Helen Mirren starred for her director husband Taylor Hackford in Love Ranch. It’s the first time they’ve worked together since White Nights. After 26 years together, taking orders from him gave Dame Helen some dark thoughts.

“He was tough on this shoot,” she said. “He was not a pussycat. He’s strict. He wants more, more, more. Absolutely. He’s tough, my husband, I have to say, and there were days when I was planning how we were going to divide the property.”

She said it with a laugh. The Mirrens/Hackfords are still together, and still on speaking terms doing press rounds for their film. So they worked things out. “Also, it was so fabulous for me to go home with him at night. For a lot of my professional career, ever since we’ve been together since 1984, I’m in Hungary, he’s in Columbia. I’m in London, he’s in Nova Scotia. So much of our life has been forced to be spent apart and we have to deal with that. It was just so brilliant to actually work on a project together and go home together and have the weekends off together. That was fabulous.”

Love Ranch is inspired by the true story of the first legal brothel in Nevada. Mirren plays the madame. “When I was on the set, I was not his wife. I was an actor in his film. I never hung with him. I didn’t have lunch with him. I would never discuss the shot afterwards. We didn’t at home either. We didn’t deconstruct everything at home. It’s his movie. He’s the director. That’s his job. My job was to be an actor on the set and that means my loyalty is to the cast and the crew basically and those were the people I identified with and I spent my time with. That wasn’t theoretical. I just fell into that role. Somehow that seemed to be the best way for me for it to work.”

Love Ranch opens June 30.