Judi Dench, 87, was once told by a director that she had 'the wrong face' for film

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Dame Judi Dench, 87, was once told by a director that she had 'the wrong face' to appear on film as an actress. (Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Dame Judi Dench, 87, was once told by a director that she had 'the wrong face' to appear on film as an actress. (Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Judi Dench may be the beloved star of films like Belfast and Notes on a Scandal, but she once struggled with getting work on the big screen.

In a new interview with the U.K.'s Times, Dench, 87, explained that during the 1960s, a director once told her that she could never have a career in film because of the way she looked.

“He was perfectly nice,” Dench recalled. “But at the end he said, ‘You’ll never make a film. You have the wrong face.’ And I said that is fine, I don’t like film anyway. I want to go back to the theatre.”

Dench, of course, went on to have tremendous success in film, racking up seven Academy Award nominations, including one win for just eight minutes of screen time as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love. Despite her long and thriving career, Dench says she still is careful to avoid getting too complacent.

“You can do something that is a success and then for the next thing you could go arse over tit," she said. "You can’t ever take it for granted and it’s right that we shouldn’t.”

In 2020, Dench's face was celebrated when she made history as the oldest person to appear on the cover of British Vogue at the age of 85. But that doesn't mean she's particularly thrilled with the aging process. During her 2020 cover interview, she told Vogue that there is "nothing" she enjoys about aging.

"I don't like it at all," she said at the time. "I don't think about it. I don't want to think about it. They say age is an attitude ... It's horrible."

Her sentiments are similar to the ones she made back in 2015, when she told People that "there’s nothing good about being my age."

“Someone said to me, ‘You have such a wealth of knowledge,’ and I just said ‘I’d rather be young and know nothing, actually.’ Bugger the wealth of knowledge," she joked.

Dench balked at the idea of slowing down her career at age 87, saying that the only way in which she's slowing down is if she can't "see to read."

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