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Helen Mirren ventures into comedy with the “Arthur” remake that she sees as “just rethinking the story and bringing it into a modern context.”

It also means stepping into, as she acknowledges, Oscar-winner John Gielgud’s “quite tough” shoes to play not the butler but the nanny to Russell Brand’s developmentally arrested adult. “The relationship of a nanny with someone they brought up is a serious relationship. Not that I’m talking seriously — it’s a comedy,” she says.

Getting laughs is definitely something new. “It’s great. I started it with ‘Red’ in a way, and to be a completely rounded actor you want to be able to do both sides of the coin,” she says. “With comedy you don’t have less to do but it’s quite intense. People who are good at comedy are very driven and very smart and very bright and you have to rub up with them, so it’s good challenge.”

With a slate of upcoming films that includes the late August thriller “The Debt,” Mirren is doing something most unusual: taking a break.

“This is the first time in my whole career, actually, that I’m not doing a piece of work and don’t have something I’m committed to. It never happened. I’ve made it happen to myself because honestly I want to take the summer off.”

As for the future, she notes, “I would like to do the play I don’t know anything about.”

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