In an inspired piece of casting, Helen Mirren—the Hollywood celebrity with whom I would be most interested in robbing a bank—will be appearing in Fast 8, the latest “Fast and Furious” movie. However, reports indicate she doesn’t get to drive. What the fuck?
Mirren told Variety in a recent interview:
I’m always looking for something that’s a bit different from my last gig. But I don’t plan my career. I never have. It’s potluck, really, what happens to come along. But I had always had a secret hankering to do “Fast and Furious,” because I love driving cars. Of course, when I finally got my chance, I wasn’t driving the bloody car. I was in the back of an ambulance with Jason Statham.
She apparently told Entertainment Weekly something similar back in July: “I wanted to be driving, but unfortunately, I’m not,” and “Maybe that will come in the future, in Fast and Furious 12.” She added: “I’m probably one of the few people on the set who know how to drive a gear shift car.”
This is an outrage! If Fast 8 has missed the opportunity to put a steely-nerved Mirren behind the wheel of a rare and expensive automobile, it’s not the franchise I thought it was.
Mirren also commented on James Bond, self-consciously swerving just in time to avoid looking like a fuddy-duddy:
I think a woman could play, and has and should played, a similar character. But I think — Hm, I’m wading into murky waters here, but I wonder if the iconic-ness of James Bond… Maybe I’m wrong. I played Prospera in “The Tempest” [a gender-bent version of the Shakespeare play’s male protagonist, Prospero], much to the hilarity of certain older actors who found it hysterically funny. I don’t want to find myself in the position of those geriatrics, saying women can’t play men’s roles. Let’s put it this way: There are no rules about anything. Anything is possible.