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Helen Mirren on Love Ranch

Published July 7, 2010 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of E1 Entertainment
Love Ranch Poster Love Ranch
If you’re a lonely guy in need of some good lovin’, and you’re not above paying for it, Helen Mirren is the madame to call. She stars in Love Ranch, inspired by the true story of the first legal brothel in Nevada. The film takes artistic license from there.

Mirren Runs Love Ranch

“When my husband told me the story and told me that it was true that this had actually happened, I was blown away,” Mirren said. “I thought, ‘Why have I never heard this?’ This is an amazing, wonderful, dramatic story. This is incredible. So really, the story brought me in plus the fact – because in the end I’m self-interested – I thought it was a great role. There are not that many great roles for women, full stop. There are certainly not a lot of great roles for women of my age and so, who would say no? I loved the fact that my husband wanted to do it and he drove it. He was the driving force from beginning to end with this movie. In the development of the script, in the financing of the film and the making of the film, he was absolutely the driving force, and without Taylor, it would have never gotten made.”

Taylor Hackford is Mr. Helen Mirren. He developed the project, wrote the screenplay and directed his wife. This one wasn’t a heavy method research role for Mirren. “I’m not playing Sally. We’ve taken that story but this isn’t a docudrama about the Confortes. I didn’t try to look like Sally. I didn’t research Sally in the way that I had researched The Queen, for example. There you have to fulfill those functions. But we say this is inspired by that story. I took the character that was on the page basically.”

In addition to creating a role suitable for Mirren’s abilities, it also offers her a romance. In this version of the story, Grace (Mirren) romances the young boxer (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) who her husband (Joe Pesci) manages.

“It’s a mystery that thing about chemistry because often people who hate each other in real life and hate each other on the set have great chemistry on the screen. And people who love each other in real life and love each other on the set have absolutely no chemistry whatsoever. So it’s very, very mysterious. No one can compute. If they could, it is the ultimate magic in a bottle, a lightening in the bottle kind of thing. And if they could work that one out, you’d be a very, very wealthy filmmaker. They can’t work it out. They keep trying to, don’t they? Cameron Diaz/Tom Cruise. Katherine Heigl/Ashton Kutcher. They keep trying. Jennifer Aniston and everybody in the world. Please! It must work with someone because we know how brilliant she is, and if we can just find that lightening, we’ve got a franchise for the next 20 years. But it’s very difficult. It doesn’t happen easily.”

Gone are the days of Tracy/Hepburn and Bogie/Bacall who could do a dozen films together. “I don’t know why. I think critics are hyper-critical and they’re just ready to say, ‘Oh that doesn’t work!’ when actually it does kind of work. It is kind of sweet. I think there’s a readiness to pull things down maybe too much. I don’t know whether that’s internet related or not and maybe it’s a fashion thing where all filmmaking goes through big fashions. This film is very unfashionable. It’s about real people. That’s incredibly unfashionable at the moment.”

Love Ranch is out in theaters.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of E1 Entertainment

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