Helen Mirren dramedy 'The Duke' tells true tale of humane thief

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FILE PHOTO: 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards
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By Alicia Powell

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An unlikely art heist by a compassionate cab driver over 60 years ago is now a fun dramedy starring British actors Dame Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent.

"The Duke," out in New York and Los Angeles theaters on Friday, follows 60-year-old Kempton Bunton as he steals Spanish master Francisco de Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London in 1961.

The thief sends ransom notes saying he will return the painting on condition that the British government invests more for elderly care.

"I didn't know anything about this story. I was like, really? Did this really happen?" said Mirren.

"That's what makes it a great story. You couldn't sell it as a fiction," added Broadbent.

The filming wrapped right before COVID shutdowns in 2020.

"I remember what filming was like. It was gorgeous," Broadbent said. "It was fun and it was a delight."

"It was that last moment of freedom and easy access with each other," added Mirren.

Director Roger Michell passed away in September at age 65.

The film is part of New York's Angelika Film Center and Sony Pictures Classics 'Bring A Friend Back To The Movies' initiative to encourage audiences to return to the theater.

(Reporting by Alicia Powell; Writing by Richard Chang; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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