Emma Thompson is known as one of the most courageous British actresses of the era, with head-turning roles in such classics as Remains of the Day, Much Ado About Nothing, and even Love, Actually. In her latest movie, Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, she took it to the next level by baring it all. At 62, she had her first full-frontal nude scene.
"It’s very challenging to be nude at 62," she admitted during a virtual Cinema Cafe discussion for the Sundance festival release of the film.
The sex-positive drama, follows Thompson's character, a widowed schoolteacher, as she hires a male escort (played by Daryl McCormack) for a date in an effort to have her first orgasm. In one scene, Emma says her character drops her robe in front of her mirror.
During the Cinema Cafe chat, Emma revealed that McCormack and director Sophie Hyde also disrobed during rehearsals in order to make the experience more comfortable.
"Sophie, Daryl, and I rehearsed entirely nude and talked about our bodies, talked about our relationship with our bodies, drew them, discussed the things that we find difficult about, things we like about them, described one another's bodies," Emma revealed.
Her and McCormack specifically went on a bonding journey, she says, noting that they took long muddy walks through London's Hampstead Heath, laughing about almost falling flat into the puddles -- an exercise that helped strengthen their on-screen relationship.
"That was very important that we could hold onto each other and laugh," she explained. "Actually, that's what we've done the entire time: held onto each other, slid about, and laugh. That walk kind of was emblematic of the whole journey."
Turns out, she feels like being in her 60s was the perfect time to be in the buff. "I don’t think I could’ve done it before the age that I am. And yet, of course, the age that I am makes it extremely challenging because we aren’t used to seeing untreated bodies on the screen.”
According to Emma, who has been in the public eye for over 30 years, the pressure put on women in Hollywood today has actually increased, rather than eased in the post #MeToo culture.
“Nothing has changed in the dreadful demands made upon women in the real-world world but also in acting,” she said. “This thing of having to be thin is still the same as it ever was, and actually, in some ways, I think it’s worse now.”
Sticking up for women's bodies has been a long campaign for the Sense and Sensibility star. In 2017, when speaking with the BBC, she revealed that Harvey Weinstein's production company told her Brideshead Revisited costar Hayley Atwell to lose weight -- something that prompted Emma to scold the company and threaten to quit the picture.
"I said I would walk from the film if I ever heard anything like that again. I will always speak up and take someone’s head off if I see anything like that happen."
With Weinstein specifically, Emma said in that same interview that she outright rejects his claim of being a sex addict.
"This man is at the top of a very particular iceberg. I don’t think you can describe him as a sex addict — he’s a predator. There’s a difference. What he’s at the top of the ladder of is a system of harassment and belittling and bullying and interference, and what my mother would have referred to in the olden days as ‘pestering.'”
"This has been part of our world — women’s world — since time immemorial,” she added.
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