In Collateral Beauty, Helen Mirren plays an actress playing death. Yes, she's an actress playing an actress who plays death. Confusing, I know, but once you see the movie, it will make sense, I promise. (The gist? Will Smith's grieving character, Howard, receives visits from the elements of time, love, and death. Mirren is the latter.)
When we chatted about her role in the holiday film — her portrayal of "death" as a bubbly woman wearing fluffy blue feathers — she assured me that that positive portrayal was on purpose.
"I was determined that it shouldn't be morbid and scary," Mirren says of her approach to the role. "I did not want to be play someone serious and threatening or imposing in any way. The first thing I thought is, I want this character to be as alive as I can possibly make her on the screen."
According to IMDb, this is Mirren's 121st acting project. (Don't worry, four more are on the way soon, including Fast & Furious 8.) With a decade-spanning career that includes Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes, I had to ask Mirren her advice for young women aspiring to lengthy, successful careers.
"Be on time," she advised. "Don't be an asshole. Work toward financial independence, if that's possible, because it gives you a freedom. It's a difficult thing to do, I know, but save your own money. I think that's very important."
All hail the queen. Watch the full video with Mirren, below, and catch Collateral Beauty in theaters Friday, December 16.
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