Helen Mirren Hub

Helen Mirren Reigns on Broadway in ‘The Audience’: REVIEW



There is a two-word catchphrase that, while seated in The Audience, which opened Sunday night at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, you may be tempted to blurt aloud in the darkness more than once. But, of course, you wouldn’t dare: This is Broadway, not Broad City, and you are in the presence of royalty. All such expressions of “Yaaass, Queen!” directed toward Dame Helen Mirren, returning here to the role of Elizabeth II, for which she won an Oscar in the 2006 film The Queen, will just have to remain on the inside. (Think of it as your first immersive step into British culture.)

Audience1The play also marks Mirren’s reunion with scribe Peter Morgan, who penned both that celebrated film and The Audience, which premiered on London’s West End in 2013 with Mirren in the role, also under the direction of Stephen Daldry. The play’s title refers to a long-standing weekly meeting held between the Queen and the Prime Minister in Buckingham Palace, and its action spans the Queen’s ascendance to the throne in 1952 through to the present. Assembled in non-chronological order, scenes jump from decade to decade, each inviting us to eavesdrop on a tête-à-tête between two of the world’s most powerful leaders in their time.

Audience3If you’re expecting a history lesson, well, you may find yourself getting a crash course (the crib sheet in the program will help), as these private conversations are inseparable from the public sphere. Undoubtedly, many of the play’s deeper subtleties hinge on our grasp of events unfolding outside the palace walls and the unique climate of international relations during a particular decade. To that end, Morgan does a fine job of anchoring the Queen as the world spins rapidly around her, generating a fixed point of view as events of various consequence and prime ministers of different temperaments come and go.

But Morgan’s play is foremost a fascinating character study, brought to life by Mirren’s stunning performance as the Queen. Mirren is one of the rare performers so vividly associated with a true-life figure, and watching her return to the role of Elizabeth II is something of a marvel. She disappears into the role like a second skin, seamlessly inhabiting different stages of the Queens’s rule—from the naiveté of her first audience (at age 25) with Winston Churchill to her unfazed aspect opposite David Cameron at the age of 88.  (The astonishing costume changes and stately set are courtesy of designer Bob Crowley.)

Audience4The Queen is something different to each prime minister who steps into office: a mother figure and confessor to some, a friend or rival to others. But to us, as to her subjects, she remains constant. Much of what makes The Audience so compelling is feeling privy to the Queen’s inner life—being given the chance to recognize the personal character of someone whose outer persona is so ubiquitous. Monarchy—and politics—are, after all, theatre. And Morgan’s play offers a backstage pass to the longest running show in the world.

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Dame Helen Mirren Twerks Publicly for the First Time: VIDEO

Helen Mirren twerking

Dame Helen Mirren: thespian, actress, winner of multiple performance awards...and, it would seem, a skilled twerker. While being honored as woman of the year by Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals on Thursday, Mirren was asked to partake in a game of charades at which point she was given the word "twerking."

She paused, swore, and then turned around to shake her badonkadonk like a proper lady.

You can see her impromptu dance performance AFTER THE JUMP...

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NEWS: Frank Ocean, WWE, Egypt, Helen Mirren, New Species

Milo Road Frank Darabont brings Milo Ventimiglia back to the small screen in a new noir style mini-series heading to AMC titled Mob City.

Road U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asks Ireland to extradite 'largest facilitator of child porn': "He is accused of using encryption technology to offer an anonymous hosting service for websites with a total of more than 1 million pornographic pictures, including images of rape and torture of pre-pubescent children."

Road Miley Cyrus poses for Terry Richardson.

Road Debate: would a Hilary Clinton administration be more pacifistic or more hawkish?

Road Kyra Sedgwick dishes to Andy Cohen about Helen Mirren's love for porn.

NewspeciesRoad The Smithsonian announced the discovery of a new species of animal that is apparently a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear called the olinguito (pronounced oh-lin-GHEE-toe): "Researchers argue that the olinguito should be considered the smallest living member of the raccoon family, which includes other animals that make us go "awww" such as cats, dogs and meerkats. This one had been seen before by humans, Helgen said, but it had been "a case of mistaken identity." You know he's going to make a cameo in the Ted sequel.

Road British stuntman who parachuted into the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics as James Bond has died in a wingsuit-jump accident in the alps.

Road Lindsay Lohan will guest star on East Bound and Down. The comeback tour continues!

Road Death toll in Egypt rises to 525 as protesters clash with government, torch government buildings. President Obama says President Morsi's government "was not inclusive and did not respect the views of all Egyptians" but condemns the actions of the interim government: "The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government and security forces. We deplore violence against civilians. We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest. We oppose the pursuit of martial law, which denies those rights to citizens under the principle that security trumps individual freedom or that might makes right. And today the United States extends its condolences to the families or those who were killed and those who were wounded.

WillsRoad CNN gets first interview with Prince William since the birth of his son, Prince George of Cambridge. The Duke of Cambridge also talks about his passion for conservation in Africa.

Road In case you've ever thought how you'd much rather go to your vet than a doctor, don't. No, really.

Road People are freaking the eff out over the possibility of Laura Prepon leaving Orange is the New Black.

Road "Visible Bodies: Transgender Narratives Retold" tells the stories of "transgender, gender-varient, and gender non-conforming individuals" through photos (some images NSFW).

Road Frank Ocean addresses parking lot fight with Chris Brown in new song: "He called me faggot, I was just calling his bluff ... Why his mug all bloody? That was a 3-on-1"

Road Aaron Paull and Ethan Hawke give good AMA.

Road Darren Young becomes the first WWE superstar to come out as gay: “Look at me. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy.”

Road Senator Rand Paul on the defeat of the Voter Rights Act: "I don't think there is objective evidence that we're precluding African-Americans from voting any longer."

Road Aaron Taylor-Johnson continues to look all kinds of fine. This time in GQ.

Movies: 'Hitchcock' (and the Best Actor Race)

Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) is a hands on director in "Hitchcock"



The first thing HITCHCOCK gets right about Hitchcock is the humor. Director Sacha Gervasi's serio-comic adaptation of the book "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho" starts with a playful dodge, beginning not with a shot of that infamous house on the hill or the Bates Motel or even a Hollywood soundstage but in the rather humble yard of a Wisconsin farm. It's home to Ed Gein, the gruesome 1950s killer who inspired Psycho. The camera pans away from Gein's (fictional) murder to reveal the iconic plump suited figure of The Master of Suspense cooly observing him (Sir Anthony Hopkins in Sir Alfred Hitchcock drag).

Hopkins addresses the camera directly as if he's welcoming you to a very special edition of television's "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" or recording a promo for his latest cinematic thrill ride. He'll break the fourth wall again to bookend this film with an even better visual joke that's absurdly hokey.

The humor is the first thing Hitchcock gets right but whether or not it gets anything else right is another matter. MORE AFTER THE JUMP...


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Movies: A Tale of Two Arthurs

 Arthur in the Batsuit. The Schumacher Batsuit of course, the one with the nipples.

...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

The more things change the more they stay the same? The comedy Arthur (1981) opened during a recession and high  unemployment rates. Here we are again in 2011 when all but the richest are hurting and that drunken millionaire is rearing his head again. He's hoping you'll laugh with him or at him -- either will do as he has no shame. The first time around audiences did just that. They embraced Arthur's reckless entitlement and threw millions more into his seemingly bottomless coffer, turning the film into one of the biggest blockbusters of early 80s cinema.

The remake, also named ARTHUR (2011) is in some ways a recreation with virtually the same character in a nearly identical plot. The few changes are cosmetic though Arthur's net worth hasn't changed all that much, rising from $750 million to $950 million, which has to be the smallest bump that any über-wealthy American has received over the past 30 years of the country's widening economic gap.  "Hobson," Arthur's confidant, protector and enabler is also virtually the same but for a gender change: goodbye Sir Gielgud, hello Dame Mirren.

Greta Gerwig has the unenviable task of stepping in for Liza Minnelli.



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Tilda's Paycheck, Christian's Oscar, Helen's Tempest, Ryan's Meme

Tilda Swinton reaches for another Narnia paycheck



...lives for the the tail end of each year. That's when Oscar buzz wags the film dog. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

If the last Narnia film is any indication, The White Witch's appearance in THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER will be the sum total of her screentime in the movie. We see Tilda Swinton floating in the sky like the goddess she is, hand lifted and opened. Waiting for her paycheck perhaps?  Someone has to foot the bill for her film festival globe trotting, avant garde fashions, wondrous cinephile activism and her preference for brilliant but uncommercial cinema last year's Julia and this year's I Am Love (now on DVD - don't miss it). For this reason, and this reason alone, we salute the utterly bland Narnia films. Keep Tilda in the black.

Also Opening: Crackhead Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) trains half brother Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) in THE FIGHTER. Wahlberg's Micky may be the champ within the movie but Bale's Dicky is the one going home with a certain naked gold man next February.



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Tilda's Paycheck, Christian's Oscar, Helen's Tempest, Ryan's Meme" »


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