Queen dons crown of renown

Mirren gets royal treatment at <I>Variety</I> screening

WHAT: Variety‘s Monday unspooling of “The Queen” at Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome.

WHO: Stars Helen Mirren, who plays the title character, and Michael Sheen, who portrays then newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair.

DRAWING ON PORTRAITS: Mirren said that for help playing the private Elizabeth II, she turned to portraits. Explaining that the queen has been painted many times, Mirren realized each portrait is that artist’s version of the monarch. “So I think what I did was a portrait, not an impersonation,” she said.

Mirren also cautioned, “This is not a documentary. It’s not even a docudrama. It’s a movie.”

PERSONAL INTEREST: Sheen, who played Blair previously in Brit telepic “The Deal,” was visiting his alma mater, RADA, just before filming began on “The Queen.” After his discussion with students, he was introduced to Kathryn Blair, the teen daughter of the P.M. “We’d been working all day on figuring out what Blair wore around the house,” he said, “so the first thing I asked her was ‘What does your dad wear in bed?’ “

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