Dame Judi Dench found long-lost cousins while making her latest movie.
The actress stars as Philomena Lee in Philomena, which tells the true story of a woman who searches for her son after he was taken away from her 50 years previously.
Judi adopts an Irish accent for the part and puts the success of her performance down to her family heritage.
“The secret of my success is my mother, who is from Dublin and all my relations are from Dublin,” she explained to Cover Media during a press conference for the BFI London Film Festival.
“Or, as I found out, we went to Rostrevor to film and we did some shots and I got out to change cars. This man said, ‘You know you’ve got cousins in this town? They’re coming to see you in a minute!’ I’m sorry we didn’t go to a lot more places; we could have found some more cousins!”
While Philomena is a touching and tragic tale, the film is also peppered with moments of heart-warming comedy.
The 78-year-old star developed her character’s sense of humor by speaking to Philomena and drawing on other influential people around her.
“I also have a dresser who I’ve had for 40 years, from Ireland, called Annie Hoey. She also was a tremendous link,” Judi continued.
“She said this breathtaking thing to me once. I was in Nova Scotia and she was minding my house for me. I rang her and said, ‘Everything alright?’ and she said, ‘What time is it there?’ I said, ’20 past five,’ and then she said, ‘So what time would that make it here?’ This essence, and my mum who was also very funny, this mixed bag…”
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