|The ever gorgeous, Helen Mirren.|
You are no doubt aware of the Proust questionnaire. Vanity Fair has been doing it for years and various other publications find it’s a great one-page feature that adds a touch of interest to their formats.
The idea is that a few very specific questions tell us more about a person than a classic interview where one can easily embroider or finesse the responses.
Recently, our beloved Helen Mirren was subjected to the exercise in Figaro Madame magazine. I thought you might be as interested in her replies as I was. It’s true, one definitely sees another aspect of an individual’s personality with the questions. Here then follows the translation of most of her Proust Q&A:
FM: What is the principal trait of your character?
HM: I’m enormously lazy.
FM: What’s the song you whistle in the shower?
HM: I am not at all musical. I don’t whistle in the shower.
FM: What’s your trick to combat stress?
FM: What’s your favorite drink?
HM: A vodka gimlet: lime juice with, preferably, Russian vodka.
FM: What is your hobby?
HM: I sew and I paint miniatures.
FM: What is the greatest accomplishment in your life?
HM: My freedom. It has given me the the possibility to choose marriage — or not. Children — or not.
FM: What do you do before you enter on stage?
HM: Nothing. I’m not at all superstitious, which I know is rare in the theater.
FM: What is your strongest characteristic?
HM: A sense of humor in all situations and a positive attitude in my work and my private life.
FM: Who would you invite to the perfect dinner party chez vous?
HM: Impossible. I never give dinner parties.
FM: What is the gift you most often give?
HM: Flowers, jonquils and tulips.
FM:How do you define ‘elegance’?
HM: Simplicity and imagination.
FM: What is the ultimate luxury for you?
HM: A holiday ‘en amoureux‘ at the Cipriani hotel in Venise.
FM: What talent do you wish you had?
HM: To sing like La Callas.
FM: Who is your favorite writer?
HM: Ivan Tourgueniev.
FM: What book is on your bed table?
HM: The autobiography of Mark Twain and “Trespass” by Rose Tremain — a ‘thriller’ based in the Lubéron.
FM: Who is your favorite actor or actress?
HM: A very difficult question for me. . .Anna Magnani.
FM: What voyage would you like to take?
HM: [I would like to watch] the scenery of the French countryside in a train.
FM: What is your favorite word?
HM:‘No’. And, ‘Stop now!’.
FM: Is there anything ‘royal’ about you?
HM: Nothing at all. I am the daughter of peasants.
FM: What is the phrase you find unnerving?
HM: ‘What are you doing there?’
FM: What do you hate more than anything?
HM: No taxis when it’s raining.
FM: Who are your heros?
HM: The psychotherapist, Camila Batmanghelidjh and those [like she] who have consecrated their lives to help others. And, of course, my husband, Taylor Hackford. We have been together for 27 years and married for eleven.
FM: What would you like people to say about you?
HM: ‘She is tough’, (Dure in French, meaning hard.). In reality I’m not at all.