It’s a big week for Dame Helen Mirren. Not only is “1923,” her upcoming Paramount+ series debuting on Sunday, but she is also the narrator in the “Barbie” trailer that just dropped and plays the therapist in Kendrick Lamar’s “Count Me Out” video — two things she can’t help but laugh at during our interview.
“I do love to mix it up,” she told Variety on Friday morning. “I love to do whatever is quite different from the last thing I’ve done, and I’m very, very fortunate that I’m sort of being allowed to do that. I’m having an enormous amount of fun doing it.”
Mirren is no stranger to taking on new things and stepping out of her comfort zone. That’s what she did for the latest installment in the “Yellowstone” universe, “1923,” in which she co-leads alongside Harrison Ford.
“I wasn’t hugely familiar with the whole thing. What interested me about I did see ‘1883,’ and that era of American history has always really fascinated me,” she said of joining the Taylor Sheridan franchise. “The fact that Harrison was going to be involved was very important for me. Both of us committed to it without really reading any scripts. We didn’t really know what we were signing up for — the specifics of what we were signing up for. We had trust in Taylor’s extraordinary abilities as a writer and we took a leap of faith.”
The veteran actors had worked together before in 1986’s “The Mosquito Coast.” Now, they portray husband and wife Cara and Jacob Dutton who are managing a family farm in Montana amid many hardships. However, their relationship has stayed strong.
“They’ve been together for 50 years. When you do spend 50 years ago, especially in in the circumstances that Cara and Jacob are living their lives, it becomes, at its best, an absolute equal partnership,” she explained. “I love the fact that it’s what happens after, ‘and they lived happily ever after.’ What happens next? I love that Taylor has given the room and the space in the story to look at a mature relationship and see how that relationship can succeed or flounder and the challenges involved in keeping a relationship together.”
It’s unique that “1923” portrays the husband and wife in an equal partnership — something that’s rarely shown in that time period.
“It’s essential,” Mirren added. “Taylor writes great women. He doesn’t have any prejudices when he writes his women characters, and there are really strong women characters in our piece.”
“1923” premieres on Paramount+ on Sunday, Dec. 18.