Sam Mendes says Olivia Colman shares the same star power as Dame Judi Dench.

The ‘Empire of Light’ director - who has worked with both actress - thinks they are alike because they are both “accessible” while being “slightly mysterious”.

The 57-year-old director told Deadline: ”Olivia’s like Judi in that she’s accessible and yet also slightly mysterious. She’s very friendly, always delightful to see her, but there’s something held back, too. A little core is very private. She’s not an extrovert, not an exhibitionist; she’s very guarded actually. Certainly since the Oscar. I think she had to recalibrate her life as people do when they become that level of famous. It’s frightening; I’ve lived through it too, to a degree, but not as a famous face.”

Sam - who directed the now 87-year-old thespian in ‘The Cherry Orchard’ and in his two Bond movies ‘Skyfall’ and ‘Spectre’ - told Olivia, 48, that he wrote his new film with her in mind via Zoom.

Recalling the video call he had with ‘The Favourite’ star, he said: “Look, I’m writing something for you.”

Sam gave Olivia the rundown of what he had in mind for the project - which also stars Roger Deakins, Michael Ward and Tanya Moodie - which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival.

He said: “I told her it’s a love story of sorts and I talked about how personal it is, and how much it’s drawn from my own life. The upshot of it is that I got a very powerful sense of her.”

The ‘American Beauty’ director found the chat with the Academy Award winner as what he “needed” to finish the screenplay.

Sam said: “That’s all I needed, I just needed a blast of her really. When I got off the Zoom I knew which way to go with this and so I completed it.”