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Mirren shakes up Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'

December 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Helen Mirren essentially makes history with her new role in director Julie Taymor's adaptation of "The Tempest." The classic Shakespeare tale features a powerful male role in the lead, as written by the Bard, but leave it to Mirren to shake things up."It's a powerful role whether it's a man or a woman playing it," said Mirren.

The role of Prospero is one of Shakespeare's greatest, but in this new interpretation of the play, the sorcerer Prospero becomes Prospera.

"It's about someone taking control of their lives back to a certain extent, but [it's] wonderful to play it as a woman," said the Oscar-winning actress.

Mirren shares the screen with an all-star ensemble of actors, including Russell Brand. The two had never met before the project, but became fast friends.

"We sort of clicked. Well, he kind of clicked with me before he'd ever met me in some weird way, I don't know why. Then I met him, and he's quite an overwhelming kind of person, but I loved him. I absolutely adored him, and I realized as soon as I met him what a very brilliant, brilliant mind he has," said Mirren.

Shakespeare's brilliant work and words may leave some people feeling a bit apprehensive, but to that, Mirren simply says:

"Get over it! Get over it and go see it. You can at least boast about the fact you've seen Shakespeare, you know," said Mirren. "It has its challenges, but it's a great play. Why not see something great instead of something crap?"

Mirren and Brand hit it off so well, they jumped right into another movie together. After they finished with "The Tempest," they went to work on a re-make of "Arthur." You'll see Mirren again in a role first played by a man, tackling the part Sir John Gielgud made famous in the original "Arthur."


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