“Mirren’s gift for self-possessed characters and the emotional undercurrents beneath are, apparently, the opposite of herself.
On stage, she admits she still feels anxious: “Even now I still suffer terribly from stage fright. Not every night, but at the beginning and on occasion I get sick with fear, and not necessarily when I’m expecting it.”
One of the best pieces of advice at dealing with panic came from a former headmistress, who gave her the consoling saw that the worst thing about fear is fear itself.
“I have lived by this ever since,” said Mirren. “You have to get on with it. My fears are my business and nobody else’s and I deal with it. The other thing is to pretend that you are not frightened. Act.”