Seeing Red: Helen Mirren and Her Machine Gun

Helen Mirren in Red

You’re about to meet Victoria. If you’ve been reading my coverage from the set of Red, including yesterday’s piece about Bruce Willis and the debut of a new teaser poster, you’ll know who I’m talking about. Played by Helen Mirren, Victoria is a former wet works sniper who has since retired and bought a small town bed and breakfast. But when the Agency comes calling with a hit squad, all the comfort food and frilly tablecloths go out the window, leaving Victoria to defend herself not with a kitchen knife, but a 50 caliber machine gun.

Sounds pretty rad, right? Read more after the jump.

“Helen Mirren plays a phenomenal wet works sniper,” said producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. “And she runs a B&B and that’s what she does. And when you meet her she’s like serving tea and making flower arrangements and you’re like who’s this lady? What the hell is going on? The next thing you know she’s firing a 50 caliber machine gun, you know?”

As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry about Bruce Willis, the star talked much about Helen Mirren’s character being a “home run” in the movie. She sounds like exactly the kind of character that great team-up movies need. I call them the lightning bolt. While you have the film’s anchor — in this case Willis — you also need a character that injects energy into the story. And seeing Helen Mirren rip off a thousands rounds, as described by di Bonaventura, will certainly inject some energy into this action comedy.

Oddly enough, it was the film’s anchor, Willis, who drew Ms. Mirren to the project. As di Bonaventura recalls after asking her what drew her to the role, “she said, ‘Well first of all what a great role, but I’ve always wanted to be in a Bruce Willis movie.’ I was like really?  And she goes, “Yeah he’s a very under-appreciated actor.’ She said, ‘You know he’s really more of a character actor than a movie star and I always thought it would be really fun to be in one of his movies.’ I said okay, that’s great. I’m glad you came aboard. And Victoria, the character, is a load of fun.”

“She’s fantastic,” added co-star John Malkovich. “Very pro, very funny, a lot of fun to be around. I mean she probably secretly enjoyed squeezing off a few rounds.”

If my calculations are correct, we will likely enjoy watching Helen Mirren fire off a few rounds, as well. For more on Red, visit the film’s database page here. Also, there’s this new character poster featuring Victoria below. Click it to enlarge and enjoy.

Red is in theaters October 15, 2010. The Red panel at Comic-Con will take place on Thursday, July 22, 2010 from 2:15pm to 3:15pm in Hall H. As you might expect, we will be there.

Helen Mirren in Red

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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