EW chats with Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith | EW.com

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EW chats with Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith

EW chats with Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith -- We talk with the acclaimed British actresses about their new film ''Ladies in Lavender,'' their close friendship, and squeaky shoes

Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith met nearly 50 years ago as novice members of London’s Old Vic Theatre. The two — perhaps Britain’s greatest living actresses — have since worked together several times, forming a close friendship. In Ladies in Lavender, Dench and Smith reunite on film for the first time since 1999’s Tea With Mussolini as sisters who take in a shipwrecked violin player in pre-WWII Cornwall. The Dames joined EW for tea. English breakfast, of course.

Maggie, I hear you’ve been calling this movie ”Lavender Bags”? MS I have indeed. [Both laugh] A term for an old bat is an old bag. [Pauses] Need I go further?

Does being friends make working together easier?

MS We know the danger areas of what might make us shriek with uncontrollable laughter. Which sometimes can be anything.

JD I had the most squeaky pair of shoes in this film. I only had to walk across the room, and it was this loud noise…[like] crickets! [Laughs] But it’s something we know about the timing, too. Maybe it’s just because we’re very, very old and have done it all!

MS I think that’s very likely.

Is stage or film more satisfying?

JD They’re such different things. Also [in theater] you have to have a kind of control…

MS Am I listening to this person?! Control? Jude! How do you have the nerve to say that? [Cackles with delight]

JD We’ve had some very tricky moments on stage. [Laughs] But it is true, isn’t it? Whereas a [film] take can get messed up, and you go back and do it again. And again and again.

MS But you can’t remake a film. You’re stuck with it forever.

Are there any of your movies you’d like to remake?

MS All of them. You see them and think, why on earth…?

JD It’s frustrating. I know my bathroom has had the best performances I’ve given, word-perfect, without laughing. And what’s to hear? The soap and the taps.