Entertainment & Arts

Helen Mirren rules out royal role in Netflix drama The Crown

Dame Helen Mirren as the Queen Image copyright AP
Image caption Dame Helen Mirren has won an Oscar and several theatre awards for playing the Queen

Helen Mirren says she will not be returning to the role of the Queen for forthcoming Netflix drama The Crown.

She won an Oscar in 2007 for the film The Queen and is currently playing the monarch on Broadway in The Audience.

The Crown, a 10-episode drama set for 2016, is based on the stage play and focuses on the Queen's meetings with her prime ministers over many decades.

It is being created by writer Peter Morgan and director Stephen Daldry - the pair behind The Audience.

But Dame Helen told BBC Radio 4's Front Row she had not been asked to reprise the role.

"No, of course I'm not [in The Crown]," she said. "We must all move on and me most of all. They'll find many wonderful actresses and they'll have a grand time."

She added: "It was a compliment they didn't ask me, honestly, because they knew that would not be the right thing to do."

'Quite delightful'

But the actress, who originated the role in the West End in 2013, said she was enjoying playing the Queen for US theatregoers in the New York production of The Audience.

"We didn't know whether they would 'get it', if you like. They certainly get it, absolutely they get it," she said.

"The great thing, which all actors who've worked on both sides of the Atlantic will tell you, the New York audiences are so incredibly responsive and sort of wonderful.

"The British are much quieter and more restrained. So it's quite delightful. It makes the playing of it quite fun."

Later this month Kristin Scott Thomas, who was recently made a dame, will take on the role in a new London production of The Audience.

"I'm so excited," said Dame Helen, who revealed the pair "email each other from time to time".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dame Helen has attracted warm reviews in the Broadway production of The Audience

However, she said she had not given Dame Kristin any advice on how to play the Queen.

"No, I think that she will be her own. I've always said we're like portrait painters," she told presenter John Wilson.

"There have been many, many different portraits of the Queen - and I count my theatrical portrait as just a portrait. Kristin, as a completely different artist, will have a completely different portrait.

"It will still be the same woman, but it will be a very different portrait."

Dame Helen's latest film Woman in Gold, which is in UK cinemas this week, is about one of the most famous portraits in the world - Gustav Klimt's The Lady in Gold.

She plays a Jewish refugee, Maria Altman, battling the Austrian government to retrieve the painting which was confiscated from her family by the Nazis.

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