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Posted at 10:33 AM ET, 06/22/2010

Forget the bikini shots, Helen Mirren goes topless in new photo spread

By Liz Kelly

"What I really fancy is getting a bit notorious..." -- Helen Mirren in 1974.

It may have taken Helen Mirren 34 years, but the Ocar-winning actress cemented that notoriety in 2008 when -- at age 63 -- she was snapped sporting a saucy red bikini while vacationing. And now she's topped herself. Or un-topped herself, depending on how you look at it. In the latest issue of New York Magazine, Mirren ditched the bikini to go topless in a new photo spread.

Mirren photographed by Juergen Teller. (Courtesy New York Magazine)

(Well, kind of. Mirren is indeed sans top unless you happen to count cloudy bathwater as clothing. Though some of the pix are still slightly NSFW -- so be guarded if you decide to click in from the office.)

It probably isn't coincidental that Mirren is reminding us of her wild side just days before her new movie, "Love Ranch," opens in theaters. In the film, directed by husband Taylor Hackford, Mirren plays a madam presiding over Nevada's first legal brothel. (Look for our pal Bai Ling in the movie, too.) But, like the photo spread and the movie, the accompanying interview reminds us just why it is that Mirren, at 65, does notorious better than most women half her age. As one commenter on the NY Mag website wrote, "She puts the "sex" in sexagenarian!" Indeed.

Below, a few choice quotes...

On her bad girl potential (and we think she underestimates herself):
"I'm still the good girl who wants to be a bad girl. But I'll never make it as a bad girl ... I'm not a prude or a moralist and I never have been, but I'm too fearful, too much of a wimp, really."

On using her sexuality to advance her early career:
"The Playboy Mansion, coke, and the rise of all that -- Guccione and Hefner always pushed it as liberation, but it didn't seem like that to me. That was women obeying the sexualized form created by men -- though maybe we always do that, because we want to be attractive. But I was kind of a trailblazer because I demanded to do it my own way. I'd say, 'I'm not having it put on me by someone else.' I didn't want to be the sort of puritanical good girl with a little white collar who says, 'Don’t shag until you get married.'"

On today's crop of wanna-be provocative entertainers:
"I love bold women: Madonna and Scarlett Johansson -- sexy and gorgeous, but not only that. And Miley Cyrus -- fantastic! And Lady Gaga. I love the way she’s elevated pop to performance art, or dragged performance art down to pop, or maybe made a wonderful amalgam of the two."

Whats your take? Is Mirren, like Betty White, a trailblazer for Hollywood's elder stateswomen or is she merely a canny self-promoter? A little bit of both? And, hey, is there really anything wrong with a little well-done self promotion?

By Liz Kelly  | June 22, 2010; 10:33 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  | Tags:  Helen Mirren  
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I was with her all the way, till Miley Cyrus. Please reconsider.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 22, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Helen Mirren topless- big deal! Check out 'The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, and her Lover' (1989). She goes the full monty in that one. Very artistically, of course.

Posted by: justmike | June 22, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I was all for "Helen Mirren does notorious with class" until she got to Miley Cyrus. Miley is only 17. She should not be do anything notorious.

I do appreciate her comment about the Playboy Mansion, et al. It is not liberating, it's objectifying.

Posted by: epjd | June 22, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I only hope I look that good in a bath tub when I'm 65.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | June 22, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

What a Dame!

Bai Ling is a pal of yours? I thought Liz thought she was "bat guano crazy." She was been linked to Mickey Rourke recently, and he hasn't been human since Helen was a damsel.

Posted by: kabuki3 | June 22, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Helen's just in that bathtub to promote her latest venture, "Grime Suspect."

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | June 22, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what they say about old shoes applies here.

Posted by: reddragon1 | June 22, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Any kerfluffle over these photos is a tempest in a teacup. Helen looks great, and there's only one racy shot where she shows nipples. She looks great, although in the first photo she looks like a deer in headlights.

Posted by: Californian11 | June 22, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

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