The iconic actress was speaking on The Graham Norton Show – due to air tonight – about her new film All Is True when she recalled making an error during a performance of The Merchant Of Venice. The star singled out the play as her least favourite by the Bard, and it seems she has a bad memory to go along with it.
“I have never been fond of it,” she said. “Everyone in it behaves very badly.
“Against my will I did once play Portia the first year I was married and Mike [late husband Michael Williams] played Bassanio and I had a speech to him and I made a terrible, terrible mistake.
“Instead of saying, ‘I speak too long; but ’tis to peize the time, to eke it and to draw it out in length, to stay you from election’; I said ‘Erection’.
“The wind band that was about to play put down their instruments and walked off the stage in shock.
“It caused a lot of unrest!”
Discussing her new movie with Sir Kenneth Branagh, Dench said she needed next-to-no persuading to take the job.
“All the films I have done with Ken is the same story,” she explained.
“He just says, ‘I wonder if you would be interested…’ and I say ‘Yes’, and for this one I got a call from my agent to say Ken wanted to come down and talk to me about something, and I said, ‘Tell him not to come, I’ll do it.’”
Branagh interjected: “It is absolutely true. She said, ‘Don’t waste the petrol.’”
All Is True also stars Sir Ian McKellen, and tells the story of Shakespeare returning to his home in Stratford after the Globe Theatre burns down in 1613.
Branagh also directs, from a screenplay by Ben Elton.
All Is True is out on February 8. The Graham Norton Show airs tonight on BBC One.
Published at Fri, 25 Jan 2019 10:00:00 +0000