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Judi Dench reveals harsh director remark that delayed her debut lead film role by 30 years

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Judi Dench has revealed a harsh audition experience that delayed her lead film role debut by 30 years.

The actor was a star of theatre, with a small number of TV roles to her name, in the 1960s. But she decided to auditon for a film after her agent secured her time in front of a director.

“He was perfectly nice, but at the end he said, ‘You’ll never make a film; you have the wrong face,’” Dench told The Sunday Times in a new interview.

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

Dench did exactly this, and it wasn’t until 1997, when she was 63, that Dench was cast in her first ever lead role in a film: Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown.

Previously, Dench had supportining turns in A Room with a View (1985) and James Bond film Goldeneye (199), in which she made her debut as M.

Judi Dench made her film lead debut in 1997 (Getty Images)
Judi Dench made her film lead debut in 1997 (Getty Images)

Dench followed up her lead role in Mrs Brown with performances in Iris (2001), Notes on a Scandal (2006) and Philomena (2013).

For Shakespeare in Love (1998), she won Best Supporting Actress for just eight minutes of screen time.

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