Cinema/Chicago and the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival held its spring gala at the Loews Hotel Chicago on May 24.
After cocktails and appetizers, two of the celebrity hosts walked the red carpet to answer a few questions for Windy City Times. Academy Award winners Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford met after he directed her in the 1985 White Nights film that premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival.
WCT recently spoke with two of the stars about the upcoming Disney film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: Eugenio Derbez and Richard E. Grant. Mirren also stars in the adaptation of the E.T.A. Hoffman book The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, so she talked about it also. Mirren said, "It was a wonderful experience. We are very used to doing films with low budgets. While those films are fantastic with a unique energy, this one had a big budget. There were huge sets and incredible costumes. Every day walking on the set was like walking into a magical dream."
Her upcoming horror film Winchester has her starring as Sarah Winchester, a firearm heiress haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester Repeating Rifle. "It takes place in the famous Winchester house in San Jose, but in the early days of it being built," Mirren said. "There are a lot of stories about Sarah Winchester, but we chose to treat it as a ghost story." Her character visits San Francisco psychiatrist Eric Price and, although he is not gay in the film, Mirren stated that she is "absolutely and totally supportive of gay rights. In my world, we owe that society a huge debt." The couple mentioned they would be open to making a LGBT film of some sort in the future if the opportunity presented itself.
Journalist Bill Kurtis interviewed the two talented artists during dinner at the venue as the gala drew to a close.
For more information on the film festival's events and screenings, visit ChicagoFilmFestival.com .
Text and photos by Jerry Nunn