Helen Mirren: "Every Single Person on This Planet Has the Most Incredible Story Behind Them" — Actress Oscar Roundtable

"Truth is always so much more interesting than fiction, isn't it?"

"Of course it's different [playing a real person]," Woman in Gold star Helen Mirren told The Hollywood Reporter, "because you have a responsibility to look like them and sound like them and maybe walk like them and use your hands like them, but the essential journey is exactly the same, really, as with a fictional character, which is a journey of imagination and the journey of telling the story."

Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal of a real-life character, Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, and plays a real-life character (Maria Altmann) in the film Woman in Gold.

"There's always male roles I want to play," lamented Mirren over the great film roles routinely going to men in Hollywood. "I'm so annoyed when I watch movies and go, 'That could have been played by a woman, and that could have been played by a woman! There's nothing to stop that being played by a woman.' "

"It's driven me crazy in my career to watch wonderful actresses — wonderful, brilliant actresses, my contemporaries when I was younger — really their careers kind of diminish and disappear and mediocre actors carry on."

She argued that there is no difference in many roles as far as whether they should be male or female. "All this crap about, 'I can't write roles for women, I don't understand them.' It's like, you don't have to."

When it comes to finding inspiration on set, Mirren said hers comes from "babies and animals. They are so alive, and they're not messed up in their heads the way I am."

The full Actress Roundtable will air on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, Jan. 10, at 11 a.m. ET on SundanceTV.

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