Helen Mirren‘s getting a crack at putting that pursed-mouth regal thing she’s been working on to the test â€” she’s playing Queen Elizabeth I in a lavish (of course) BBC miniseries currently in production. Interestingly, IMDb has her scheduled to then play Queen Elizabeth II in Stephen Frears’ "The Queen," "an intimate behind the scenes glimpse at the interaction between HM Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair during their struggle, following the death of Diana." If only we had royalty to make movies about! Then we could stop shipping older actresses off to be boiled and rendered into collagen and injected back into the lips of the still young and nubile. Sally Williams interviews Mirren for the Telegraph, which also provides you with a timeline of the monarch’s life and a slideshow of all those who’ve played the good Queen Bess on screen to date.
But why would you want to deal with the unpleasantries of life more than 200 years ago? As John Robinson at the Guardian points out:
You can remake the Elizabeth I story all you want – no one will be feeling a show where chicks have wooden teeth. The 19th century, though? Now you’re really sending out copperplate invitations to a man with Â£5,000 a year. It gave us enduringly British things such as the north/south divide, soap and the industrial accident, but most importantly, the 19th century gave us the hang-up and the thin veil of civility. And that’s something nearly everyone can work with.
Robinson’s extremely quotable deconstruction of the essential elements of any period drama is the best part of the Guardian and Observer’s recent block about another extremely British upcoming film: Joe Wright‘s "Pride & Prejudice." Other pieces include Robert McCrum‘s examination of Jane Austen’s enduring appeal (the same damn piece they run every time an Austen film comes out â€” yes, yes, yes, she was writing romantic comedies before there were even romantic comedies, but we’re sure she’d find the previews for "Just Like Heaven" as eye-roll-inducing as the rest of us…and also, are they going to use that Cure song? Because that seems so…wrong.) and Liz Hoggard‘s interview with Wright, in which she tries to tempt some gossip out of him, and is thwarted:
You sense that eyebrows must have been raised when he didn’t want to cast Keira Knightley. "I thought Lizzie Bennet maybe should be someone slightly plainer. Darcy’s attracted to her because of the liveliness of her mind. But then when I met Keira I discovered her to be this incredibly vital, independent-minded, scruffy tomboy. There are so many actresses out there who look alike with their perfectly ironed hair. I like actors who surprise me."
Will Hodgkinson interviews Rosamond Pike, who’s playing Jane Bennet, and also starring as Dr. Grimm in video game adaptation "Doom," and over at the London Times, Garth Pearce talks to Jena Malone, who’s playing the youngest Bennet sister, Lydia.
+ Monarch of the moment (Telegraph)
+ The life of Liz (Telegraph)
+ The Queen on the screen (Telegraph)
+ Period detail (Guardian)
+ Austen powers (Observer)
+ Meet the puppet master (Observer)
+ Bodice ripper (Guardian)
+ Jena Malone: the Bennet’s naughty little sister (London Times)