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Helen Mirren
A Conversation with Helen Mirren
(Mrs. Porter)


Q: Were you convinced that you wanted the role of Mrs. Porter after reading the script?
A: Absolutely. It was such a charming, moving, simple script. It was one of the best ones I've read in a long time. Then I watched the 20/20 piece about Bill Porter, and I was even more excited to do the project. The combination of the script and working with Bill Macy were the selling points for me.

Q: Was there any hesitation on your part in playing Bill Porter's mother?
A: No, not really. I think it's fun to play all sorts of people with different ages and different accents. In fact, I was just in a film with Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins where we all age between our early 40s through our 70s. That's the good thing about acting.

Q: What did you like about Mrs. Porter?
A: I only know her according to the script, so I really have no idea what she was like in actuality. I have only seen her in photographs. However, I related to the character as she was written in the script. You just know she has a tragedy that develops in the story. The tragedy is all the more obvious because she is a very strong woman with such character. I also got the impression that she was a very light-hearted woman, too.

Q: Do you feel more responsibility when you're portraying someone who's an actual person?
A: Yes, it's hardest when you're playing a character that the audience is very familiar with. It is difficult because, as an actor, you have to obey their characteristics. You have to look and behave like that person. Although Mrs. Porter was a real person, with the exception of her friends, the public really didn't know her. I had more freedom that way.

Q: Do you think Bill Macy captures the spirit of Bill Porter?
A: Yes, I don't think there's anyone who could play this role other than Bill. I just can't think of another actor, no matter how good they are, that could do it. Bill is the only person possible to play this role in my opinion.

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