A regal reception

'Queen' opens 44th New York Film Fest

As flattering as it is, Helen Mirren is trying not to get carried away by the early Oscar buzz for her perf as the title character in Miramax’s “The Queen.”

“It’s a little like walking in the forest and occasionally going past a path that says, ‘Awards This Way,’ she said. “You think, ‘Maybe I’ll walk down that path,’ and then you see another sign that says, ‘Beware Falling Rocks.’ That’s where I am right now.”

Thesp, who plays a monarch for the second time in recent years, received a regal reception at the opening of the 44th New York Film Festival Friday at Avery Fisher Hall.

To prepare to playg someone both familiar and inaccessible, Mirren said she studied whatever footage of Queen Elizabeth II she could get her hands on. “I found myself like a detective looking for clues. I’d watch tape and search for a gesture or a facial expression,” she said at the Tavern on the Green after-bash.

Before the screening, pic’s director, Brit Stephen Frears, made some playful comments about the U.S.-U.K. relationship. “Once upon a time, 250 years ago, we ruled you and taxed you and you weren’t represented.” He paused, then quipped, “It was great.”

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