Helen Mirren, the 70 year-old actress, who portrays gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in Trumbo, said meeting her real-life alter-ego in person would have terrified her. Ahead of the film’s European premiere at the BFI London Film Festival tonight, she said: “She would have scared the s**t out of me. Actually, a lot of journalists scare the s**t out of me. I have never been a big fan of celebrity journalism. I find it kind of boring.”
Dame Helen, who has made headlines with her bikini body and youthful looks, said online comments particularly are “nerve-wracking”.
“In our business, we have to be open to the press. It is an essential part of the job. But at the same time, (I feel like) I’m about to fall off the wire into the pit of snarling snakes,” she added.
Trumbo, which has been directed by Jay Roach, stars Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston as Oscar-winning Hollywood film-maker Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted for his political beliefs on communism in 1947.
Cranston said: “I think the message resonates internationally, when a government overreaches its powers and the press breach the civil rights of a citizen. That’s cause for alarm. It happened in the United States and this man went to prison for nearly a year without committing a crime. It’s a cautionary tale.”
The 59 year-old actor laughed off any awards buzz surrounding his performance, saying: “That’s not something I focus on. I want to make the best film possible – this is an important story told in an entertaining way.”
Cranston also said there is a “self-imposed” blacklist that continues to exist in Hollywood today, citing the example of Mel Gibson, who was accused of abusive behaviour towards his Russian ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and has also been involved in allegations of anti-semitism and homophobia.
He explained: “Any misbehaviour is certainly bad. It depends on the sensitivity of the behaviour, so if you have skeletons coming out of your closet that exposes abnormal behaviour, you could find yourself on that blacklist because people don’t want to work with you.”
Cranston also explained how he had once been attached to a film with OJ Simpson many years ago, following his trial over the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman.
He said: “As actors started hearing about that, they started dropping out and the movie fell apart because it wasn’t possible to sustain it. I hope there aren’t any political or sexual orientation blacklists – I think we are moving out of that as a society and that’s a great thing.
“There’s probably a list of people who don’t want to hire certain people. For me, there are many people I would not want to work with again after 35 years.”
Both Cranston and Dame Helen will be joined by co-stars John Goodman and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje at the film’s premiere in London’s Leicester Square tonight.
Trumbo opens in UK cinemas nationwide on February 5, 2016.