Dame Helen Mirren won an Academy Award for her measured and resonant portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in the 2006 film The Queen. You might think that this is the primary reason Mirren is in the news this week, given the timing of the late monarch’s funeral. But not so. Equally, if not more importantly, Mirren is returning as the host of the upcoming 53rd (okay, fourth) season of IFC’s Documentary Now! “Stories that dare to tell the truth have never been more crucial to our culture,” Mirren says with royal gravitas in the new trailer teasing the series’ October 19 return. “Now, more than ever, the world needs Documentary Now!”
Joining Mirren in the new season of documentary spoofs from creators Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, and Rhys Thomas are guest stars Cate Blanchett, Alexander Skarsgård, Nicholas Braun, Jamie Demetriou, and more. The trailer offers a sneak peek at an episode called “My Monkey Grifter,” inspired by documentary My Octopus Teacher, where Stath Lets Flats star Demetriou plays “a filmmaker who forms a deep, emotional, and financially taxing relationship with a monkey.” There’s also a tease of the two-part season premiere written by John Mulaney, “Soldier of Illusion,” in which Succession star Braun recounts a story about confusing an “art-house cinema” for a “porno theater.”
Season four of the six-time Emmy-nominated series, the first since 2019, will consist of six new episodes parodying documentaries such as Burden of Dreams, Three Salons at the Seaside, The September Issue, When We Were Kings, Gleaners and I, Beaches of Agnes, My Octopus Teacher, and more, according to IFC. It’s too early to speculate, but perhaps season five will lampoon the inevitable, yet-to-be-created documentary about the response to Queen Elizabeth’s death, and Mirren can pull double duty hosting and reprising her Oscar-winning role.