Wedded Biz: Helen Mirren on Working with Her Husband on 'Love Ranch'

Reel life and real life collide for Oscar-winning couple Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford this week when their new movie, Love Ranch, opens in limited release. It's the first time they've worked together since meeting in 1985 when he directed her in the espionage thriller White Knights.

'Love Ranch' is about -- what else? -- a husband and wife business team. But it's not show business, it's ho business. That's right: this flick is based upon true events surrounding the opening of Nevada's first legal brothel in the 1970s. Joe Pesci plays Mirren's character's husband, and new Spanish sensation Sergio Peris-Mencheta portrays the burned-out boxer who comes between them. The jaded trio converge for a venture centered on two of the oldest professions in the world, but soon personal feelings get in the way and passions ignite. Fictionalized and highly operatic, 'Love Ranch' still manages to pay due attention to the -- er, ins and outs -- of working with one's spouse on a daily basis.

-- Read my a review of the film and watch my interviews with Mirren, Hackford, and Mencheta.

I asked each of them about not only the dynamics of the marrieds who toil together in the tawdry tale, but what it was like to explore some of those themes for real as they shot the film.

"I had no idea what it would be like to work with my wife," Hackford confided. He says they didn't have a game plan, and sometimes he "went too far," but it all worked out... "in retrospect," Mirren added with a chuckle.

As for Mencheta, he says that being directed by Mirren's husband to make love to her felt "natural." (Really? I wonder what would make him feel awkward?)

According to authors Dr. Mike Gross and Dr. Becky Stewart-Gross ('Sleeping with Your Business Partner: Communications for Couples in Business Together'), any wedded couple can make it work at work. As in happy marriages, to achieve business bliss the key is communication.

-- See average salaries for a film editor, a film production manager, and a film director.

While the workaday world doesn't have quite the perks and problems of Hollywood power couples, the basic do's and don'ts remain the same:

  • Do be grateful you are close to someone who can relate to what you do for a living.

  • Don't take your work home with you.

  • Do divvy up responsibilities in the workplace.

  • Don't micromanage.

  • Do keep business out of the bedroom.

  • Don't put your personal life in the conference room.

  • Do take the time to develop outside interests, separate from one another.

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