It's no secret that this year's Oscar contenders are an eclectic group. There's Jennifer Lawrence, America's favorite foul-mouthed, Taylor Swift-loving sweetheart. There's Jared Leto, the cult-TV-icon-turned-musician-turned-serious-actor. There's Jonah Hill, the most unlikely Oscar nominee in the history of movies. And then there's... Dame Judi Dench, goldfish-saving, Weinstein-mooning, secretly weird Best Actress nominee?
"Weird" is probably not the first adjective that comes to mind when you think of Dench, one of the most respected actors in film and theater history. Yet judging from the contents of a Hollywood Reporter interview released on Friday, the legendary actress, Oscar-nominated for Philomena, might just have a not-so-secret eccentric side. Example number one:
"[I have] a very lively goldfish, which I've given the breath of life to twice... he's now about 8 inches long — almost a full shark — and yes, twice, I breathed into his mouth."
Say what? Dench gave mouth-to-mouth to a fish — twice — and just casually mentions it in the middle of an interview like it's no biggie? Somehow, the reporter must've refrained from having his jaw drop to the floor, because the rest of the interview continues on perfectly pleasantly. Dench discusses her role in Philomena, her 5-year-old grandson, and her recent knee replacement with wit and charm, never giving a hint that underneath her guise, there's a crazy woman ready to resuscitate a goldfish at any given moment. It's no wonder she's an Oscar winner; she's spent her whole life pretending she's not the strangest actor in the business!
Surprisingly, the goldfish story isn't the only time in the interview where Dench's apparent quirky side comes across. While discussing her longtime friendship with Harvey Weinstein (who produced Philomena), the Dame reveals that she once told the producer that she had his name tattooed on her behind, just to make the not-easily-embarrassed mogul feel uncomfortable. Dench even got her makeup artist to make the claim seem true, and at lunch with Weinstein, stood up and showed him the proof.
"I've never seen a man more embarrassed and I've never let him forget it!" she says, and we believe it.
It's a little shocking to realize that Dench, an actress who typically appears so refined, is actually kind of a weirdo, but it's also pretty great. Not many 79-year-olds can get away with admitting they mooned Harvey Weinstein (actually, no one can get away with that) and still be considered one of the classiest actors in Hollywood. Hell, Dench's quirkiness might even end up benefiting her chances at an Oscar; if this year's voters are also animal rights activists, they might just be inclined to give a goldfish-lover like Dench one of the night's biggest honors.