December 8th, 2010
07:00 PM ET
Halle Berry may have thought she was paying Helen Mirren a compliment when she called her "hot" at the Hollywood Reporter's December 7 Women in Entertainment breakfast, but her words might have left "The Tempest" star steaming.
Presenting the 65-year-old actress with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, Berry told her, "Helen, you have single-handedly, all by yourself, broken down that barrier because you can age, you can do films that are successful, and you can still be hot as hell!"
So what's the problem? "The Queen" star says she hates being hailed for her appearance. "We have to let go of this crap," Mirren tells the Hollywood Reporter, admitting that she feels "cross" when the media focuses on her sex appeal.
"It creates even more pressure on women, and I certainly don’t want to be a part of that," she explains. "I’m not beautiful; I clean up nice. Why don’t we talk about the fact, for example, that I just did 'Arthur,' and the cinematographer was a woman, the film operator was a woman, the whole camera team were women? That’s where we should be putting our attention. The fact that I look good at the age I am is bloody irrelevant."
That's not to say Mirren isn't aware of Hollywood's obsession with youth and with young men in particular.
"I resent in my life the survival of some very mediocre male actors and the professional demise of some very brilliant female ones," Mirren said when accepting her award from 44-year-old Berry. "However, with all due respect to you many brilliant and successful women in this room... really not too much has changed in the canon of Hollywood filmmaking that continues to worship at the altar of the 18- to 25-year-old male and his penis. Quite small, I always think."
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