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Helen Mirren's 'Calendar Girls'

As one of Britain's most versatile and acclaimed actresses, Helen Mirren has found a comfortable place on the American movie screen as well.

In the new comedy, "Calendar Girls," she and a group of women meet opposition after an idea for their traditional calendar fundraiser takes a radical twist -- the women will pose in the nude.

Mirren discussed her new movie on Wednesday's The Early Show.

"Calendar Girls" was inspired by the real-life story of the Rylstone and District Women's Institute. In April 1999, the group published their 2000 calendar to raise money for the local hospital. But, the mature women's pictures shocked some, and before they knew it, they were hitting the headlines at home and abroad.

"I first heard about it in America," Mirren says. "I remember there was a big article in the New York Times and it made me very proud of my country."

Performing in the nude is something not new to acting veteran, but her co-stars were a little apprehensive.

"They had never done a nude scene before," Mirren explains. "I was the old hand, so I was giving them advice. And I was a cheerleader -- a lot like my character is. But, you know, they're professional actresses, and I think they were quite thrilled with the idea."

Tune in Wednesday to The Early Show to view Helen Mirren's interview.

Some Facts About Helen Mirren:

  • Ilynea Lydia Mironoff was born in Chiswick, England on July 26, 1946.
  • In 1965, Mirren played Cleopatra at the Old Vic with the National Youth Theater at age 18.
  • In 1967, Mirren joined the Royal Shakespeare Company.
  • In 1967, Mirren made her television debut in the BBC production of "Herostradus."
  • In 1974, Mirren starred opposite Michael Jayston in the ABC thriller, "Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill."
  • In 1975, Mirren starred opposite Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates and Malcolm McDowell in the British television adaptation of Harold Pinter's play, "The Collection."
  • In 1979, Mirren played the love interest to Bob Hoskins' gangster in the acclaimed "The Long Good Friday."
  • In 1981, the actress was featured as Morgana (aka Morgan Le Fey) in John Boorman's "Excalibur."
  • In 1984, Mirren played a widow of a British soldier, who falls in love with the young Irishman responsible for her husband's death in "Cal"; she earned the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • In 1984, Mirren was cast as a Russian astronaut in "2010."
  • In 1985, Mirren met her future husband Taylor Hackford when he directed her in "White Nights."
  • In 1986, Mirren starred opposite Harrison Ford in "The Mosquito Coast."
  • In 1988, the actress starred opposite Ben Kingsley in "Pascali's Island."
  • In 1989, she had the title role of the cheating spouse in "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover."
  • In 1995, Mirren made her Broadway debut in "A Month in the Country"; received a Tony nomination.
  • In 1998, Mirren was the voice of the queen in the animated feature "The Prince of Egypt."
  • In 1999, Mirren starred in the Showtime film "The Passion of Ayn Rand"; she received an Emmy Award.
  • In 1999, Mirren was cast as the titular educator in the black comedy "Teaching Mrs. Tingle."
  • In 2001, Mirren acted in "The Pledge," which was directed by Sean Penn.
  • In 2001, Mirren directed the short film "Happy Birthday" (filmed 2000); it aired on Showtime as part of "Directed By" series in the edition entitled "On the Edge."
  • In 2001, Mirren played the efficient housekeeper Mrs. Wilson in "Gosford Park"; she earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for the role.
  • In 2002, Mirren starred in the television feature of "Tennessee Williams' The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone"; she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.
  • In 2002, Mirren co-starred in the television feature "Door to Door"; received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.