Dame Judi Dench knows all about YOLO

06 March 2015 - 15:22 By Marianne Gray
Dame Judi Dench likes to take the mickey — for example, by having a fake Harvey Weinstein tattoo drawn on her derriere
Dame Judi Dench likes to take the mickey — for example, by having a fake Harvey Weinstein tattoo drawn on her derriere
Image: ©Getty

She may be 80, but actress Judi Dench has no plans to stop working, gambling or loving

Dame Judi Dench, 80, is probably best known for playing M in seven James Bond films. Trained as a theatre designer, she has worked on stage and screen for six decades and is laden with awards, including a best supporting actress Oscar for only eight minutes of screen time in Shakespeare in Love (1999). Her new film, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (trailer below), is a comedy set in a slightly shabby residential hotel for British retirees in India. Co-stars include Dame Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Richard Gere. It's just opened in cinemas in SA.


I loved doing The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I would welcome a third episode in the Marigold Hotel because India has an enchantment.

People our age don't fit into an easy slot. But it was lovely working with old friends because we've got a shorthand. We've all seen each other making fools of ourselves over the years.

This film is about older people and love. Bill Nighy is my screen toy-boy. I've had so much love in my life. I love the company of being in a relationship. I'm no good on my own.

About love ... I think the difference between young love and love when you are older is that maybe older love has to be faster in case you die!

I'm always afraid the next role will not come. I still have that fear. I suppose it's also part of my Quaker work ethic. I think the fear is healthy. I don't want it to change.

I have no intention of retiring. The thought of putting my feet up doesn't appeal at all. I learn so much about life from all my roles.

I have no regrets ... except that when I was offered a part I didn't like in The Merchant of Venice I didn't take it.

I like being in America. You walk down the street and people come towards you and they high-five you. That would never happen in Britain.

My grandson taught me what YOLO means - you only live once. I know that only too well. Live life and live it well.

I want to get an Indian tattoo on my right-hand wrist. The one I've chosen supposedly represents life and love. But I might be being set up and it says something rude. For years people have thought I have film producer Harvey Weinstein's name tattooed on my left buttock. He and I have done eight films together and every time I see him I get my make-up lady to paint his name on my bum and people think it's real. It says: "Thanks to Harvey."

I've never done anything cosmetic to my face. I'd love to look 35 again but I'm too squeamish, and my agent would go barmy. I'd do myself out of parts for old people.

I loathe getting dressed up for events. I get terribly nervous. I love fashion but I don't like clothes you have to live up to.

I bet on everything, anything. I love it. I haven't bet on anything yet today. It is still quite early.

I may be 80 but it's just a number to me. I am blessed with an enormous amount of natural energy. I try to learn something new every day.