“I was in New York recently with Maggie Smith publicising Ladies in Lavender, and we were asked about the Sanford Meisner Method School of acting, which is based on ruthless self-exploration”.

“Maggie, in her inimitable way, said: ‘Oh, we have that in England too. We call it wanking’.”

“Judi is more outgoing. But one is just a little wary of Maggie. She can be difficult because things affect Maggie much more. You never know whether Judi is not feeling great that day, but with Maggie it kind of shows on her face and you know if she is tired or fed up or not happy. There is an element of danger with Maggie Smith; she’s a much more complex character” - Charles Dance


You’ve both enjoyed long careers as actors. Is there a secret to maintaining such longevity in this business?

Maggie Smith:
“It’s fortune. I mean, I tend to do things that come up. I’ve never had any sort of structure to anything, and I don’t think Jude has, either. You go where there’s work. But I’ve never planned anything; it’s just sort of luck.”

Judi Dench:
“And don’t you find, Mags, that people say, “You’re so busy, shouldn’t you take a rest?” Why should I take a rest? I’m in this amazing minority where I’m doing something I absolutely love. I think we’re very lucky to be employed, and the moment you start to take it all for granted, that’s the moment it all feels like work.”

(Film promotion of Ladies in Lavender)