Dame Helen Mirren says the late Alan Rickman would have been 'proud' of his last movie


Dame Helen Mirren has said her late co-star Alan Rickman would have been "proud" of Eye In The Sky.

During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, the 70-year-old discussed her latest movie in which she plays Colonel Katherine Powell, who is in command of a top secret operation.

Alan, who died in January from cancer aged 69, co-stars as Lieutenant General Frank Benson.

Dame Helen Mirren on Graham Norton
Dame Helen Mirren on Graham Norton (Ian West/PA)

"He is fantastic. It was his last film and it's a movie he would be very proud of," Dame Helen told Graham. "What I love about the film is that it's Alan as I knew Alan - a brilliant character actor, funny, urbane, intelligent and very human. It's really great to see him up there," she said.

Asked why her character had been changed from the original male one, Dame Helen said the decision prompts a "philosophical discussion".

"I think the director very astutely understood that by making it a woman the film couldn't easily be dismissed as a sort of macho boys' movie about war. Making it a woman really opens up the philosophical discussion about what we are prepared to do in war much more deeply."

Asked about appearing in another action film, Dame Helen opted for the Fast And Furious franchise.

"It would be incredible fun to do those movies - you don't act!" she said. "That and cars is a dream come true."

Comedian Ricky Gervais spoke about bringing The Office's David Brent to the big screen. "He is a man out of his time," the 54-year-old said. "It is funny but sad."

Ricky Gervais on Graham Norton
Ricky Gervais on Graham Norton (Ian West/PA)

He added: "It's 15 years later and we find out what happened after The Office documentary went out: his breakdown and his dreams of being a pop star. It's tragic."

Australian actor Eric Bana, best known for playing Hulk in Ang Lee's Marvel Comics film, shared anecdotes about starring alongside The Office creator.

Ricky and Eric feature in upcoming movie Special Correspondents, which the David Brent actor also wrote and directed.

Eric Bana on Graham Norton
Eric Bana on Graham Norton (Ian West/PA)

"I was in shock that he knew who I was," Eric admitted before joking: "The script was terrible, but I was humbled!"

Ricky said: "I cast you because I thought you were broody and a real action man. And then I found out he was just an idiot like me!"

Fellow guest Ewan McGregor opened up about Trainspotting 2. The first instalment in 1996 made the Scottish actor a star following his acclaimed performance as heroin addict Mark Renton.

Ewan McGregor on Graham Norton
Ewan McGregor on Graham Norton (Ian West/PA)

"We are filming it in the summer," he said of the sequel. "It's going to be good and it's been a long time coming. It has more or less the same team, certainly the same actors, and an absolutely blinding script loosely based on the second book."

He continued: "It is great to be back together. We had a secret read-through and it was really moving to hear those characters again. It wasn't easy."

The 45-year-old admitted the cast had misgivings about "stepping back into quite large shoes".

Host Graham Norton, Dame Helen Mirren, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana and Ricky Gervais
Host Graham Norton, Dame Helen Mirren, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana and Ricky Gervais (Ian West/PA)

Oscar-winner Kevin Costner sat on the sofa to talk about his latest movie Criminal, which reunites him with JFK co-stars Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones.

The Dances With Wolves star also told Graham about an encounter with Professor Stephen Hawking

"I got a call from him asking to come and see me," he said.

Kevin Costner on Graham Norton
Kevin Costner on Graham Norton (Ian West/PA)

"It was weird to have this man in my living room and when I asked him what he would like to talk about he said, 'Whitney Houston and The Bodyguard'. So that's what we did."

Music on The Graham Norton show comes from All About That Bass singer Meghan Trainor.