Helen Mirren is curiously absent from the Harry Potter movie franchise which turned out to be an act of full employment for Britain’s great actors. But he has found his own way to his magical world.
Dame Helen, as the Oscar, Emmy and Tony winning actress is duly directed, makes her debut as a pageant host with Harry Potter: Hogwarts House Tournament. The four-part weekly series begins at 8 p.m. EST on Sunday on TBS and Cartoon Network.
In episode one, contestants representing Gryffindor and Hufflepuff host trivia questions about the field of JK Rowling’s made-to-film novels in an attempt to claim a trophy and championship prizes.
Helen Mirren left the crowding to the players and is not worried about being a rookie game show emcee.
“I can certainly play a strict host,” she said, amused.
Mirren’s willingness to take on something different shouldn’t surprise us. She is best known for her royal roles, including The Queen, Elizabeth I, and Catherine the Great, but she also counts the Fast & the Furious movie franchise among her many credits.
Her return to a comic book project is coming up – play a mythological goddess in Shazam! Fury of the gods. Mirren’s baptism into the genre came with the movie Red and its sequel.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Helen Mirren spoke about her admiration for the Potter canon, making a television fashion statement and female bonding on the set of the DC Comics-based film. Comments have been edited for clarity and length.
You’ve had an eclectic acting career and now you’re adding your first game show to your resume.
Absolutely, that’s why I signed up. I am always ready for a little adventure. Also, of course, it’s a wonderful subject and in a great moment, the 20th anniversary (of The Philosopher’s Stone, the first Potter movie). And the very fact that I was never in any Harry Potter movie, much to my chagrin, I must add. It was a great way to be able to participate in all the extraordinary phenomenon that is Harry Potter.
Are you a fan of stories?
What I remember very clearly was when the entire Harry Potter world began to grow. The most magical thing is the way the books were passed from hand to hand between the children, and the adults did not know anything about it. Not that it was published with great fanfare. Many of the people who will compete (on the show) will be in their 20s, 30s and 40s, but will have prior experience with Harry Potter as children.
Have you watched any television competition shows for advice or sought advice on lodging?
I thought about playing it by ear and being as natural as possible. Personally, I am very excited about it, so I look forward to communicating it. I’ll probably be as nervous as the contestants themselves, and try to hide it.
You’re not playing a role with the costume dictated by your character, but was there a certain look you wanted as a host?
That is an interesting question. The set, as you will see, is so extraordinary, it is a beautiful, beautiful world of Harry Potter that they have built. So I wanted what she was wearing to reflect a slight wardrobe feel. And in a way, I’m playing a kind of character. So yeah, I wanted it to have a sense of costume and presentation. It has a slight sense of vintage and a sense of belonging to that world.
In the sequel to Shazam! you play Hespera, daughter of Atlas. Is she a hero or a villain?
I’m not going to give you the answer to that. You are going to have to check it out for yourself. I am a member of three goddesses: Lucy Liu as Kalypso and the third goddess played by Rachel Zegler, who will be a huge star in no time. So there are three of us together, and that was really a great experience because it’s so rare that you can spend an entire movie with two other women. Very often you are the only woman in the cast. We were a threesome here, and that was great. I loved.