Dame Judi Dench, currently starring in London in David Hare's hit play Amy's View and the recent winner of a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Queen Victoria in the film Mrs. Brown, is about to play another English queen -- Elizabeth I -- in the movie Shakespeare in Love, which begins production in spring 1998, according to Variety.
Filming will begin once Amy's View completes its limited West End run in April.
Shakespeare in Love, with a script by Tom Stoppard, is to be directed by Mrs. Brown's John Madden. The film depicts the Bard writing a play (Romeo and Juliet) while a parallel love story is developing in his personal life.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Colin Firth, and 1997 Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush (a former stage star in his native Australia) are set to co-star in the film.
Dench, 63, is one of Great Britain's most beloved actresses. She is a multiple Olivier Award-winner; most recently she took home two Oliviers (London's equivalent of the "Tony") in 1996 -- one for Best Actress in Absolute Hell, the other for Best Actress in a Musical for A Little Night Music. She has been touted by The New York Times as the one performer assured a best actress nomination (for Mrs. Brown) when the Oscar hopefuls are named later this month.
Dench was interviewed in the London Times in December 1997 and had this to say about stage versus screen acting: "I'm squeamish about seeing myself on screen; I don't like it. A friend saw Tomorrow Never Dies [in which Dench portrayed "M," a role she has played in several Bond films] and said, 'Do be prepared; your face is bigger than your house.'" The Bond film, Dench told the interviewer, is proof positive of what the theatre offers that all too many films do not. "It's not witty. I mean, it's wonderful for chases and all those things, but somehow you long for real lines.
"It it's a question of film or theatre, theatre will probably always win out," Dench concluded.
It's a good thing, because the actress has said she is planning to come to Broadway in Amy's View in the spring of 1999.
-- By Rebecca Paller