Emma Thompson Just Revealed Why She Wanted to Show Her Body Onscreen at 62
"I don't think I could've done it before the age that I am," she explained.
Disrobing onscreen can be uncomfortable for any actor, so they way that they prepare is going to vary. When Emma Thompson approached an intimate scene in her upcoming film, for example, her co-star and the movie's director were involved in the process, too. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, 62-year-old Thompson explained why why she found it "challenging" to be so exposed in her Sundance film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, but also why now was the right time in her career to do it. Read on to see what else the actor had to say.
Thompson's new movie is about a woman exploring her sexuality.
In Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Thompson plays a widow, Nancy, who hires a sex worker named Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) in an attempt to explore her sexuality.
"It's something unlike anything I've ever done before and I had never seen anything like this before," Thompson said during a Q&A as part of the Sundance Film Festival, where the dramedy just premiered. "The first thing that struck me was its sheer originality. Then what struck me next was the real necessity of this film—the way that we talk about pleasure or shame—I didn't realize how thirsty I was for a story like this until it came along."
The director had a unique approach to helping her actors feel comfortable.
Thompson, McCormark, and director Sophie Hyde all rehearsed naked in order to prepare for the movie's more intimate scenes. "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," Thompson said during a Cinema Cafe discussion for Sundance, as reported by Entertainment Weekly.
Thompson learned that her age was an asset in the role.
Thompson found the scene in which she appears completely naked to be "challenging" because of her age. At the same time, she doesn't think that she would have be able to do it earlier in her career.
"It's very challenging to be nude at 62," she said during the conversation. She added of her character, "She stands in front of a mirror alone and she drops her robe."
The two-time Academy Award-winner continued, "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."
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She's proud to represent real women's bodies onscreen.
As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Thompson believes it's important that "untreated bodies,"as she put it, are shown onscreen, because that's not what viewers usually get.
"Nothing has changed in the dreadful demands made upon women in the real-world world but also in acting," she continued. "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."
It's a rare role for an actor in her 60s.
In an interview with the podcast CultureBlast in 2020 (via Variety), Thompson talked about Good Luck to You, Leo Grande and said that audiences might not accept a 60-something woman being intimate with a younger man—McCormack is 29. But, she explained, it's something that needed to be done because things are "completely unbalanced" when it comes to male actors being paired with younger women, but not the other way around.
"If people aren't averse to seeing someone who is 61 largely naked, with a very much younger person, it's going to be very interesting," she said. "We've got to keep being brave."