“Widows” director Steve McQueen says the origins of his film are rooted in a chance meeting during a private audience with the Queen of England.

“I was in Buckingham Palace, as you do, and I met Lynda La Plante,” McQueen says during a Variety Screening Series event. “We had a private meeting with the queen, like 10 of us, and I remember saying to [La Plante], ‘what happened to your, you know, ‘Widows?,” and they were with, still with I think Disney, and I asked New Regency and Fox to try and acquire them.”

McQueen was referring to the writer’s 1983 miniseries, which the director says inspired him to make his film after watching the series at the age of 13.

“What for me was so amazing about it was there were these sort of heroes on the TV screen that I could identify with,” McQueen says. “All of the sudden I saw people like myself. People who were being judged by their appearance; people who were being deemed not capable, and these were the heroes, and I understood them.”