Helen Mirren is a Hollywood icon who has been acting since the '60s, so who better to talk about how Hollywood has changed? Mirren sat down with The Hollywood Reporter and gave insight into how the industry has evolved since she's been an actress.
To sum it up? "Hugely."
"In the last 10 years—or really the last three or four years—things have changed substantially [for women in television]," she said. "There is a pressure mounting behind a dam, and I hope that that dam is finally bursting in terms of women directors and women-led dramas."
Of course, as any Mirren fan knows, she played a part in that shift. Her role as Detective Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect was one of the first female drama characters written to be a TV lead.
"When I first did Prime Suspect they were not at all sure that a female-led drama would be acceptable to the public," she revealed. "So that’s how much things have changed since we first began Prime Suspect. It’s changed hugely."
According to Mirren, this change didn't just happen out of nowhere. She said it has as much to do with attitudes as actions.
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"I think it’s becoming embarrassing to turn someone down because they’re female. The mind-set has changed. Unfortunately there are dinosaurs, and there are some dinosaurs that are 50 instead of 80," she said. "A lot of males over the age of 50 are locked in a past world really, and we just have to let them pass through the system and get them out the other end, if you like, for things to really change. That’s a very generalized statement, so maybe I should stop right there."
The changes in attitude are paying off for everyone, including Mirren. This week, the actress is receiving a Crystal Nymph award for her work at the Monte Carlo TV Festival.
Congratulations to Mirren on the honor.