Helen Mirren: Queen Elizabeth ‘had huge drama all of her life, she’s a survivor’

"Monte-Carlo Gala for Planetary Health" organized by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

Helen Mirren is currently promoting F9, the ninth Fast & Furious movie. This is actually her third outing with the franchise – she appeared in The Fate of the Furious, Hobbs & Shaw (a spinoff) and now F9. She got the role of badass mum to Jason Statham, Luke Evans and Vanessa Kirby’s characters after publicly begging for a role in the franchise. She loves the films and the cast seems to love her, and love the fact that she classes up their franchise. Helen chatted with the NY Post about the franchise and about royals. Note: Helen has said in the past that she’s not really a royalist but she likes and respects the Queen, and she thinks the Duchess of Sussex was a “fantastic addition” to the Windsor clan.

Getting the part in The Fate of the Furious: “I was so excited when they first said, ‘You’ve been [cast] in the ‘Fast & Furious’ movie. Fantastic. Finally, all my whining and moaning and begging worked. And then, of course, I was in the back of an ambulance in the first one. The second one came. ‘Oh, brilliant. Finally now, now I’ll get to drive one of those super cool cars.’ ‘Oh, no, you’re in jail. So I’m afraid. No, you’re not going to be driving anywhere.’”

In F9, she finally gets to drive: “Because not only am I driving, I’m driving down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace. It’s amazing. I mean, the last time I went to Buckingham Palace, I went to get my dame[hood]. I went in the back of a very smelly taxi. So it was astounding. It was just so exciting.”

On the Queen: “She’s had drama all of her life. [The queen] had huge drama all of her life. When you think that when she was in her early teens [it] was the second World War … what could be more dramatic than that? I mean, what would have happened to that family if the Nazis, if Germany, had won that war? Yeah, it really, really looked as if Germany was going to win that war. So, you know, this is a woman who’s been through an extraordinary life of change, of drama, of tragedy, of triumph … She’s a survivor.”

On the infamous interview she did on Michael Parkinson’s show: Mirren noted that after the interview — in which she pushed back on the sexist questions — it was she who was “criticized for being argumentative, you know, being a bit bolshie [British slang for uncooperative]. You know, you weren’t supposed to do that. Until the culture changes you are absolutely in a straitjacket. You cannot get out. And then you have a moment like the #MeToo movement when really the pressure was building up behind the dam for so long that the dam kind of breaks in one big break. But that takes an awfully long time. You know, that almost takes generations.”

[From The NY Post]

Mirren is a good example of an older person who has learned, grown and adapted with the times too – it’s not always a generational struggle, sometimes it’s just a person willing to broaden their minds and learn that things are changing. I remember a time when Mirren wasn’t this beloved, open-minded, cool feminist figure. She used to say a lot of problematic sh-t! But she’s smart and she adapted to the times and grew as a person. As for what she says about the Queen… like, Mirren won an Oscar for playing Liz. Mirren has a damehood. She’s playing the game that many British actors play. Also: I’m glad producers are finally letting her drive a cool car. That’s all she’s ever wanted.

"Monte-Carlo Gala for Planetary Health" organized by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

52 Responses to “Helen Mirren: Queen Elizabeth ‘had huge drama all of her life, she’s a survivor’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. equality says:

    Nothing against the Queen but didn’t a whole generation of people go through the exact same things and under more adverse conditions than the Queen has ever lived under?
    I do like that green dress.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Not just “go through the same thing”, but all of the rest of the populace didn’t do it in gilded palaces, with cooks, cleaners, and help around to take care of every need. They didn’t go through it “rationed” like most did (and yes, I *know* about her receiving her subjects’ rations cards for her wedding dress, but who’s kidding whom? AS IF she wouldn’t have had the *same gown* (or ANY gown she wanted) W/OUT that PR stunt??).

      So yeah…she did her mechanic bit for the optic of “We’re all in this together, Peeps!!” but yeah, no.

      And yes, Helen looks amazing in that shade of green!

      • SnoodleDumpling says:

        Plus, they sent the ration cards back because giving someone else your cards to use or using someone else’s ration cards was illegal (unless you were staff shopping for your employer or a spouse or a parent shopping for your household). Queenie was given a special extra one or two hundred extra fabric ration points for the wedding dress by the government.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      Yes, the word “drama” should be replaced with the word “privilege” and “survivor” replaced with “entitled.”
      Elizabeth has had a life of great privilege; she is very entitled.

  2. Woke says:

    I get the respect a lot of people have for the queen because she’s been symbol of stability to the country but to call her a survivor is a bit much.
    Also this habit of pitying her for all the drama in her family is annoying because most of the time it’s self inflicted.

    • Piratewench says:

      I completely agree. She’s been through what her whole generation has been through, and I see how her position would have added more responsibility and thus more stress. But she’s never known many of the stressors of common everyday life for most people, so I don’t see her as any kind of survivor more than the average person.

      The family drama… she’s been the head of that family for a long time and from where I’m sitting it is ALL drama for decades. She has some real accountability in that situation. It’s very disordered to claim to be the victim of the drama you create yourself. So if she did claim to be a victim of it (which, I see that this isn’t her words and I don’t know if she does claim this) she wouldn’t get any sympathy from me. I’ve seen far too many people create drama and chaos in their personal lives and then cry “poor me” when people cut them off or the drama comes back to haunt them in the end.

      • Jaded says:

        We’ve all been through drama in our lives — my dad flew bombing missions for the RCAF in WWII — my mother lost two siblings as a child to disease. Our family has had its fair share of divorce, illness, death, fights and estrangement but living a luxe life in a multitude of castles and manor homes, with servants to do everything for you but wipe your arse, would have mitigated the pain.

      • Agreatreckoning says:

        HM is not a survivor for living through the war(as stated-many people did under less fortunate situations), family drama, Philip’s “special” friendships, courtiers or grey men. She would be a true survivor if throughout her reign she bucked the Firm system and raised her family to actually be happy instead of faux happiness. It’s probably why she finds so much joy with her dogs & horses…there are not rules to follow when with them.

        Helen Mirren is gorgeous in that green dress.

    • Bettyrose says:

      @Woke “symbol of stability “ seems right. And it really makes me wonder how people are gonna feel about a monarch who wasn’t alive and serving Britain as a mechanic during the war.

      • Woke says:

        I believe there’s going to be a growing anti monarchy sentiment but Charles is absolutely going to be King. People are already praising him for his sliming down the monarchy non sense.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        Woke, has ANY journalist….hell…ANY *politician* brought up the fact that The Tampon King ONLY speaks of “slimming the NUMBER OF BODIES called “royal”, but has NOT mentioned “slimming the SG” in ratio to the number of “working royals” or the actual AMOUNT OF WORK/what *kind* of work, they do FOR that huge sum??? I’ve not heard ONE WORD about this aspect of his plan. It is SO OBVIOUS a ploy to pocket more £££££££s for himself, it boggles the mind!

        And frankly, the way this family appropriates the monies in the SG that are supposed to be allowed to the upkeep of these properties, an then comes crying for more to do the repairs ALREADY budgeted/paid out in the SG, THAT is a crime commiserate with embezzlement/fraud! WHY is no one looking into *these* things??? These royals shouldn’t be given the money, but it should be paid out *directly* to the contractors or hires that *do* the work. Cut them out as the “middlemen” for these jobs so the work gets done w/out begging and beggaring the populace for a hungry mouth that’s never satiated.

      • Bettyrose says:

        I suspect William will be king too, but we already know that both are crap at holding up the “dignified figure head” part of the job. Charles does alright at the substantive stuff though (agriculture, slimmed down monarchy) so maybe he can hold onto popularity that way. But then comes Wills (who by then may very well be either divorced or consumed in mistress scandals). It’ll be 2050 with a king who thinks he’s Henry VIII.

    • Seraphina says:

      Agreed, and her family had the means to help make the hardships less “hard”. My great mother left Russia during the revolution and lost two children crossing trying to get back to Europe. I don’t really fall sorry for the Queen.

  3. tempest prognosticator says:

    She looks gorgeous in that green dress.

    • MsIam says:

      Yeah she could teach some young guns how to shoot straight in that dress! Helen is bringing it.

    • Seraphina says:

      THAT dress is everything. She looks WOW. And love the mask coordinated along with it. Wonderfully done.

    • Nic says:

      A few years ago I was sitting in a cafe in Morocco and she walked by. My god, she was even more stunning and elegant IRL. She could carry anything off in any situation with grace I think.

  4. Jayna says:

    Wowza in that green dress.

  5. Bettyrose says:

    I think that’s the green dress the Barenaked Ladies were singing about.

  6. TigerMcQueen says:

    Please. TQ has survived any drama (often self inflicted) because her go to for survival is to stick her head in the sand and just let others deal with it. Rich and entitled survival I guess.

  7. Rapunzel says:

    She’s a survivor? So are cockroaches. Not impressed.

  8. Lizzie says:

    Through most of her life QEII has Ben the richest woman in the world. Of course she has survived.

  9. Mcmmom says:

    I don’t see what there is to be gained by the Suffering Olympics. Yeah, plenty of people had it worse – so? They can all be survivors. Acknowledging someone else’s struggles need not take away from yours.

  10. Winnie Cooper’s Mom says:

    Yeah, “survived” in various castles and palaces with servant staff and more food, clothing, shelter and security than a person could even fathom. Her corgis and horses were/are treated better than most people. There are a lot of ppl to have sympathy for in this world but The Queen isn’t one of them.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Her corgis and horses ATE better than a lot of people during the war. They also had a better roof over their heads and had their every need attended to, better than most of her populace. Who are they kidding?

    • SenseOfTheAbsurd says:

      Yep. Pretended to share the hardship and rationing whilst sneaking in goodies through the back door. King was eating about two weeks’ ration of eggs and bacon every morning. They’ve been coasting on WW2 era propaganda for decades and it’s largely bullshit.

      Not just them. During the war and ever since, people were exposed to the highly edited and censored propaganda version, and it’s only in the past few years that the far more complicated truth has been coming out as documents are declassified.

  11. Kalana says:

    If she’s a survivor, then we’re all survivors and the word loses all meaning.

  12. Merricat says:

    Eh, Helen’s an actor. In order to play any character and be believed in the role, you have to find something in the character that is human and sympathetic. So she did her job, because she’s a professional.
    That green dress is spectacular.

  13. Susan says:

    Maybe it’s a British thing but I really don’t understand this love and loyalty to the queen. Is she NOT the CEO of that organization? I work for corporate America and our actions and direction are 100 percent dictated by the CEO. If you don’t like Amazon, do you make excuses for Bezos and blame the lower level staff?! She’s not a good person just because she’s old! Nazi war criminals are old and they are in jail still. Yes she “survived” but honestly, has the organization aged well?

  14. Alexandria says:

    Massively overpaid. That’s the Queen. There I said it.

    • Humbugged says:

      Well let her have her estates back then and let pay on income from them ?

      They have been paying 80% tax on them for 200 years that is where the cash comes from to pay her

  15. Eurydice says:

    Maybe it’s a relative thing. Certainly, a lot of the royal family hasn’t “survived.” Granted, Elizabeth is Queen, but there are monarchs who couldn’t make it for one reason or the other and there are royal family members who were alcoholics and depressed and bullies and basically tortured, like Diana and Meghan, and then there’s a pedophile or two. It’s always been a writhing snake pit – add world events and the snake pit of government – it’s pretty remarkable she’s lasted this long. I say remarkable and not admirable. Surviving isn’t necessarily a badge of honor and survivors can also be instigators and collaborators.

    Like the green dress.

  16. Anne Call says:

    Always thought that being a Bolshie (short for bolshevik) means being left wing man/women of the people kind of thing.

    Also that green dress with mask accessory looks so fab on her. It is interesting to think about if Germany had successfully invaded Britain like they did the rest of Europe, would Royal family been put in jail? Executed? Sent into exile?

    • Saucy&Sassy says:

      Anne Call, well my understanding is that Edward (Duke of Windsor) was promised he would get the thrown back by Hitler. So, yes, I suspect the royal family wouldn’t have fared well.

    • Jaded says:

      In the UK bolshie actually means combative and uncooperative, not necessarily left-wing.

      I think if England had capitulated to Germany, Edward VIII would have been placed back on the throne as a “collaborationist” monarch. Neville Chamberlain, who as PM was best know for his appeasement approach to Hitler, would have been re-elected Prime Minister, and the royal family would have been whisked away to Canada. Lesser royals would have gone into exile wherever they could find a safe haven (Australia, Bermuda, Barbados) or face imprisonment. The Canadian government actually purchased Hatley Castle (now Royal Roads University), a huge estate just outside Victoria, B.C. where I live, for that possibility, and most of England’s gold reserves were secretly transferred to Canada until the war ended.

      • Anne Call says:

        Interesting. Yes, I forgot about Nazi sympathizer Edward. He definitely would have been happy to trot back to England and take over. I believe they sent him off to Bermuda to get him out of the way during the war. If the GOP get back the house and senate and god forbid the presidency, we won’t be very different than if nazis had taken over Britain in the 40’s.

      • Yonati says:

        Isn’t it short for “Bolshevist” that is, “Commie”? Like in the US, people like to throw around “Socialist” as an insult. Back in the day, it was “Commie” or “Bolshie”

  17. RoyalBlue says:

    so her Maj had some drama and is a survivor? boo fu##ing hoo. didn’t we all have drama and are survivors. throughout the war she played most days with her sister under the watchful eyes of her governess Crawfie by day whilst attending dinner parties at night. the bar is set so low for that family.

  18. HeatherC says:

    Honestly I think we need to be careful citing that Elizabeth is garishly rich and has castles etc is a reason that her “suffering” isn’t real. Because that’s the same argument alot of the Meghan haters use. How could she possibly be suicidal when she has all that access to pretty clothes and trips? for example.

    Do I believe that Elizabeth suffering is a crock? For the most part, yeah. I’m sure she suffered when her father died. I know I did when mine died and having a house, job and some disposable income did not help with that. Is most of her drama either self inflicted or caused by her immediate family? Hell yeah, the BRF is a classic example of “unforced errors” all around.

    My main point for TL;DR is we can’t use her enormously privileged lift as a reason to automatically dismiss or deny any claims of suffering and survivorship. There are plenty of other reasons to choose from.

    • equality says:

      I don’t think the point is that she can’t have suffered because of being rich but calling her a “survivor” when she has had the same types of trials and tribulations as others her age is extreme.

  19. Godwina says:

    My god she is, as ever, stunning. That dress, that mask, that pose… *faints*

    I’m relieved to see someone actually point out that HM has “said some problematic sht” because most posts/comments about her these last 10 years are simple rave-pieces about how cool she is/how well she’s aging, but my 20-year Mirren crush died the day I read that interview where she victim-blamed date rape victims (herself included). If that had happened in Twitter Times, her pedestal would be a bit more tarnished now. 100% agree that seeing people grow more aware of their crap, harmful-ass views (whether or not they are born of trauma/personal coping methods) is grand. (Not sure if she’s recanted that date-rape thing, but if so, even better).

    She’s not cancelled for me–she’s just complicated. How can I ever stop loving DI Tennison? She made that role immortal.

    • Valerie says:

      She did get dragged for that, though. That was in 2008 and I remember discussing it online—just not on Twitter because I didn’t join until ’09, but I’m sure it was a topic on there.

  20. Valerie says:

    She’s a royal. She’ll be fine.

  21. jferber says:

    The reason she, her mother and her husband were “survivors” is because they refuse to die because they have it so good. Hell, if I had that lifestyle, I’d live to 120, too, like the Queen Mother (yeah, I know it was “only” 104).