Helen Mirren Likens Catherine The Great Role To ‘going Into A Nunnery’

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September 16, 2019 | 7:25am EST

Helen Mirren has likened working on her upcoming series Catherine The Great to “going into a nunnery” – after giving up partying to focus on the role.
The actress stars as the woman who ruled the Russian empire from 1762 to 1796 in the HBO miniseries. And speaking to The Sunday Times’ Culture magazine, she insisted her newfound discipline has left her “feeling great”.
“When you go into this sort of work, it’s like going into a nunnery, really,” The Queen star shared. “You just have to go into a mode of proper diet, no drink, no partying, go to bed early. I should be knackered, but actually I feel great.”
The star also reflected on how it feels to be fronting a series at 74 years old, and claimed she’s noticed a “substantial change” in attitudes towards women in the film and television industry in the “last three or four years”.
“When I first did Prime Suspect they were not at all sure that a female-led drama would be acceptable to the public. So that’s how much things have changed since we first began Prime Suspect. It’s changed hugely,” Helen explained. “The wall will continue to be hit for some time, absolutely. But I think there is a very substantial change in attitudes.
“I think it’s becoming embarrassing to turn someone down because they’re female. The mindset has changed.”
Catherine the Great premieres next month.