Helen Mirren, Queen of the Love Ranch

by Jodi Doff

Helen Mirren has come a long way since her first acting role as the Virgin Mary in a convent school play, posing sans sackcloth in New York Magazine, to promote the upcoming Love Ranch. She’s been a household name (in really smart houses) since the award winning Masterpiece Theater TV series, Prime Suspect. Netflix it if you haven’t seen it. Netflix it even if you have.

Although the convent school nuns probably won’t agree, Love Ranch may become my favorite Helen Mirren performance, ever. And that’s saying something. She’s been the Queen of England, the Queen of the Fairies and now, with Love Ranch, Mirren portrays Grace Botempo, the throat-stomping, cancer-riddled, steamy-affair-having Queen of a whorehouse based on Nevada’s own Mustang Ranch.

“It’s amazing how quickly you get into dildos everywhere and pink-feather handcuffs. Within an hour you’re completely used to it.”

Although she’s all for the legalization of brothels, when director/husband Taylor Hackford suggested she spend a night or two at the actual Mustang Ranch, ya know, for research, Mirren flatly refused.  “I’m not a prude or a moralist and I never have been, but I’m too fearful, too much of a wimp, really.”

A wimp? Wimps don’t pose nude at 62.  Helen Mirren is who I want to be at 62. Hell, she’s who I want to be now. Unashamed. Centered. Sexy.

Love Ranch opens June 30


Photographs by Juergen Teller.



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