Helen Mirren: ‘I'm Constantly Evolving'

WHO|December 2, 2019

Helen Mirren: ‘I'm Constantly Evolving'
Starring in the new thriller ‘The Good Liar’, the Oscar winner reflects on success, beauty and banishing insecurities
Mary Green

Helen Mirren has always seen beauty as an admirable – but largely irrelevant – trait. Early in her career she broke through on screen in sexy roles, like a courtesan turned empress in the 1979 erotic drama Caligula and a gangster moll in 1980’s The Long Good Friday. Still, Mirren says, “I had a huge lack of self-confidence. I felt profoundly awkward.” Rather than revel in her ingenue status, she says, “I kind of raged against it.” She instead began building a long-lasting career playing characters like Lady Macbeth, hard-boiled detective Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect and Queen Elizabeth II – strong, steely women. When she looks back on those earlier insecure days, she says: “In a way I used them as an instrument of liberation. I was very incredibly physically uptight and unliberated. I needed to be freer in myself.”

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December 2, 2019