It’s common knowledge that Hollywood’s elite gravitate towards one another; after all, who can better understand the pressure of the limelight than another star? Most of the time these celebrity pairings make sense; for example when Game of Throne’s Stark sisters Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams gave us ultimate friendship goals, or when Taylor Swift jetted off to her Rhode Island beach house to celebrate July 4th with her squad of models, actors, and fellow singers. But every once in a while, a celebrity ship crops up that’s a little more atypical.
Such is the case with Oscar-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren and comedian-turned-film star Russell Brand, who met in 2009 on the set of Julie Taymor’s Shakespeare remake, The Tempest. While the movie was a box office flop, it sparked a (platonic) love affair for the ages. In fact, Brand and Mirren hit it off so well that Brand dedicated an entire chapter of his autobiographical book, Booky Wook 2, to her, titling it “Mummy Helen.” (In trademark comedic fashion, Brand also went into detail about all the unmentionable things he’d like to do with Mirren’s Oscar, which she won for her portrayal of The Queen in 2007.) Joking aside, it’s clear the duo transcended a 30-year age difference to connect on a deep level. Here’s a look into Brand and Mirren’s relationship.
Helen Mirren 'melts' in Russell Brand's presence
In 2011, Helen Mirren lavished praise upon her Tempest and Arthur co-star by talking up his appeal with women. “The penny dropped for me fairly recently with Russell,” the actress told BBC America. “The thing about him is he likes women, and not a lot of men do. That’s why women like him. He’s genuinely interested in us. Women melt in his presence.” Mirren further reinforced Russell Brand’s charm in an interview the pair gave to Collider, claiming that he’d “seduced” her into joining his comedy remake, Arthur. “I defy male, female or age-appropriate child to spend two hours with Russell and not be completely charmed, and just say, ‘Yeah, fine. I’ll do whatever you want,'” Mirren said.
Brand reciprocated her feelings and felt they shared more than just on-screen chemistry. “I’m a bit in love with Helen,” he confessed to Collider. “I was very excited about the possibility of working with her.” Once he envisioned Mirren’s role in Arthur, “for me, that was the idea that made the film feasible,” Brand added.
Russell Brand once gave Helen Mirren a pair of his underwear
It’s not unusual for co-stars to exchange gifts, but the present Russell Brand gave Helen Mirren is truly next-level. According to People, the pair became so close while working together on Arthur that Brand presented Mirren with a pair of his underwear once filming wrapped. The item is significant to the movie, as Brand donned nothing but black socks and colorful briefs for a pivotal wedding scene that he shot inside a church. Despite the unorthodox nature of the gift, Mirren was touched, proving she and Brand share a similar sense of humor.
“I’m going to frame them and hang them over my bed,” the Oscar winner joked to reporters at a 2011 Producers Guild of America Awards ceremony, per People. Brand also gave Mirren a diamond-encrusted safety pin to mark their time together, which she “wears around my neck, all the time,” according to Digital Spy.
Was romance ever in the cards for Russell Brand and Helen Mirren?
Russell Brand and Helen Mirren immediately clicked, but was there ever a love connection? The two definitely got tongues wagging over their flirtatious dynamic when Mirren gave Brand a bath in 2011, according to Us Weekly. All in the name of art, of course! “At last. A bath from Helen Mirren,” Brand tweeted. “Never has getting clean been more dirty.” When describing Mirren to People, Brand used words like “confidence,” “potency,” “female energy” and “roaring estrogen,” crediting Mirren’s “potency” as the X factor that enabled her to play queens and leaders.
In a 2011 interview with Stylist, Mirren was asked point-blank whether Brand ever “tried it on with her.” “I was hoping that he would,” the star replied, “but he never did. We did get into bed with each other, didn’t we? I mean, we did a scene in bed.” Brand, who was married at the time to singer Katy Perry, reminded Mirren it wouldn’t have been appropriate, given they were both adults in committed relationships. Brand famously split with Perry in 2011 after just 14 months of marriage, as per InStyle, while Mirren has been married to Taylor Hackford since 1997, according to Express. Maybe a love match wasn’t meant to be, but this friendship certainly seems to be kismet.
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