AN infamous 1975 interview between Helen Mirren and journalist Michael Parkinson is once more making waves online, with viewers shocked at the iconic chat show host’s sexist line of questioning.
The 41-year-old interview with Mirren, then in her late 20s, shows the actor cool as a cucumber despite a barrage of sexist questions from Parkinson that begin before she’s even summoned from backstage.
Helen's sexist interview
Parkinson introduces this “rising star of the theatre” as a “sex queen” who has been described by critics as an “amorous boa constrictor” who projects “sluttish eroticism.”
“That was sluttishly erotic for you,” she quips as she takes her seat.
From there, the interview quickly heads south: within a minute of her sitting down, Parkinson tells Mirren that “you are, in quotes, a serious actress ...”
“In quotes? What do you mean, in quotes? How dare you,” she responds.
Parkinson then asks Mirren if her “equipment” — her breasts — hinder her in her acting.
“I’d like you to explain what you mean by my equipment ... in great detail,” she retorts. “Come on, spit it out.”
“Serious actresses can’t have big bosoms, is that what you mean?”
While Parkinson argues that big breasts could detract from a performance, Mirren suggests that she hopes any performance can overcome such a distraction — and from such “boring questions.”
“Boring questions?” Parkinson asks, apparently surprised.
“Pretty boring, in the end, yeah,” she says.
It took over 30 years for Mirren to sit down on camera with Parkinson once more — and in their 2006 rematch, she told the talk show host that she’d “hated” him first time around.
“I thought you were a sexist person for mentioning my breasts, and also you wouldn’t actually say the word ‘breasts,’” she scolded him. See her take him to task 5:30 into the clip below:
Helen takes Parky to task
In a 2010 interview, Mirren described Parkinson as “an extremely creepy interviewer” and said that she was “far more polite than I should have been” during their initial talk.