Dame Helen Mirren based Hobbs & Shaw role on her working class roots

The Oscar winner said she had to work hard to get rid of her accent.
The Oscar winner said she had to work hard to get rid of her accent. The Oscar winner said she had to work hard to get rid of her accent.

Dame Helen Mirren has said she based her role in the Fast & Furious films on her working class roots.

The Oscar winning star first appeared briefly as Magdalene Shaw, the mother of Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, in Fast & Furious 8 and returns again in the new spin-off Hobbs & Shaw.

She told PA: “My mum was born in the east end, she was born in West Ham, she left school at 14.

“On my mum’s side I come from a London working class family, I’ve never investigated how far back they go but I wouldn’t be surprised if they go quite a way back in the east end of London so it’s a little bit in my DNA, that world.

“Now obviously I have a posh actor’s accent but when I grew up I talked a lot more like that, growing up in Southend.”

She added: “I had to take elocution lessons, I had to be taught how to speak properly and when I joined the Royal Shakespeare Company I still had a bit of a Southend accent.

“In those days accents weren’t really acceptable, now they are fine.”

Dame Helen, 74, also said she revelled in the chance to make a Hollywood blockbuster where she could just have a good time.

She said: “I just love driving cars in movies, I love it, you get empty roads, you can do stuff that you can’t do in a normal car, I’ve always loved driving cars in movies and it just looked like a really fun thing to be a part of.

“It was wonderful to play the Queen, it was wonderful to play all the roles that I’ve played, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, but I just really wanted to do something where I could really have good fun.”

However, she has still not driven a car in the franchise.

She joked: “Can you believe it? What’s the matter with them?

“I was hoping but it will come, we have to pay our dues before we get the prize.”

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is out now in UK cinemas.