“Older woman launches herself into outer space.”
The pitch, offered up by Helen Mirren with a giggle, remarkably has nothing to do with her role in the Fast and Furious cinematic universe, nor any real-world plan to bail on the daily drama of life on Earth. It’s how Mirren teases her installment in Amazon’s Solos, an anthology series that explores the depths of human connection of characters experiencing extreme isolation.
“It just came out of the blue, this script. It’s a monologue, where I thought, ‘Oh my god, no, I don’t want to do that. That looks like much too much work.’ But the writing just drew me in,” Mirren tells ET’s Lauren Zima of the David Weil-penned project, which, yes, sees her character take off on a shuttle bound for deep space. “Where he found this well of empathy and understanding for an older woman’s point of view, I thought was absolutely remarkable.”
Despite its high concept, Solos is more of a contemplative exercise. Mirren is saving the action for her other upcoming project: Reprising her role as criminal mastermind Magdalene Shaw in F9. The Oscar winner once said being part of The Fast and the Furious franchise was her “great ambition,” and after two previous outings as the Shaw matriarch, she gets to tick that bucket list item off in earnest. In F9, Mirren finally gets to drive.
“I finally did it, yes!” she cheers. “And what a car! And what a drive, down The Mall in London! It was the coolest thing ever.” Not only is Mirren finally behind the wheel, “But with Vin next to [me]! Driving him, I mean, that was fantastic! And I do actually know how to do a double declutch,” she says of her driving abilities, before reiterating, “And an amazing car. It was a dream. It was fantastic.”
Ironically, F9 appears to tee up the possibility of the Fast Family heading into orbit, with the franchise long-teasing the idea of an outer space-set sequel. Between Solos and the prospect of revving into orbit alongside Vin Diesel, Mirren is nonetheless happy to stay put on our pale blue dot.
“I find space terrifying. The thought of space and even going to the moon, no way. I find the whole idea just so frightening,” Mirren chuckles. “I’m very happy with Earth. And incidentally, we know so little about the natural world around us here on Earth, including our own bodies and the profundity even of the human brain, that there’s so much to investigate and explore within what we have around us that I don’t feel the need to go off to Mars, you know.”
Solos is streaming on Friday, May 21 on Prime Video.
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