Helen Mirren has revealed her anger over the Hollywood sex scandal that has engulfed the film industry over the past few months.
But it’s not just at those who have been accused. Mirren is also incensed at the institutionalized sexism in Hollywood that allowed such abuse to be kept hidden. So much so that she is demanding to know, “What the hell was going on?”
Mirren made these comments when I talked to her about her latest film "The Leisure Seeker" on Tuesday. Towards the end of our conversation I asked Mirren whether she was surprised about the extent of the sexual harassment scandal.
“Totally. Absolutely amazed. Amazed at many things. Not least being the unbelievable foolishness and crass lack of self control and inhumane insult of it. I was absolutely amazed honestly. And I still am. I want to know what the hell was going on. What is it? Why?”
Mirren broached the subject of institutionalized sexism, albeit in Greater London’s Metropolitan Police Service, in the television show "Prime Suspect," which aired during the 1990s.
When I reminded her of this subject matter in the lauded show Mirren admitted that she was shocked at just how little has changed in 20 years.
“The sense with 'Prime Suspect' was that it was over. Looking at the first episode you thought, ‘Well, that was then. Things changed’.”
“But the fascinating thing about this whole thing is that things haven’t changed actually. On the surface it maybe had. But underneath that it hadn’t. And to expose what has been going on underneath the stone all the time is a very important and powerful moment.”
The countless allegations made against some of the biggest names in Hollywood, the cover-up, and the furious response from the public mean that change finally looks to be on the horizon, though.
The film industry showed their support for this change, while protesting the patriarchy that had led to this endemic of abuse, at the Golden Globes, as most of those in attendance wore all black. I asked Helen Mirren what it was like to be a part of this movement, and the Oscar winner was so proud she even called it an “iconic moment”
“It was fantastic. It was really great. The black dress thing I thought was amazing. Partly because they all looked spectacular. And the fact that there was this uniformity of color, it was very visually arresting. It was very beautiful to look at.”
“It was a very special moment. I was very, very thrilled that I was there. That I’d happened to be nominated this year and therefore I got to go. I count myself very lucky. It was a very iconic moment.”
Helen Mirren was at the Golden Globes because her performance in "The Leisure Seeker" was nominated for the Best Actress In A Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical award.
She ultimately lost out to Saoirse Ronan for "Lady Bird," but you can still take in her titanic portrayal when "The Leisure Seeker" is released on March 9.