Judi Dench recalls being told she had the 'wrong face' to be a film star

·2 min read
Judi Dench played her first lead film role at the age of 63. (Getty Images)
Judi Dench played her first lead film role at the age of 63. (Getty Images)

Judi Dench has recalled being told early on in her career that she had the "wrong face" to be a film star.

The actress, 87, had her hopes dashed by an unnamed director while attending an audition in London in the 1960s.

It was a time when the star was predominantly known for appearing on stage and a little on TV, but her agent had found her possible movie role.

Speaking to The Sunday Times magazine, she said: "He was perfectly nice. But at the end he said, ‘You’ll never make a film. You have the wrong face.’

The actress (pictured in 1957) appeared in theatre and on TV for decades. (Getty Images)
The actress (pictured in 1957) appeared in theatre and on TV for decades. (Getty Images)

"And I said that is fine, I don’t like film anyway. I want to go back to the theatre.”

In 1997, at the age of 63, Dench finally secured her first lead film role – as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown.

The star since has gone on to receive an Oscar for her part as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love – and has received seven Oscar nominations, including recently for Belfast.

However, she insisted: "You can do something that is a success and then for the next thing you could go arse over tit. You can’t ever take it for granted and it’s right that we shouldn’t.”

She played her first lead film role in Mrs Brown in 1997 (pictured at a screening that year). (Getty Images)
She played her first lead film role in Mrs Brown in 1997 (pictured at a screening that year). (Getty Images)

Dench entered acting after signing up to the Central School of Speech of Drama, and then went on to join the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1961.

She has famously also appeared as 'M' in the James Bond franchise, and also TV shows like Cranford.

In 2012, the star announced that she is suffering from age-related macular degeneration – which means she now requires her scripts read out to her.

She said: "I’m slowing down only in that I can’t see to read. But I will find a way.”

Watch: Does Dame Judi Dench approve of the idea of a female James Bond?

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