Helen Mirren Offers Intimate Portrait of 'The Queen'

Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth i i

hide captionHelen Mirren portrays Queen Elizabeth II in her new film, The Queen, which looks at the royal family in the aftermath of Princess Diana's death.

Laurie Sparham/Miramax Films
Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth

Helen Mirren portrays Queen Elizabeth II in her new film, The Queen, which looks at the royal family in the aftermath of Princess Diana's death.

Laurie Sparham/Miramax Films

In her new film, The Queen, Helen Mirren portrays Queen Elizabeth II in the days after Princess Diana's death in 1997.

The movie takes place as Tony Blair's Labour Party is coming to power, and is as much about the royal family's reaction to Princess Diana's death as it is about the monarchy's place in modern society.

Brought up "vehemently anti-monarchist and anti-British class system," Mirren says her parents, now deceased, would be horrified that she is playing Queen Elizabeth.

But at the same time, the 61-year-old British actress read numerous biographies and studied film of the queen — and found herself drawn more and more toward who Elizabeth Windsor was before she became the queen.

Mirren discusses bringing those qualities of Queen Elizabeth as a girl to the movie, the challenges of portraying a reigning monarch, and whether she thinks the queen will see The Queen.

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