says:

        Good for her.
        Once on the bus someone was touching my ass. I was going to freak out, but don’t know how I’ve said as loud as I could “I know it’s cold outside, but I don’t think it’s fair warming your hands on my butt”.
        Next station he was out.
        But it’s difficult to handle a situation like that.
        I bet Helen Mirren must have had a tough life as young actress.

  7. RHONYC says:

    Hear, Hear! 😉

  8. JL says:

    I love Helen Mirren, and totally agree with her that women need to learn to say Fuck Off and mean it. Don’t say it cutesy, don’t say it crudely, just say it ,say it calmly, mean it and back it up.

  9. Mia 4S says:

    Bravo, Helen and so true! I completely respect her choice not to have kids but I do hope she’s mentoring a few girls at least. We need more of that strength in our gender!

  10. Alita says:

    I get how a woman of Lovely Helen’s era might need to learn to tell overbearing creeps to f-off, and I agree that the sentiment is absolitely required in this day and age. Sexism is *so* far from dead. However … I feel like young women sometimes need to learn to be more gracious, more than they/we need to learn to curse more. For every time I see a femme curse outragiously and without cause, I’d love to see a femme act really graciously … hate gen-downing my own gender, and hopefully it’s not the vommon experience, but unfortuately it’s mine. And believe me, the males get a separate diatribe 🙂

  11. Jayna says:

    Helen is such a striking woman (not just for her age either) and has character in her face. She didn’t suck the life out of her looks with a frozen face, big fish lips, overfllled face or even worse, cheek implants. Bravo, Helen. Whatever work she’s done is very, very subtle.

    Emma looks stunning. Class all the way.

    MLP looks great also. I love that dress on her. The soft grey in that fabric is so pretty. Her hair looks great. I love that she is healthy looking while still slender, not emaciated looking.

  12. Vee says:

    I simply adore her!

  13. K says:

    MLP recently said on a late night show that her initial dream was theater, and she never watches the films/shows she is in. Maybe she isn’t fully quitting Hollywood, just film and TV.

  14. Jennifer12 says:

    All hail Queen Helen! Except for those shoes.

  15. manta says:

    I can’t help seeing images of Jane Tennison putting the boys in their place.

    If she’d had a girl and wanted to teach her the courage and confidence to say no,she’d just have shown them the full series of Prime Suspect!!

  16. Raquel says:

    It’s damn good advise. I wish I had been taught to override the ‘politeness instinct’ the first time I was sexually harassed.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree. And I think (very sadly) girls need to be prepared for this type of thing much younger than some would think.

      I had a guy stick his finger in my bathing suit top when I was 12 and just froze. He was a neighbor at a “family friendly” block party, so it wasn’t like some random guy on the tube. The struggle between being violated and not wanting to disrespect someone who I was taught to show respect to was very confusing. My parents still don’t know about it…

      • Raquel says:

        Oh, wow, I am so sorry that happened to you. That is beyond sexual harassment–that guy should have gone to prison, for decades, imo.

        But it is crazy how much well-meaning parents actually groom their daughters to be victims here, just by telling them to be a nice girl, to respect older men, to never swear or lose your temper, and never to go out of your way to embarrass someone in public.

        That is how I was raised, and when I was 18 and working my way through college by waitressing (my gawd, the service industry is sexual harassment on overdrive), I was probably a pervert’s dream come true. The sweet little girl they’d love to believe is just a teasing little slut. Not only did I not see the stalking, groping, perv comments coming, but I was way too nice to handle them.

        Of course, I learned (I don’t have to say ‘fuck you’ now, because I can scare a perv off with a flick of my eyes if I want to)–but I learned by having to deal with endless assholes. I really wish I had a mother like Mirren, who would have just sat me down, and explained that it is not just ok to tell an asshole to fuck off, but it is pretty much the only thing that will get him to go. That, and public humiliation.

      • CassT says:

        Women do stuff like this, too, I am sorry to say. I personally know a woman who was molested by another girl when she was young.

      • Mia says:

        I am so sorry that despicable thing happened to you. It’s really sickening that douche decided to disrespect you by violating your body, not to mention violating your family’s trust that their child would be safe at a block party in their own neighborhood. Terrible.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Thank you all for your support! My parents had always taught me that it was never acceptable for anyone to touch me, but I think I was surprised by who/where the situation took place.

      • Tara says:

        Is the man still alive? Is there any chance at all that he is near a school, park or any young girls? I think you should get a pen and paper and write him a scathing letter telling him what a revolting, sub-human rat bastard he is and you hope he rots in hell for feloniously violating you. Then if you want you can burn the letter up. I am really sorry this happened to you.

  17. Mia says:

    Helen sounds like a lot of fun with a bunch of great stories. And maybe it’s because I’m from New York but I have absolutely no problem telling anyone to f**k off although I am 100% more likely to say say “Go f**k yourself”, lol. Pleasing people and bending over backwards to the detriment of yourself, your autonomy, and your dignity is the definition of insanity. Women do it way too much. Who cares if people call you a b*tch for being assertive. At least they’ll know not to cross you and if they do, they’ll have a formidable, self assured opponent on their hands. And I am in LOVE with Mary Louise Parker’s dress, although I really can’t fathom why she is checking blog comments on the internet in the first place. They are easily avoidable, even for non celebrities.

  18. CassT says:

    Helen Mirren’s comments sound like typical feminist man bashing: “Men are the enemy and we women need to put them in their place”.

    Reality is, that most women are each other’s own worst enemies. I’ve been stabbed in the back by more women than men in my lifetime. Women can be just as abusive as men, abuse children, and even molest kids.

    Ladies, wake up and smell the coffee. Start being nice to each other.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      I don’t think anyone is denying that woman can also be molesters (though the vast majority of perpetrators are men), and f**k off will work just as we’ll on a woman as a man. That said, I don’t disagree that women should support each other more.