Dame Helen Mirren "intimidated" 'Arthur' director Jason Winer so much he had to read up about tea etiquette before they met.

The Oscar-winning actress did not agree to sign on to the remake of the classic Dudley Moore film - starring Russell Brand in the lead role as an alcoholic Millionaire - until she had met the filmmaker, something which caused him much distress.

He said: "I definitely was intimidated by the prospect of working with Helen, in particular. Before Helen was on board officially, she was interested, she had read The Script and she wanted to work with Russell, but she wanted to meet me, before she said yes, so I was sent to her house to have tea. It was nerve-wracking, to say the least.

"My agent was actually freaking out 'cause he was like, 'Have you ever had tea with a British person? There are rules! There is all sorts of etiquette.'

"And, he forwarded me a link to a tea etiquette website, where I learned silly things like you're supposed to stir the tea back and forth with the spoon, and not in a circle. That's considered rude 'cause it could chip the china. There was crazy stuff like that."

However, when Jason - who also directs comedy 'Modern Family' - finally met the 'Queen' star, he was less panicked because she only appears to be "regal" and was a lot easier to get on than he expected.

He added to Collider.com: "When I got to her house, not only did she immediately profess to be a big fan of 'Modern Family', which put me at ease, she also made us tea in mismatching mugs, with Lipton tea bags and water heated up from the microwave.

"That's Helen, in a nutshell. She's regal on the surface, and thoroughly and incredibly charming, but also tremendously down-to-earth with an irreverent streak that not a lot of people know about."