British actress Emma Thompson, who plays a widow and former teacher Nancy in the much appreciated film ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’, which was recently screened at Berlinale, revealed that her part in the film pushed her to new avenues as an actor where she learnt to accept her body on screen.
During the Berlin presser, she was asked about a key scene where her character in the film stands unmoving in front of a mirror. As per Variety, the actress spoke passionately about the challenge of delivering an “untreated body” in a movie.
The actress told a room full of journalists, “It was hard. This is homework for all of you. We’re only used to seeing bodies that have, you know, been trained. I knew that Nancy wouldn’t go to the gym. She would have a normal body of a 62-year-old woman who’s had two children.”
She continued, “I can’t stand in front of a mirror like that. If I stand in front of a mirror, I’ll always pull something in [or do] something. I can’t just stand there. Why would I do that? It’s horrifying. But that’s the problem, isn’t it? Women have been brainwashed all our lives. That’s the fact of it. And everything that surrounds us reminds us how imperfect we are and how everything is wrong. Everything is wrong, and we need to look like this.”
Thompson and her co-actor Daryl McCormack, who plays the titular role of Leo Grande, were later asked about the physicality of the movie. Responding to this, Thompson said, “we did a lot of work on the body” with a few days of rehearsal that “saved us a lot.”
“We would lie on the ground and draw around our bodies and then (point out) the places that you think you like or you don’t like or things that have happened to your body. And then one day we spent the entire day with no clothes on, because we had to get used to (it)”, she further said.
Thompson also spoke about how female pleasure is something that is not given much attention, “I don’t think female pleasure has ever been at the top of the list of things the world wants to make sure it has.”
She added, “In my country (the UK), it’s not considered important that we have pleasure. Nancy’s not growing up or going about in a world that’s saying, ‘Actually, have you had any pleasure?'”
McCormack added, “Sophie created such a beautiful foundation for us. On the sixth day of rehearsal we finally got to the intimate scenes and we were ready to jump across that threshold of vulnerability.”