In “The Debt,” Helen Mirren plays a retired Israeli spy and Nazi hunter who is haunted by one of her past missions. The 66-year-old actress says she was drawn to the role because of the lack of “proactive” roles for women in Hollywood.

“I think the fact that it was a proactive role for a woman my age. Really proactive roles are comparatively rare for me,” Mirren said at the premiere of “The Debt,” in an interview posted at “I’ve been very lucky, I got to do ‘Red’ and the Tolstoy film and this and all of those roles have been very proactive, but all very different from each other. That was a good couple of years for me.”

Jessica Chastain, who also stars in the current box office champ “The Help,” plays a younger version of Mirren in flashback scenes set in the 1960s. The two only worked together one afternoon during the shoot since they had no scenes together.

“You know what I saw in her, was the way she approached her work,” Mirren said of Chastain. “She was much more beautiful than I was at her age and much more poised, but what I did recognize was the work ethic, the attitude towards her work — really serious, really earnest, very dedicated. It was great to see that.”

Posted by:Liz Kelly Nelson