Venice Film Festival

Judi Dench frightened of making movies

Judi Dench plays the queen in Victoria & Abdul, which premiered at the film festival.
Judi Dench plays the queen in Victoria & Abdul, which premiered at the film festival. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Actress Kirsten Dunst stars in Woodshock, in the festival's Cinema In The Garden section.
Actress Kirsten Dunst stars in Woodshock, in the festival's Cinema In The Garden section.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

VENICE • Making movies gets more terrifying the older you get, British actress Judi Dench said on Monday, a day after her latest royal comedy drama Victoria & Abdul premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

Dench, who won an Oscar for her role in Shakespeare In Love (1998), said that unlike in theatre, where you can adjust with each performance, in films you get only one chance.

"It's always challenging, I am always frightened, always frightened," the 82-year-old told Reuters in an interview. "I get more frightened the older I get. "It's like having a huge bank of buttons and you chose to press so many in order to do what the writer and director wants you to do, and then when you see it, you think, 'Oh no, I could have done that better!'"

She began her career in theatre, followed by numerous television roles, but still recalls how, during a film audition, she was told she would never make a movie "because you have everything wrong with your face".

But the turning point came in 1997 when she was cast as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown, the first time she played the late British monarch. She stepped back into the queen's shoes for Victoria & Abdul, which screened out of competition in Venice. "It's like coming back to meet an old friend," she said.

While Mrs Brown explored Queen Victoria's relationship with her servant John Brown, Stephen Frears' new drama is based on her subsequent unlikely friendship with Indian clerk Abdul Kazim, who was sent to England to present her with a gold coin.

Asked whether she would ever want to be royalty, Dench shook her head. "No, certainly not, I can't think of anything worse," she said, although she added that the royal family was doing a "phenomenal job", especially given it was not something they had chosen, but "just the job you're born with".

On Monday, Rodarte fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy also unveiled their directorial debut, Woodshock, in the Cinema In The Garden section in Venice. The thriller stars their friend, Kirsten Dunst, as a cannabis dealer.

The festival ends on Saturday.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2017, with the headline 'Judi Dench frightened of making movies'. Print Edition | Subscribe