Legendary actress Judi Dench has been living with age-related macular degeneration for years now, but in a new appearance on The Graham Norton Show, she explains her conditioned has worsened to the point that reading new roles “has become impossible.”
According to People, Dench said she has a photographic memory and noted, “I used to find it very easy to learn lines and remember them. I could do the whole of Twelfth Night right now.”
Dench explained in a 2021 Guardian interview that she’s had to come up with other strategies to compensate for her eyesight, including having others read her lines to her. “I have to learn through repetition, and I just hope that people won’t notice too much if all the lines are completely hopeless,” she said.
On Friday’s installment of Norton’s chat show, she joked, “I need to find a machine that not only teaches me my lines but also tells me where they appear on the page.”
In spite of her issues, the stage and screen star and former James Bond series lead continues working, recently appearing in a cameo as herself in Ryan Reynolds‘ holiday musical Spirited. In 2022 she was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in longtime friend and collaborator Kenneth Branagh‘s drama Belfast.
Her latest film, the play-adapted dramedy Allelujah, is about to be released in the United Kingdom.
Friday evening’s The Graham Norton Show with Dench also features Tony winner Hugh Jackman, Creed III star and director Michael B. Jordan, Schitt’s Creek star Eugene Levy, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas.
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