Helen Mirren opens up a Love Ranch

You’ve got to wonder how a workmanlike director such as Taylor Hackford convinces Oscar-winning talent to work with him, even with the success of Ray behind him. But in the case of Helen Mirren, he has it slightly easier since, er, he’s married to her.

Still, it’s been a while since they actually worked together – the last time was for 1985’s White Nights.

Love Ranch will be based on the real-life tale of a couple who opened the first legal brothel in Nevada, but saw their relationship tested by the husband cheating on his wife (can’t think why) and the violence that resulted.

Joe Pesci’s playing the cheating hubbie, though apparently he was a tough man to convince – but was won over by the chance to play a pimp. "Joe didn't have any desire to work, but he was the first person I had in mind to play the husband, this former cab driver who dreamed of making prostitution legal and carved out a tiny county and convinced the local politicians," Hackford told Variety. "He's playing the godfather of legalized prostitution, and it convinced Joe to jump back into the fire." Nice.

Also difficult to schedule was a certain Mrs Hackford, who has become even busier of late thanks to the golden gong for The Queen. "I've developed this project for a long time, and one of the things that excited me most was the chance to work again with my wife," Hackford said. "I had to beg; she's a very busy girl. We'd wanted to work together for some time, but she wouldn't agree unless it was a great role, and this is a great role." Let’s hope he makes a great film out of it…