Dame Helen Mirren "prostitutes" herself "quite often".

The 62-year-old Oscar-winning actress - who plays Grace Botempo, a whorehouse madam, in her new film 'Love Ranch' - thinks actors do the opposite of what women working in the sex industry do, but still have to use their assets to get work.

She explained: "The girls who work in the sex industry, they put themselves out of their bodies. An actor does sort of the opposite. People say 'Oh, you play someone else.' I'm always playing myself. You can only do it by going into yourself, in the deepest, most terrifying way.

"Not to say I haven't ever prostituted myself quite often and happily. But in my heart it's very serious."

The British star - whose husband Taylor Hackford directed her new movie - loved working on the film because she got to act out her secret dream to be a "bad girl".

She explained to New York magazine: "It's amazing how quickly you get into dildos everywhere and pink-feather handcuffs. Within an hour you're completely used to it.

"I'm still The Good Girl who wants to be a bad girl. But I'll never make it as a bad girl . I'm not a prude or a moralist and I never have been, but I'm too fearful, too much of a wimp, really."