Emma Thompson talks difficult ‘Leo Grande’ nude scene and shows ‘intimacy without romance’

Emma Thompson talks difficult ‘Leo Grande’ nude scene and shows ‘intimacy without romance’

Sophie Hyde has never read a script faster. O 52 tuesdays The filmmaker was in quarantine in Australia when she learned that a director was needed for an independent film written by Katy Brand that would star two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson as a lonely 55-year-old empty-nest widow who hires a male sex worker. . Daryl McCormack) because she’s never had an orgasm in her life.

“The concept [was] great and Emma is brilliant, but together they felt like magic,” Hyde tells us during a recent interview for the resulting sex-positive dramedy, Good luck to you, Big Leowhich premiered to raves — and Oscar buzz for Thompson — at January’s Sundance Film Festival (the film is now streaming on Hulu).

While much of the two-handed film is conversational, almost stage-like, as Nancy nervously deliberates whether she will go through various actions with Leo, the film garnered a lot of attention for its climactic and satisfying sex scene — which Thompson and company revealed wasn’t. originally in the script, but was added midway through production.

“We moved towards this as a group,” says Thompson, 63. “It was achieved through our exploration of the characters and the situation and what was right. You couldn’t possibly have made a decision about the ending until we’d made the journey with them… These two people were enjoying themselves without reservations, without qualifications… And yet it wasn’t a romance. I loved it. I thought it was radical to show intimacy without romance.”

I really love, big lion is not.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU BIG LEO, from left: Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack, 2022. © Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack in Good luck to you, Big Leo. (Photo: Searchlight Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection)

Thompson called a scene in the film – where Nancy is stark naked, looking in the mirror – the hardest thing she’s ever done. O Sense and sensitivity and Harry Potter star tells us that she got over it by “being Nancy”. After some resistance, anyway.

“I mean, I was dragged, kicking and screaming. I was like, ‘Please don’t make me do this. Please,’” she recalls. “But I said, ‘OK. Everything is fine. It’s not me… Nancy isn’t objectifying herself… She’s not judging herself negatively or positively. It’s an oddly neutral gaze and she’s looking at herself, not from the outside, but from the inside. Suddenly she is able to feel herself. So, in a way, it’s a rebirth. So that look in the mirror is the first time she’s seen her body, really.”

Hyde says he was aware of Thompson’s reservations.

“Because Emma is an amazing person who is very intellectually stimulating, and she has a lot of intellectual ideas, but she’s still like the rest of us, just steeped in a culture that teaches us that we should hate our bodies,” explains Hyde.

“You know, it’s not an easy thing to come out with… And especially as an actress, she’s faced with that all the time… I knew it was a hard thing to do. I don’t think I realized how difficult the time would be for her. Because she knows that for Nancy, Nancy has just accessed that great pleasure in herself… For the first time in her life, she doesn’t care about how she looks.

— Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Jimmie Rhee

Good luck to you, Big Leo is currently streaming on Hulu.

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