Helen Mirren Worried New Play Would Upset Queen Elizabeth II

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March 5, 2013 | 7:26am EST

Dame Helen Mirren initially planned to turn down the chance to portray Queen Elizabeth II for a second time because she was worried about upsetting the British monarch.
The actress, who won an Oscar for her performance in 2006 film The Queen, has reprised her role as the ruler for a London theater production called The Audience, but Mirren reveals she almost rejected the job.
She tells the BBC, “I knew it was gonna be something I was going to be incredibly attracted by the thought of doing but absolutely didn’t want to do (sic). Because you don’t want to repeat things anyway. I didn’t want to become the actress who plays the Queen if you know what I mean. I don’t think that’s very nice for me, and it’s not very nice for the Queen.”
However, Mirren felt compelled to sign up for the lead role after meeting the crew at a read-through of the play.
She adds, “I said I would do a reading of the play and I went to the reading and there was this line-up of the most effective, successful, nice people working in the British theater today so I thought, ‘You’re an idiot if you turn away from this. Look, there’s a chance to work with this team, you should be so lucky’.
“So even before I’d said a word of the read-through I thought you know what you’re an idiot, do it. And here we are.”
The Audience officially opens at London’s Gielgud Theater on Tuesday night.