Dame Judi Dench insists she has no intention of slowing down at the age of 86.
‘Retirement is not a word used in my household,’ he told me very firmly, when I talked to him this week about his new film, Belfast.
Dench, one of the few gorgeous acting actresses still working, walked the red carpet Tuesday evening for the London Film Festival gala screening of Kenneth Branagh’s outstanding autobiographical film (and major award season contender) set in Northern Ireland in 1969 But it was.
In the picture, she plays a grandmother to a young boy (11-year-old Jude Hill), whose parents (Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan) are struggling to decide whether to stay in Belfast, which is a battlefield. Descending – or leaving – for the safety of life in the UK.
Dench’s scenes with Hill, and Ciaran Hinds as her husband grandfather, are heartbreaking and hilarious.
Dame Judi Dench (featured at the European premiere of ‘Belfast’) insists that, at 86, she has no intention of slowing down
He said that there was a lot of chemistry down to his young co-star.
‘Oh he’s cute, that boy! He was very shy, but not to the extent that he was not able to play the role. There’s a wonderful, genuine, genuine sweetness about him. He is a heavenly boy.’
The film was made last year during the pandemic, and though strict security procedures were in place at all times, he described the feeling of being back on the sets of the film as ‘fantastic’. . .like being suddenly released from a cage’.
The cast and crew worked in bubbles, all masked until they had to speak their lines. Joe was tough for Dench, given his deteriorating vision (he suffers from macular degeneration), though he usually played the humorous side of it.
‘I kept going to the wrong person while I was talking, and he used to say: ‘I’m not what you think I am.’
She also admitted that she was very drawn to her Northern Irish accent. ‘I was a mischievous girl and didn’t know it properly,’ she admitted, adding that she was particularly ashamed because many of her family members are from the province (though her mother was born in Dublin).
Dench’s scenes with Hill, and Ciaran Hinds as her husband’s grandfather, are heartbreaking and hilarious
Fifteen years ago, when I dared to ask if he had ever considered leaving the profession, given how much he had already achieved, he practically denied it on me.
And she was just as furious (‘I’m barking back now!’) when I tried the same thing again, wondering if the pandemic might have changed my mind on the subject.
She admitted that the Covid crisis had affected her. She said, ‘I think your feelings are more raw. ‘There’s the uncertainty of knowing how we’re going to get out of this.’
But that wasn’t enough to put him off.
‘You don’t retire for goodness sake! You too can fall on a shelf and lie down.’ Soon, she will be seen in Alan Bennett’s drama Allelujah!, directed by Richard Eyre. Will start work on the film version of
Dench has already revealed that she can no longer read his lines; So a co-worker goes through the script with him.
He told me, ‘I left for a machine that would make it easier for me to read.’ ‘It’s a special screen that changes the size and density of the print.’
Actress Judi Dench appears in Kenneth Branaghs (featured at the film’s London Film Festival premiere on October 12) in the autobiographical film, set in 1969 in Northern Ireland.
But the fact that she continues to act, and entertain us despite such odds, has made her even more endearing (if at all possible).
When Branagh introduced him at the screening on Tuesday, the audience rose as one and gave him a standing ovation.
And it is clear that the director and the star form a mutual admiration society. ‘He was born on the tenth of December, and I was born on the ninth. . . Many years apart,’ Judy said.
‘So maybe this is something we both have to do with Sagittarius. I do not know. We have only one sense of humour, for that…