DAME HELEN MIRREN LEAVES HER MARK
| By London Theatre Direct
The award-laden British actress Helen Mirren casts her hand - and shoeprints - at Hollywood's famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Dame Helen Mirren opted not to take off her shoes when imprinting her feet in Hollywood earlier this week, leading to The Daily Mail to comment that her mark looked more like a hoof shape than a footprint. The time-honoured tradition has seen adulated movie stars leave their mark from the 1920s to the present day. Once completed the art piece which also features her signature and the date will be installed into the pavement in front of the theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Other stars have been more inventive over the years with a variation on the hand/footprint theme: Groucho Marx and George Burns left imprints of their cigars, John Wayne his fist, Betty Grable her renowned legs and Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint pressed their characters' magic wands into the malleable cement. Mirren joins a very elite list, with less than 200 stars having been asked the honour since the tradition began. Mirren is only the 29th new addition since the year 2000, joining the Harry Potter stars and other newbies Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Cher, Johnny Depp and Michael Caine.
Mirren is well known for numerous stage and screen roles including her multi award-winning turn as DCI Jane Tennison in the Prime Suspect tv drama series, for which she won best actress awards at the BAFTAs for three years running from 1992-94. As well as film hits such as Calendar Girls, National Treasure: Book Of Secrets, Teaching Mrs Tingle, Gosford Park and Red, she has developed something of a habit of playing monarchs. She is the only actress to have played both Queen Elizabeth's on screen - Elizabeth I in the 2005 television series of the same name and Elizabeth II in Stephen Frears' much lauded 2006 film The Queen, for which she won a best actress Academy Award. She received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role as Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III in 1994's The Madness Of King George and even voiced the role of The Queen in the Dreamworks animated movie The Prince Of Egypt.
Mirren's last appearance on the West End stage was the tragic title role in Jean Racine's Phedre at the National Theatre in 2009, directed by Richard Hytner. Other London stage credits include Nina in The Seagull at The Lyric Theatre, Marjorie in Extremities at The Duchess and Lady Torrance in Orpheus Descending at the Donmar Warehouse. She was invested as a Dame Commander of the Order of the Bristish Empire (DBE) in 2003, which she has since claimed she was initially wary of and had to be encouraged to accept by her friends and colleagues. She had previously declined a CBE in 1996.
Her waxwork was unveiled at Madame Tussauds London in May 2010. The likeness took four months to complete and reportedly cost £150,000 to complete. She is next to be seen in the remake of Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli's 1981 movie Arthur. She will play nanny to Russell Brand's Arthur, in an update of the butler role played by Sir John Gielgud in the original.
[posted by James, 30/03/2011]