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

Helen Mirren reprises her role of Magdalene Shaw in the Fast & Furious spin-off (Matt Crossick/PA)
Helen Mirren reprises her role of Magdalene Shaw in the Fast & Furious spin-off (Matt Crossick/PA)

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.

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