Judi Dench is a bit of a British Legend. Probably the first films I ever saw her in was the Pierce Brosnan Bond films as the formidable M. I have no doubt that when she was first cast there was probably people going “there can’t be a female M” (as people are wont to do about casting decisions) but she sure showed them how badass and awesome a female M can be. I love how there’s subtleties to the character as the films progress which is mostly thanks to her brilliant performance.
I’ve loved a lot of her films and her performances, Philomena (2013) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) are both sweet, touching, funny and just generally great. I love the story of how Vin Diesel got Judi Dench to star in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), he sent flowers to her dressing room every night when she was in a play in London to try and persuade her to take the part. Evidentially it worked and then when they were filming he taught her how to play Dungeons and Dragons. I just love that story a lot.
And now for my other favourite Judi Dench-related story: