Dame Helen Mirren: ‘Roles improve with age’

Dame Helen Mirren has said the roles offered to women in film and television get more interesting as you get older.

The 65-year-old Oscar-winning star claimed little was expected of attractive young actresses, while older women were given more demanding characters.

Helen said: “It’s wonderful obviously to be young but in terms of my profession sometimes it’s quite limiting.

She added: “It’s much better now than it was when I was young. Even now it’s still pretty limiting… it’s better when you get older, if you manage to cling on, because the roles do get more interesting definitely.”

But the Arthur star added that it was also difficult for middle-aged actresses to survive, crediting her own success with being cast to star in crime drama Prime Suspect in her 40s.

Helen said: “I don’t know that there are so few parts but there becomes so few actresses.

“The difficult time in an actress’s life, I’ve seen this happen to so many of brilliant colleagues who I was a young actress with, they are very successful through their Thirties, and through their Forties and Fifties suddenly there seems to be less and less work for them.

“It becomes more and more difficult for them to simply be a professional actress and earn a living but if you can get through that – I was very, very lucky, Prime Suspect was the material that got me through that and because I was doing Prime Suspect I was asked to do other movies and I could have a theatre presence. That got me through that whole era.

“Here I am, still in the business so to speak. I was kind of lucky.”

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