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Judi Dench tells David Tennant she's eyeing more villainous roles

The 85-year-old actress revealed which roles she wants to play next, and whether she plans to retire any time soon.

Judi Dench
Published: Tuesday, 1st September 2020 at 4:36 pm

Acting legend Dame Judi Dench has taken on a variety of prestigious roles, including the head of MI6, members of royalty and even that of a cat, but she now wants to take her career in a different direction: she would like to play the bad guy again.


Speaking to David Tennant on his podcast, David Tennant Does A Podcast With..., she said she's looking to play more surprising roles in her next projects.

"I hate to play parts that are expected... I want to play somebody who you think is a benign old lady sitting in a chair, and in actual fact is bumping people off," she said. "I'm looking for a lot of villains to play."

When asked whether she's played a lot of villains, she replied: "No, not enough," before adding that the role of Barbara Covett in Notes on a Scandal was her favourite villain to play.

"And having a good old fight with Cate Blanchett," she added.

The 85-year-old actress starred opposite Cate Blanchett in the 2006 psychological thriller, in which a retiring spinster (Covett) tries to blackmail a new art teacher (Blanchett) after discovering her affair with a pupil.

Dench, who was appointed as a Dame in 1988, is also known for playing M in eight James Bond films as well as her roles in 1998's Shakespeare in Love, 2001's Iris, 2005's Mrs Henderson Presents and 2013's Philomena.

Speaking about playing her iconic Bond role, she said: "I was very, very nervous about it."

"[Her husband Michael Williams] said, 'You've got to do it. I can say I'm living with a Bond woman,'" she added. "Eight [films], I did. I did half an hour of Spectre."

When Tennant asked whether she was disappointed after being killed off in 2012's Skyfall, she said: "I'm not sure. I was more disappointed in never being sent anywhere... I had a lovely time."

In terms of retirement however, Dench said that she has no intention of giving up acting.

"I assume you have no intention of retiring," Tennant asked Dench, to which she replied: "No."

Speaking about how acting changes with age, she continued: "It changes in the fact that you're worried that the next job won't come up. My eyesight is so bad now that that's quite tricky. I have ways of learning things.

"As long as I've got enough time to prepare, I've got great friends who help me with lines and things," she added.


David Tennant Does A Podcast With... is available on Apple, Spotify and all podcast providers. Looking for something to watch? Check out our TV Guide.


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