Actress Imelda Staunton feared her film Vera Drake wouldn't be a success - until she saw DAME Helen Mirren crying at a screening of the abortion drama.

The English actress, 48, has won six British Independent Film Awards, a EUROPEAN FILM AWARD, the Golden Lion and Volpi Cup at September's (04) VENICE FILM FESTIVAL and a string of gongs from critic circles across America.

However, before the rapturous response at the Italian festival, Staunton was concerned the movie would flop.

She says, "Helen Mirren was on the jury and I know she loved it. We had seen her earlier, walking towards Phil Davis (Staunton's co-star) and myself. She was really crying and I thought something must have happened to her husband.

"But she had just seen our film and was wrecked. She kept saying, 'That was my time. That was my time.'"

06/01/2005 13:51