Helen Mirren became emotional after stepping onto the set of "The Last Station" - because the actors dressed in period costume reminded her of her own Russian ancestors. The veteran actress - who was born Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov - plays the wife of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy in the upcoming drama, and admits the experience of filming in Europe held extra meaning as she had just finished investigating her Russian roots on her father's side.
She recalls, "I'd just very recently gone through an amazing experience going back to Russia. With the help of a journalist in Russia, I discovered my family's estates in Russia. My sister and I also visited my grandmother's gravesite. I had visited that cemetery a couple of years before, but I had no idea where her grave was, so I just wandered around, incredibly moved just to be where she was buried. And then the journalist found the grave."
"The most amazing thing is having just experienced all that, walking on the set and finding myself looking like and walking into one of my family photographs, with all the extras dressed exactly the way the people are dressed in my grandfather's photographs, myself dressed as my great-aunts were dressed in my grandfather's photographs. That I found very very moving."
And the 64 year old insists she felt welcomed into the country: "It was an amazing trip. To a certain extent, yes, of course, absolutely (I felt like I belonged in Russia). But I am half British, so I certainly belong here (in the U.K.) as much as I belong in Russia."