Helen Mirren: Drama is still five-to-one men to women

The grande dame is not short of work as she approaches her 70th birthday - but says she's the exception to the rule

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Helen Mirren says most actresses continue to have a raw deal compared to their male counterparts.

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“I’ve been lucky, but if you look at any drama it’s still five-to-one men to women,” she tells Radio Times magazine.

“There are a few women in main roles and although it’s changing it’s still difficult for most to earn a living. Many I grew up with are immensely talented yet can’t. It’s much easier for men.”

Dame Helen, who turns 70 in July, is currently enjoying nightly ovations on Broadway and will next be seen on the big screen in Woman in Gold (in cinemas from Friday 10th April), a true story in which she plays an Austrian Jewish aristocrat, Maria Altmann, who fled Vienna during the Second World War.

It chronicles her long legal battle to reclaim a Gustav Klimt portrait of her aunt that was looted by the Nazis and hung in Vienna’s Belvedere until she won the case in 2006. Altmann died in 2011, aged 94.

“I want it to do well because I didn’t like to let Maria down. The Viennese hoped she would die before it went to court, in which case they’d be home and dry.”

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Read the full interview with Helen Mirren in this week’s issue of Radio Times magazine, in shops on Tuesday 31st March and from newsstand for iPad and iPhone