Helen Mirren Busted Her Finger Punching A Concrete Wall For Shazam! Fury Of The Gods

Dame Helen Mirren has always been a bit of a goddess and now she's playing one in "Shazam! Fury Of The Gods." The follow-up to 2019's "Shazam!" will see Zachary Levi's titular hero return, this time flanked by his newly powered-up foster siblings, now known as the "Shazamily." Last time around teen hero Billy Batson faced off against the seven deadly sins as embodied by Mark Strong's Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. But this time, he and his superhero foster family will be going up against Greek goddesses in the form of Mirren's Hespera and her sister Kalypso (Lucy Liu) — both daughters of the god Atlas, from whom Shazam gets some of his power.

Judging by the "Shazam! Fury Of The Gods" trailer, it should make for an epic showdown, which could potentially see Levi's "Shazam" killed off by the end in order to save the earth and his fellow heroes from destruction. That would make some sense considering James Gunn will soon shake up DC's on-screen universe with his slate of superhero movies, beginning with "Superman: Legacy" in 2025. Which could mean we say goodbye to some of the actors from the DCEU/Snyderverse era of DC movies — although Levi and Gunn are good friends off-camera, so who knows. Either way, Shazam clearly has a monumental fight on his hands in "Fury Of The Gods," and Mirren was committed to making it a memorable one.

Incredibly, as she told Access Hollywood, the 77-year-old has never really played a villain before and was eager to do just as thorough a job in her role as Hespera as with any of her other celebrated projects. In one case, however, that commitment led to an on-set injury.

Helen Mirren's Shazam finger

"Shazam! Fury Of The Gods" director David F. Sandberg has spoken about his surprise at getting Helen Mirren to agree to appear in the film in the first place. But even after confirming the Oscar winner, he was further shocked to find that Mirren was more than willing to do her own stunts, with the actress happily climbing into wires and rigs and the crew having to stop her from performing the most dangerous feats.

Unfortunately, they weren't able to prevent her from injuring herself during one fight scene in which her hand met a concrete wall. As Mirren told SFX magazine:

"I've got my 'Shazam' finger... Can you see that? [shows SFX her hand]. That finger's all bent. I had to hit someone. They're brilliant stunt people, fantastic, but he said, 'You must follow through, otherwise it doesn't look right.' So I did follow through, straight into a concrete wall."

It's unclear what kind of injury Mirren sustained as the actress doesn't clarify whether she broke her finger or not. But if it was still, "all bent" during the press tour for the film, it sounds like it was a significant hit. Still, this sort of stuff is par for the course when you branch out into more physical roles, and Mirren has made a point of embracing action movies of late. But even in the "Fast And The Furious" franchise, she's been perfectly happy behind the wheel, demonstrating her genuine love for the genre.

Mirren takes action as seriously as her other work

At this point, Helen Mirren has racked up enough awards and gained enough respect in her industry that she can pretty much do what she wants. And that's exactly what she's doing. Appearing in the action comedy "Red" back in 2010, she's since shown up in a sequel, multiple "Fast And The Furious" films, and now "Shazam! Fury Of The Gods." In 2022 The Hollywood Reporter asked Mirren about her foray into the action genre, and it turns out she sees no difference between her more traditional acting work and the more intense projects she's been a part of over the last decade or so:

"There's no real difference to the work. The periphery is different, you know, the number of trailers or the sets or the amount of time you've got to shoot a scene. But, fundamentally, it's exactly the same thing. But I love the special effects world. And the stunt world. I really believe stuntpeople should be nominated for Oscars. They've become such an intrinsic part of filmmaking now. You look at these big action movies, and it's 75% stunts, really. I love working and watching the art, the craftsmanship and the expertise of these people. The whole digital side of things, the special effects, is just extraordinary."

With that sort of mindset, a bent finger isn't going to slow Mirren down. She obviously has a deep respect for action, as evidenced by her commitment to the role of Hespera. And by taking on these roles so devotedly, she's redefining the public perception of not just what's acceptable as quality filmmaking but, in much the same way as Emma Thompson with her upcoming "The Fisherwoman" movie, what's expected of women and older actors.