"Elizabeth I" — with Mirren and Irons — Debuts on HBO April 22

News   "Elizabeth I" — with Mirren and Irons — Debuts on HBO April 22 Stage and screen veterans Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons head the cast of the new HBO Films miniseries "Elizabeth I," which debuts on the cable network April 22 and 23.
Helen Mirren in
Helen Mirren in "Elizabeth I"

Mirren stars in the title role, with Irons as the Earl of Leicester. The company also features Hugh Dancy as the Earl of Essex, Ian McDiarmid (Faith Healer) as Burghley and Patrick Malahide as Sir Francis Walsingham.

"Elizabeth I" was directed by Tom Hopper. The script, which was penned by screenwriter-novelist Nigel Williams, "explores the intersection of the private and public life of Elizabeth I in the latter half of her reign, offering a personal look at her allies, her enemies and her suitors as she struggled to survive in a male-dominated world."

"The whole story," actress Mirren said in a statement, "is about how the personal and the political come together, and split apart, and come together. So you have this very strong, iconic creature, and within that iconic creature there is an absolutely real person with insecurities and fears and questions and passions. As I've played Elizabeth, I’ve come to deeply understand how those two images exist within the same person, and it gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like to be her."

Adds Jeremy Irons, "Elizabeth is changeable and moody, but she is incredibly strong and politically clever, and the Earl of Leicester, her lifelong friend, adores her with a passion. Much of our story is about her decision to remain unmarried for political ends, despite their mutual love for each other."

Helen Mirren has been seen on Broadway in Dance of Death and A Month in the Country, earning Tony nominations for both performances. She was Oscar-nominated for her roles in "Gosford Park" and "The Madness of King George," and she won Emmy Awards for her work in "The Passion of Ayn Rand" and "Prime Suspect 4: Scent of Darkness." Mirren's many other film credits include "Calendar Girls," "Raising Helen," "Last Orders," "Teaching Mrs. Tingle," "Some Mother's Son," "Cal," "The Mosquito Coast" and "The Comfort of Strangers." Jeremy Irons won a Tony Award for his performance in the original Broadway production of The Real Thing. The English actor also won Academy and Golden Globe awards for his work in the 1990 film "Reversal of Fortune." Irons was also Golden-Globe nominated for "The Mission" and "Brideshead Revisited." Among his London stage credits are Embers and The Rover.

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Helen Mirren with Jeremy Irons in "Elizabeth I."
Helen Mirren with Jeremy Irons in "Elizabeth I."