Helen Mirren brings the sizzle, and possibly the soap

Think saucy and classy and a nice Hollandaise probably comes to mind. But the true master of that most savory of combinations is one amazing dame: Helen Mirren. The Oscar winner and inspirer of lascivious thoughts for nearly four decades is as simultaneously saucy and classy as ever in an interview with New York magazine.

Heck, and that’s not even mentioning the pictures. The ones where she is naked. In a bathtub. Yes, naked in a bathtub.

If you are young and impressionable you may want to feast avert your eyes from this one. (NSFW.)

Now, what makes Helen so great and shots of her lounging suggestively in the tub so scintillating is that a) she owns her age and b) she knows what she is doing. Helen understands that while sex has and will always sell, you’d best be in charge of your own purse strings — so to speak. As she told the magazine about how she handled her sexuality when she was younger:

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.”

And Helen has praise for today’s crop of female stars who are taking charge of their own sexuality. As she said, “I much prefer overt sexuality to sleazy, vulgar prurience.”

I’m thrilled young girls are claiming their sexuality for themselves,” she says. “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.

My girls: Miley, Scarlett, Lady Gaga. My team … Yes.

Lord, could you imagine all four of them out on the town together? The universe might explode.

Helen’s next two films will give us a chance to see her explosive side — both of her sexuality and with some really big guns. That last one isn’t even a euphemism, I swear. In the first she plays the madam of a ’70s Reno brothel, in the second a retired CIA itching to get back in the game.

Love Ranch, which opens in limited release next week, is based on the true story of the infamous Mustang Ranch, the first legalized brothel in Nevada. Helen and Joe Pesci star as its husband-and-wife team owners. Spanish star Sergio Peris-Mencheta plays a boxer who comes to the ranch and becomes Helen’s lover and Gina Gershon plays one of the prostitutes.

Looks good, no? Also, any movie that makes Helen say, as she did to New York: “It’s amazing how quickly you get into dildos everywhere and pink-feather handcuffs. Within an hour you’re completely used to it.” is a movie worth seeing in my book.

And then there’s RED, which opening in October. Once I tell you who is in the cast you’ll be sold already. But go ahead and watch the trailer anyway because seeing Helen, Mary Louise Parker, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich together in one film is even better than it sounds.

I’m not sure which film I’m more excited for. But I know anything that lets Helen be saucy, classy and potentially lethal is a reason to celebrate in my book.

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