There's Nothing Like a Dame

Dame Judi Dench (search) sits regally in her chair on a rainy day in midtown Manhattan.

Appropriately enough, the Oscar-winning British actress beams royally. She also makes no apologies for a somewhat campy appearance in the summer hit "The Chronicles of Riddick," starring Vin Diesel.

But on the notion that Diesel could be the next James Bond, Dench, who has starred in five 007 films, stands by her man Pierce Brosnan like Tammy Wynette.

In fact, Dench and Pierce Brosnan are both in the upcoming "Bond 21."

Bill McCuddy: Something like "The Chronicles of Riddick" must be a hoot for someone classically trained.

Dame Judi: Well, frightening because it's another role to play. And on a huge set you're very frightened about letting the set down. But [it's] very, very exciting.

McCuddy: Do you ever find yourself saying, "You know on stage we would do this differently"?

Dame Judi: (Laughs) No, no, no, because this is nothing like anything I'd ever done before. I've never done any of that special effects stuff — ever. It's just wild.

McCuddy: Is that something you look for now in your career? A new challenge?

Dame Judi: Yes. When something is different from the last thing that I've done — something as different as it possibly can be ... I mean, people are inclined to see you in something and then send you something [similar] saying, "This would be a very good part."

McCuddy: So, for example, after "Iris" did you get...

Dame Judi: Yes, yes, not something [exactly] like Alzheimer's after "Iris," but something with some disability of some kind. But, in actual fact, what you want is something totally different. And that's what I got.

McCuddy: Yes, you did. Very different. Does Vin Diesel call you Dame?

Dame Judi: (Smiling) Certainly not. He calls me Jude.

McCuddy: And no one calls you D.J.

Dame Judi: (Laughing) No, they don't.

McCuddy: That seemed like a Vin thing. "Yo, D.J."

Dame Judi: No. I went to supper with him when I met him and that afternoon I found a sweater which had DIESEL written backward across the front. I thought, "That's what I'll wear!" When I got there — I suppose this is rather an old joke — but I hadn't been aware of that clothing company called DIESEL. I thought it was very witty.