Helen Mirren, Bill Condon on 'The Good Liar' and the State of the Theatrical Experience

Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen - Getty - H 2019
Steven Ferdman/FilmMagic

Mirren asked the audience at the film's premiere to put a hand in the air and pledge, "I will not tell anyone the end of this movie."

"It's so great to be here in a cinema, with an audience full of people," Helen Mirren told the crowd at the New York premiere of The Good Liar on Wednesday night. "This is the way this film really wants to be watched."

The subject of cinema in an era dominated by streaming was something that The Good Liar's director, Bill Condon, also weighed in on, telling The Hollywood Reporter that "it's a confusing moment" for filmmakers.

"I mean, if you look at the Netflix movies of this year, those are wonderful movies that wouldn't exist without it, that I think any studio would be proud of," Condon said. "I wish it was easier to see them in theaters, obviously."

But Condon — who also praised Netflix's "wonderful" films of 2019, like Marriage Story and The Irishman — has hope for the future, insisting that "we're going to figure it out somehow."

"In my lifetime, it started with … people making interesting movies because of video sales," he added. "There's always that opening to make different kinds of movies. Now it exists in streaming. Let's see how long that lasts."

While introducing The Good Liar alongside Mirren, in addition to her co-star Ian McKellen, producer Greg Yolen, screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher, and composer Carter Burwell, Condon again referenced the "very public conversation" about the state of filmmaking currently taking place and praised Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich for "his dedication to creating as diverse a slate as possible."

Mirren then demanded everyone put a hand in the air and pledge, "I will not tell anyone the end of this movie."

In the mystery thriller — loosely based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Searle — Mirren plays a rich, recently widowed woman who begins spending time with, unbeknownst to her, a career con man (McKellen) determined to swindle her out of everything she's got.

Mirren and McKellen have worked together on Broadway, but The Good Liar is their first film together. Describing the experience to THR, Mirren jokingly asked McKellen if working with her was "OK."

"Of course it was OK!" McKellen said. "And if it hadn't been, we'd still say it was OK."

From the beginning, Condon said, he knew he wanted the two actors for their respective roles. However, it turned out their techniques were quite different.

"He wanted to keep adding layers, and she wanted to keep making it as direct and simple as possible," Condon explained, though luckily "when the other one needed a little bending, they were happy to do it."

The film itself is certainly layered and shouldn't be mistaken for the average cat-and-mouse movie.

According to Hatcher, The Good Liar was written and filmed "at the height of #MeToo."

"You're writing this and shooting it at that same time, and so there's a little bit of the current politics that flood into it," Hatcher told THR. "You never want to flood in in such a way that it swamps the film, but you can't ignore it either."

Ultimately though, "it's a game," Hatcher said. "The winners lose and the losers win, but the winners lose in a strange way, in a way that I think guts them."

The Good Liar hits theaters Nov. 15.