They’re four of the most legendary faces on screen with careers spanning decades, but now a previously unseen trailer for their revealing documentary has landed in the US, shedding an incredible new light on what Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Joan Plowright and Dame Eileen Atkins are really like away from their work.
Tea with the Dames follows the four legendary actresses as they meet up for one of their regular countryside catch-ups. While they’ve been enjoying the meet-ups secretly for years, they welcomed a camera crew to film them this time round – with amazing results.
The documentary enjoyed a brief stint in Australian cinemas in June and is now soaring to fame once again over in the States, as new footage has been released teasing a string of sassy conversations, witty outbursts and of course some shocking admissions.
The trailer begins with all four women doing hilarious vocal warm ups before posing for a photo together out on a sprawling English lawn. However, they’re less than impressed with their camera crew from the word go.
“That’s an awful angle. It’s not fair to old ladies,” Atkins jokes as Smith laughs before asking a photographer: “Is it your first day?”
However, it just paves the way for more one-liners to come as the ladies then move inside and are asked by the director to discuss “getting old”. A less than impressed Dench immediately fires back: “F*** off Roger!”
Despite her reluctance, age does eventually come up in their conversation as Plowright asks her to recall what she told a producer once before joining the 1987 National Theatre production of Antony and Cleopatra.
“[I said] ‘Are you sure you want a menopausal to play this part’?” Dench recalls, getting laughs from her friends around the table.
Meanwhile, the others begin talking about the 1960s, before Smith is asked how she found working with her husband. Always ready with a witty response, she jokes: “I’m just trying to think which one!” The attention then moves to Plowright who chats about working with her ex-husband Lawrence Olivier, to which Smith adds: “Well, we all found him tricky. I think I scared the wits out of him from time to time.”
Finally towards the end of the clip, Plowright asks: “Do you think we ought to have a glass of champagne round this one?” To which Smith replies: “Why didn’t anybody think of that a few hours ago?”
Cheers to that!
Directed by Roger Michell, the film sees each actress talking about their own career and how their lives changed as they made it big in theatre, television and movies. With their ages combined, the four are 342 years old and have been working in the industry for more than seven decades.
Despite being in their eighties, all women have projects they’re currently working on. Dench has recently finished filming Red Joan and is currently working on a film called Artemis Fowl. Smith recently voiced her Harry Potter character for a new video game, while Atkins appeared in the recent Doc Martin series and in children’s film Paddington 2.