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

Sophie Hyde never read a manuscript faster. That 52 Tuesdays the filmmaker was in quarantine in Australia when she was told that a director was needed for an independent film written by Katy Brand, who was to play the two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson as a lonely 55-year-old widow and empty nest hiring a male sex worker (Daryl McCormack) because she’s never had an orgasm in her life.

“The concept [was] fantastic and Emma is brilliant, but together they just felt like magic, ”Hyde says in a recent interview with the resulting sex-positive dramatic comedy, Good luck to you, Leo Grandewhich premiered for raves – and Oscar buzz for Thompson – at the January Sundance Film Festival (the film is now streaming on Hulu).

While much of the two-handed player is conversational, almost stage-like, as Nancy nervously considers whether she will go through various acts with Leo, the film has attracted plenty of attention for its climatic, satisfying sex scene – which Thompson and the company revealed was not originally with in the script, but added in the middle of production.

“We moved towards it as a group,” says Thompson, 63. “It was earned through our exploration of the characters and the situation and what was right. In a way, you could not have made a decision about the end until we had been through the journey with them … These two people enjoyed themselves without reservation, without qualifications … And yet it was not a romance. I loved it. I thought it was radical to show intimacy without romance. “

Actually love, big lion is not.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE, FROM LEFT: Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack, 2022. © Searchlight Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

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

Thompson has called a scene in the film – where Nancy stands completely naked and looks at herself in the mirror – the most difficult thing she has ever done. That Reason and Sensitivity and Harry Potter star tells us she got through it by “being Nancy.” At least after a little resistance.

“I mean, I was pulled, kicked and screamed. I thought, ‘Please don’t force me to do this. Please,'” she recalls. “But I said, ‘OK.’ It is okay. It’s not me … Nancy does not objectify herself … She does not judge herself negatively or positively. It is a strangely neutral gaze, and she looks at herself, not because of the exterior, but because of the interior. She is suddenly able to feel herself. So in a way, it’s a rebirth. So that look in the mirror is really the first time she’s ever seen her body. “

Hyde says she was aware of Thompson’s reservations.

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

“You know, it’s not an easy thing to get out of … And especially as an actress she’s faced with it all the time … I knew it was a difficult thing to do. I do not think I was ready “how difficult the moment would be for her. Because she knows that for Nancy, Nancy has just gained access to this great pleasure in herself … For the first time in her life, she does not care what it looks like.”

– Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Jimmie Rhee

Good luck to you, Leo Grande currently streaming on Hulu.

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