An Evening with Ms Mirren

It’s been a busy holiday season with events, parties and the like. I don’t mind saying I’m glad things have finally settled down just a little bit. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of premieres, anniversaries and celebrations. The season finally wrapped up last evening with a holiday toast celebrating Pixar’s “Monsters University” with filmmakers Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae. It’s hard to believe I worked on the original “Monsters, Inc.” over ten years ago. Of course, I’m sure you remember the director was Pixar’s Pete Doctor. Now, it was up to director, Dan Scanlon to take Sully and Mike on a brand new journey. And, it’s a place most of us probably remember. The college university is a very important part of our lives.

While I truly enjoyed speaking with the young Pixar director, the highlight of the evening was getting to meet our favorite actress, the incredible, Helen Mirren. Of course, there was anticipation and the usual geeky fear. What would I say to the famous actress, I wondered? Should I act casual or bow down as if before royalty? None of this was necessary because Helen Mirren does not disappoint. She’s not only an amazing actress, she’s an amazing person. In typical fanboy fashion I began going down the list of her movies I’ve enjoyed. Included on my list was the fun filled spy comedy, “RED.” I told Helen I watched the machine gun scene a few dozen times. What is it about Helen Mirren standing emotionless behind the blasting machine gun that excites men? I’m not sure - but I never tire of that scene.

The fearless actress had a few stories to tell on her own. I’m sure the life of an actor is filled with as many wacky stories as we have as animation film makers. Naturally, Helen Mirren was nice enough to share some of those funny stories with us. It was delightful to know she shared the same zany sensibility as many of our animation colleagues. It’s no surprise that the talented actress is so much at home working on an animated motion picture. Of course, who else could bring Dean Hardscrabble to scary, animated life and do it all with such dignity? It’s no wonder the university classroom of monsters cowered in fear and respect.

Our conversation drifted back to the movie, “RED” and the fact that Helen Mirren had to be trained in using several weapons. From small hand guns, assault weapons, and finally that incredible machine gun. Ah yes, the machine gun. Now, let me go watch that scene one more time.

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