April 24, 2006

Mirren Thinks Elizabeth Was An Everything But Girl


You know how the Cinecultist loves the historical dramas, so it's no surprise we watched with interest HBO's production of Elizabeth I starring Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons*. There's something about a red head in a neck ruff that's just too fascinating for words, as Mirren proves yet again. She's wonderful in this two part mini-series which started last Saturday and concluded on Monday. All politically motivated flirtation, steely will and references to herself in the third person. Awesomeness. Also, HBO delivers on their reputation of icky yet historically accurate violence. While it's not as cool/cringe-inducing as Rome's mace-wielding gladiator fight, but Elizabeth does feature a royal decapitation that took two blows. Yes, the first one only went half-way. Gross and grosser.

Today, we were poking around the HBO website devoted to the miniseries and enjoyed the Will She or Won't She Marry suitors quiz, then read over their interview with the bad-ass Mirren. Our favorite part is where the interviewer gets Mirren to speculate on the historical icon's bedroom life:

HBO: What are your thoughts about her sex life? The big question.

Helen Mirren: The big question. Did she or didn't she?

HBO: Did she or didn't she.

Helen Mirren: Well, no one will ever know. Logically, it seems to me highly unlikely that she would ever have jeopardized her body or her political position. It was very dangerous physically for women to get pregnant....She was supposed to be a virgin, and she used it as a political pawn to keep her enemies at bay. So the practical side of my brain doesn't think that she would ever have jeopardized that. But having said that, I suspect she did everything else. She probably had sex in the Clintonian sense. I did not have sex with that woman. You know? I wouldn't be surprised if she got up to a lot of those kinds of sexual games.

Sassy British actresses of a certain age really are the best. Not better than gladiators with maces, mind you, but still pretty darn good.

*These two each respectively make gnawing the scenery over-acting look damn good. (See The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover and Reversal of Fortune for further evidence.) But together? Forgetaboutit.

Posted by karen at April 24, 2006 11:39 PM