Emma Thompson says she’s ‘never really been offered sex scenes’ before her new film

We always appreciate actress Emma Thompson for her honesty, and that is certainly true as she discusses filming sex scenes for her new film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, in which she stars opposite Daryl McCormack (who you may have spotted in the BBC’s Peaky Blinders before now).

Emma Thompson
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Emma plays retired schoolteacher and widow, Nancy Stokes, who is ‘yearning for some adventure, some human connection, and some sex.’ So she connects with sex worker Leo Grande in the hope of experiencing an orgasm for the first time.

Directed by Sophie Hyde and hailed as a sex-positive dramedy, at 62-years-old Emma had to complete full-frontal nude scenes for the film, something she recently spoke about with Entertainment Weekly.

‘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 shared.

Emma Thompson
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‘It’s very challenging to be nude at 62,’ the actress admitted, before adding that her character ‘stands in front of a mirror alone and she drops her robe.’

The Oscar-winner went on to discuss the cultural and societal demands placed on women and their bodies.

‘Nothing has changed in the dreadful demands made upon women in the real-world world but also in acting,’ Emma 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.’

‘I don’t think I could’ve done it before the age that I am,’ she said of getting nude in front of the camera. ‘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.’

Daryl McCormack
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Speaking to The Times, Thompson also revealed that she has ‘never really been offered sex scenes’ before this movie.

‘As my mother said, I’ve basically played a series of “good” women. I do “cerebral”‘ Emma said. ‘And I have also never conformed to the shape or look of someone they might want to see naked. And by “they”, I mean male executives. I’m too mouthy, not pretty enough, not the right kind of body. And, crikey, you are constantly told what kind of body you have. In one interview I did, the male journalist wrote that I’d put on a lot of weight since I appeared in Fortunes of War, and that my legs were “now like tree trunks”, and that I’d “let myself down”. I was 31 and, quite frankly, no longer starving myself. I don’t think anyone realises quite how thin most actresses are in real life. They look quite… unreal.’

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is released in cinemas on June 17