Helen Mirren tries her chops at comedy

Helen Mirren.

Though she may be an award-winning movie star best known for playing royalty, Helen Mirren isn’t above playing the lottery. “When the lottery gets really big — up to 40 or 50 million — I go out and buy a ticket, because it’s, ‘Maybe I’ll win.’ You fantasize about what it would be like to have millions and millions and millions of dollars,” she says. “And I think we all do that. It’s a fantasy we all carry within us — anyone who’s ever bought a lottery ticket. We’re all dreamers.”

Of course, Mirren herself doesn’t have to dream. While in her latest film, an update of the Dudley Moore classic “Arthur,” Mirren plays the nanny to an extravagantly rich man-child (Russell Brand) prone to outlandish purchases, in real life she’s no stranger to splurging. “My husband and I bought a castle in Puglia,” she says. “It’s like turning on the taps full, and just money pours out. Into the desert. It’s just gone.”

Mirren immediately has second thoughts on the characterization of her new property, which is currently under renovation. “It’s not really a castle. It’s actually a farmhouse,” she insists. “But it’s got a little bit where you can pour boiling oil out of. Because Puglia was being invaded all the time. It had endless invasions, so even the farmhouses are fortified. It’s a fortified farmhouse.”

While “Arthur” marks what Mirren says is first real comedy film in her career, teaming up with Brand helped ease her into the genre. In fact, she may have picked up more than a little of his wit, if her description of Brand’s behavior on set is any indication: “He never came out of his trailer. When he came out, he was always surrounded by minders, he wouldn’t speak to anyone,” she says, barely containing her laughter. “No, he didn’t really. Well actually, I don’t know because I was drunk the whole time.”

But seriously, though, she thinks quite highly of Brand and his charms, explaining that she signed onto the film after the comedian “just totally seduced me the way he does, you know?” she says. “I just defy any male or female or child or ancient person to spend two hours with Russell and not be completely charmed and say, ‘Yeah, fine, I’ll do whatever you want.’”

Immortalized in cement

Helen Mirren has clearly had an impressive career as an actress, but it wasn’t until very recently that she felt she’d truly arrived when she left imprints of her hands and feet in the cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. “Becoming a Dame, fantastic. Winning an Oscar, amazing. Hands and feet? Incredible,” Mirren says, chronicling her career highlights.

“Los Angeles is Hollywood, and Hollywood is Hollywood Boulevard, and Graumann’s Chinese is Hollywood Boulevard,” she says of the landmark, which was the first she visited after arriving in L.A. as a young actress. “You go, and you look at Joan Crawford’s hands and feet, and the whole history of American filmmaking is encapsulated in that one little area, that one street. And that street to me has always been the street of dreams.”

Mirren’s slab was introduced by “Arthur” co-star Russell Brand, who describes the Oscar-winner as an “empress, deity, God’s representative here on Earth.” Mirren kept her high heels on when she stepped in the cement. 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.