Graham Norton meets Dame Helen Mirren, Pedro Pascal, Ariana DeBose and Freya Ridings

On this week’s show (24th February), Graham welcomes Oscar-winner Dame Helen Mirren, The Last of Us star Pedro Pascal, multi award-winning actress, singer and dancer Ariana DeBose, and British singer songwriter Freya Ridings.

Dame Helen Mirren says she loves the idea of being a superhero, Pedro Pascal jokes about being upstaged by an animatronic, Ariana DeBose says performing at The London Palladium is scary, and Freya Ridings performs live in the studio.

Helen, talking about starring in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, says, “Don’t ask me about the plot, it’s too complicated!  We are angry goddesses wearing unbelievably heavy costumes.  It was very hot and uncomfortable and in fact Lucy (Liu) said at the end of the first day’s shooting, ‘They are trying to kill us’ in all seriousness. 

“I wanted to do it because I loved the first Shazam. It was sweet and funny.  I am not a big superhero type person, but I loved the idea of it and happily signed up for the second one.  It is great.”

Asked about doing action scenes, she says, “I did some of my own stunts, but I broke my finger.  I was incredibly brave and didn’t say anything or complain because I wanted to be a real ‘stunty’ person.”

Talking about the recent BAFTAs, and asked if she enjoyed them, she says, “It was a great night out, but I was just in and out. I had to get up very early the next morning, so I did my thing and then I was back in my pjs and in bed by nine!”

Pedro, talking about the new series of The Mandalorian, and asked if he is enjoying all the attention, particularly on internet platforms, says, “I am enjoying it, but I am trying to figure it all out.”

Talking about the upcoming season three of the hit show, he says, “I can’t tell you anything about it, but I love the character.  He’s an amazing Sergio Leone/Akira Kurosawa inspired lone wolf bad ass.”  Asked if knows he is being upstaged by Grogu, he says, “Yes, absolutely.  He is remarkably lifelike and a real screen partner but does steal every scene!”

Asked about meeting fans of the show, he says, “People come up to me and ask me to do the voice for their kids, but I think it sounds inappropriate because it is a breathy, low register ‘bedroom’ voice – it is so creepy and doesn’t work in real life.”

Talking about The Last of Us and admitting he has little memory of the moment he was offered the role, Pedro says, “It is a bit hazy because I had stayed up very late meeting everyone and was very excited, so I took a sleeping tablet.  When they called to offer me the part, I was so drowsy they had to repeat the offer.  I then forgot that completely and when I woke up the following morning, I thought because of the time difference between London and LA, I would be waiting by the phone all day to hear if I got the job!”

Ariana, talking about appearing in concert at The London Palladium, she says, “I am really excited and sensibly scared, but it is going to be fun.  It is a gorgeous space, and its energy is legendary and palpable.  I can’t actually believe I have the opportunity to do something there.  My show is a mash-up of everything I love and it’s the way I express myself best.  I love the creativity and it is camp and fun.”

Asked if she will return to Broadway at some point after making so many movies, she says, “I love theatre.  I think it makes you better.  If you can do theatre, you can do anything.  It’s a different skill and I love the energy and the relationship with the audience. I will go back to Broadway eventually.”

Freya performs her current single Weekends, live in the studio before joining Graham for a chat.

Asked about her inspiration for the album, she says, “It is a time capsule of the last three years of my life.  There are two very distinctive halves, in one half I was  heartbroken, alone and suffering and in the other I was falling in love and allowing myself to be happy.  There is so much emotion in this album and I am very proud of it.”

The Graham Norton Show, BBC One, Friday 24th February 10.40pm. Also available on BBC iPlayer.

Notes to editors – All quotes in this release were made during the recording of the show but won’t necessarily appear in the final version.

Next week (3rd March) Graham introduces the first of two compilation shows featuring host of stars from the current series, including Taylor Swift, Daniel Craig, Eddie Redmayne, Lashana Lynch, Bono, Kate Hudson, Sir Ian McKellen, Paul Mescal, Geena Davis, Stormzy, Lesley Manville, Colin Farrell, Bruce Springsteen and many more.

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23rd February 2023