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Monday, February 1st, 2010
12:48 pm - Emma on 'The Journey' film

From The Sunday Times January 31, 2010
Emma Thompson: We can lift the veil on sex slavery


Emma Thompson (pictured poking her head through a 'condom curtain' which will hang over the entrance to one of the containers). Seven transport containers will house work on the theme of sex slavery. The containers will house work by artists including Laura Carlin and Anish Kapoor

Emma Thompson peers through a curtain of condoms, the entrance to one of the trailers in the art installation that inspired her film

Anna Burnside



Emma Thompson, reprising her role as the snaggle-toothed childminder Nanny McPhee, is at present being trailed in every multiplex. This character, for the benefit of those without children, has the magical ability to transform wilful, heathen brats into thoughtful, charming little cherubs. She makes Shrek look slinky, wears a starched apron and pince-nez, talks in a low, authoritative voice and tolerates no nonsense.

So it comes as something of a surprise to see her pop up in a short film about sex trafficking. It is even more of a shock when Nanny McPhee says “f***”. Which she does, frequently. Thompson, an Oscar-winning actor and screenwriter, is passionate about the issue and has been campaigning off-screen for years against the trafficking of women to work in the sex industry. This film, The Journey, is the first time she has made a stand on screen. Watching it, she admits, is “pretty bloody gruelling”. “But the awful thing is, it’s not as bad as what really happens. We need to give people a fright.”

Directed by the former Skids frontman Richard Jobson, it started life as an art installation, Journey, in 2007. Developed into a short film, it follows a woman, Elena, from her childhood in Moldova, to her abuse at the hands of a gang of traffickers, to her attempted suicide in a squalid little room. The traffickers are animals, but there is also a white-shirted family man, one of her clients, whose wife and children end up spattered with the prostitute’s blood.

The main audience Thompson hopes to reach is the one most resistant to her message: men who pay prostitutes for sex. She tackles this delicate subject in her terrifyingly forthright way. “We have to start a dialogue with the customer. The customer is not someone who knows whether that person they’re paying is going to keep the money, or going to have it taken away from them, or wasn’t there willingly, in which case they’re committing rape. Most men who pay don’t necessarily want that, although some men do; some men get off on it.” Those who don’t, Thompson hopes, will have their eyes opened by The Journey. She says men are paying for sex more and more. And Thompson has no fear of bringing this up in polite company. “Everyone just laughs, looks away, says shut up.” This does not put her off. She recalls speaking at a meeting in Vienna, where the installation was about to go on show. “I said, I don’t mean to be rude, but we are very likely sitting in a room with lots of people who’ve paid for sex, so if you are going to pay for it you’ve got to look at this, I’m afraid. People are so in denial about it. Well guys, what are we going to do here? They have to talk to us, to the prostitutes; we have to all get into a room together and talk about it.” And how does Thompson plan to recruit these punters? “Don’t worry,” she says crisply. “We’ll find them.”

Before that, she plans to buttonhole Boris Johnson. “First of all I’m going in to see the mayor,” she says, as if it was as simple as popping to the corner shop. “We need to have the installation, or a version of it, up in London before and during the Olympics, because of all the trafficking that goes on around huge international sporting events like that.” Does she expect Johnson to be receptive to putting the international sex trade at the centre of the biggest international PR opportunity London has ever known? She sees no reason why not. “It’ll help him, for f**** sake.”

For Thompson, it is a case of exploring every available avenue to expose the horrors of the international sex industry. The Journey is certainly not easy viewing. Neither documentary nor drama, Jobson’s film has turned Elena’s story into 14 minutes of relentless agit-prop art, using the fast-cut editing techniques and the evocative soundtrack familiar from his movies and music videos. Thompson, as the narrator, pulls the viewer out of the nightmare sequences of rape, violence and self-harm, back to reality. Actor and director, two forces of nature in one room, debated the best way to bring the brutal reality of human trafficking to the big screen. “In dramatic terms, the story has been told on ITV on a Sunday night, by Channel 4, in Hollywood,” says Jobson. “We are almost immune.” So The Journey borrows from music promos, computer games and guerilla protest events, showing Elena’s experience in what Jobson hopes is “a more modern way”. Thompson, a co-producer of the film, put up some of the money. “It’s much like poverty or any other major issue that is going on in the world,” she says in her distinctive, headmistressy voice. “You have to keep on saying it, but you can’t keep on saying it in exactly the same way. It’s very difficult to find different ways to tell the same story. But that’s what is so necessary, especially with something that’s so hidden.”

Thompson had a very personal agenda to pursue: Elena has become a friend. They met through the Helen Bamber Foundation, set up after the second world war to help survivors from Belsen. Thompson got involved in the 1980s, when the charity worked with Chilean and Argentinian torture victims. She is now the chairperson and these days they work with, among many others, trafficked women. It was Michael Korzinski, the foundation’s co-founder and an expert in dealing with trauma survivors, who put the actor and the Moldovan prostitute together. Elena had been telling him about a conversation she had overheard among other sex workers.

“These girls were standing around talking. They were saying that they didn’t believe it occurred, that ‘people trafficking’ was just a way that girls found their way into this country to work as prostitutes and get money. Basically, they were saying it was just illegal immigrants making a fuss. Elena had a panic attack and a breakdown about it. She went to see Michael to discuss it. He asked her, ‘What is it you wanted to say to them?’ And she said, ‘I just want them to know, for five minutes, what it’s like.’” Korzinski’s response was: “I think you need to talk to Emma.” And together they came up with the bones of an art installation, Journey. This was a series of seven trailers, the kind associated in many people’s minds with the trade in human smuggling, decorated to show the lives of women who end up working in the sex industry against their will. The trailers were lined up outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in 2007.

Enter Jobson, a man better known for portraying violence on screen than campaigning against it. His colleague, Kate Pirouet, designed one of the trailers in Journey; he went to see the artwork, met Thompson and ended up behind the camera. “When he started to learn about sex trafficking and saw the installation, he really minded,” recalls Thompson. “It really p***** him off. Actually that’s a mild way of putting it. I think he was appalled by it and wanted to do something.” They decided to harness their mutual anger in The Journey. “You have to be very reasonable a lot of the time, when you’re talking to people, and Richard said, ‘Let’s use that bit of you that doesn’t feel reasonable, and actually wants to kill people. Let’s try to shock’.”

They hope The Journey will take the horrible truths about human trafficking to a different audience. It is available to view on the internet and will be making the rounds of film festivals, with its big-screen debut at the Glasgow Film Festival in February, followed by a special screening as part of the Fifer festival in March. It will then go on what Jobson describes as “a major tour of the film festivals of the planet”. Despite Thompson’s optimism, a campaign against sex trafficking is never going to be an easy sell. It is a dirty little secret that too many vested interests want to stay that way. Did she never consider following Richard Curtis et al to the fluffier side of altruism? She claims not. “This is not me wishing for something to do. This is something that comes along and you look at it and think, if I don’t do something about this, I’m not going to be friends with myself. You don’t have to do it all the time, or make yourself a martyr to it, or use it to make yourself superior. There’s no real choice. You’ve just got to do something.”

The Journey is at the Glasgow Film Festival on February 25, then at the Fifer Festival, Dunfermline, on March 4

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Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
5:16 pm


Emma Thompson and Gaia Are Ballet Bound!

Tags: Kids

Two-time Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson and daughter Gaia Romilly, 10, are in the Christmas spirit while attending  a VIP reception at the St. Martins Lane Hotel in London on December 16th.The event celebrated opening night of the English National Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker, with twice-daily showings at the London Coliseum now through January 3rd.Emma, 50, is also mom to Tindyebwa Agaba with husband Greg Wise.


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12:43 pm - Emma & Journey video - link to press interview


Emma Thompson: 'Chances are you'll know somebody who pays for sex'

Actor and screenwriter Emma Thompson explains how rage fuelled her role as the voice of conscience in The Journey, Richard Jobson's violent and powerful short film about the experiences of one sex worker

To buy Richard Ashcroft's theme music to The Journey click here. All proceeds from the sale of the single go to the Helen Bamber foundation

WARNING: The video in this article contains strong sexual and violent images that viewers may find disturbing
guardian.co.uk, Friday 18 December 2009


Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
1:21 pm - Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang Trailer


It looks fantastic! I can't wait for the film (or even just more trailers). Any thoughts?

current mood: good
Thursday, November 26th, 2009
12:51 pm - Emma at Call My Wine Bluff event for Actionaid

heatworld image
Celebrity wine-lovers out-smart each other in aid of global poverty
20 Nov 2009 12:17:04 GMT
Source: ActionAid
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.
216723 logo
Emma Thompson, Stephen Merchant, Jan Ravens, Shappi Khorsandi, Olly Smith, Lee Mack and Michael Ball became the most skilled of wine buffs and wine bluffers at ActionAid's celebrity fundraising event, Call My Wine Bluff.
Quaglino’s restaurant in London played host to an exclusive evening of wonderful wine, fabulous food and top-class celebrity entertainment. The stories ranged from the hilarious to the un-believable, with many punters being completely fooled by tall tales.
White lies and wine

In this high-spirited take on the classic TV game-show, the six celebrity panellists aimed to dupe guests - and each other - into believing a fictional story behind the wine being tasted.
Those who managed to snap up tickets to ActionAid’s Call My Wine Bluff had the chance to taste eight wines all donated by exclusive wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd as well as enjoying a sumptuous three course meal.
One-off experiences
Bon Jovi donated a signed Fender Mexican Stratocaster guitar which sold for £3,000. Luxury holidays, a one-off fashion internship, football box tickets and many more experiences were also up for grabs.
The quick photocall at the champagne bar provoked a certain frisson as the celebrities rubbed shoulders with guests and a great time was had by all. A total of £160,000 was raised in an unforgettable night of food, wine and dupes, all to ensure ActionAid can continue its work around the world.

[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters. ]
Textual description (image: Panellists at Call my wine bluff)
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
4:59 pm - Emma Thompson opens up her cellar



Emma Thompson opens up her cellar to Telegraph wine writer Jonathan Ray

The multi-talented Emma Thompson - actress, scriptwriter and budding wine connoisseur - invites Telegraph wine writer Jonathan Ray to share a glass from her cellar-cum-broom cupboard.

By Jonathan Ray  30 Oct 2009
A vine romance: Emma Thompson and Jonathan Ray enjoy a bottle of Château Grand Puy Lacoste
A vine romance: Emma Thompson and Jonathan Ray enjoy a bottle of Château Grand Puy Lacoste Photo: ANDREW CROWLEY
  Wines from Emma Thompson's dream cellar
Wines from Emma Thompson's dream cellar Photo: CLARA MOLDEN

A leafy street in West Hampstead and I spot Emma Thompson's house from the corner. I recognise the two notorious stone gargoyles that belong to her mother and next-door neighbour, the acclaimed actress Phyllida Law. And I can't possibly miss her delivery on the doorstep, comprising as it does several cases of Pol Roger and, as I get closer, what look to be boxes of meursault and possibly barolo. The gargoyles recently made the headlines after having been returned by a penitent thief who fell seriously ill, apparently because Law had put a curse on him. The two are now cemented firmly back in place on the garden wall and a handwritten sign nearby says: ''Thank you for returning the stone statues, all curses lifted, hurrah!''
How many dual Oscar winners (Best Actress in 1992 for Howard's End and Best Adapted Screenplay in 1996 for Sense and Sensibility) live next to their mother in such an unassuming street? It's a relationship that's echoed in Thompson's most recent film, Last Chance Harvey, in which her character enjoys a close relationship with her eccentric mother. Viv, Thompson's PA, lets me in, introduces us and then melts away. There are no PRs, agents or advisers in tow, just me, Thompson and the photographer. "Come in, come in!" Thompson cries. "Have a drink. Or is it too early? Have some coffee, or perhaps you don't. I can't do caffeine any more, it gives me far too much of a buzz. It's water or wine for me these days."

I glimpse a bottle of 2006 Château Grand Puy Lacoste and two large glasses on the kitchen table, which I find encouraging. It's 11am and certainly not too early for me. Thompson catches me mentally licking my lips. "No, no, it's far too early!" she scolds in a mock schoolmarm's voice. "Ten years too bloody early. What are you thinking? The wine's much too young. Besides, it's for your photographer." Just as I'm wondering why he should get all the treats, she adds, laughing, "As a prop."

Thompson is in high good humour. She has recently finished filming the sequel to Nanny McPhee and is writing the accompanying book, the text of which she is interweaving with her diary of the shoot. She starts writing her next screenplay in January but, most importantly, is appearing in London later this month in a one-off celebrity wine lover's version of Call My Bluff (see box overleaf), held on behalf of the charity ActionAid. Like many a celebrity – Angelina Jolie with Afghanistan Relief, say, or Richard Gere and his Heroes Project – Thompson is using her fame for charitable purposes. For almost 10 years she has been an ambassador for ActionAid, a British organisation dedicated to ending poverty and injustice in such countries as Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa. "There's good aid and bad aid," Thompson says. "ActionAid gives good aid, communicating with people on the ground who know what it is they need. They only work with people who live or come from wherever it is they're trying to help. ActionAid supports and sustains them, and puts suitable measures into practice. They don't go driving tactlessly around in posh 4x4s with 'ActionAid' plastered over the doors and making a great fuss. That's both tacky and unhelpful."

In 2003, in a sign of how personally involved she had become, Thompson and her second husband, actor Greg Wise (best known for playing caddish John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility), adopted Tindyebwa (''Tindy'') Agaba, a Rwandan orphan whose father died of Aids and whose mother had disappeared during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Tindy has thrived and, having graduated from Exeter University, is now studying for an MA at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

At last year's Call My Wine Bluff, Thompson appeared alongside comedians David Mitchell and Sean Lock losing, unfortunately, to Sue Perkins, Hugh Dennis and Tim Brooke-Taylor while Clive Anderson looked on as compère. "I can't understand how we lost. David reckons it's because we were sold a couple of pups with the questions. But it was such fun and it all got tremendously out of hand as we knocked back the wines featured in the questions. As did the audience, by the way. More questions led to more quaffing. Actually, now I think about it, I think we may have lost because we were, quite frankly, drunk." Drunk or sober, the evening raised some £200,000 and this year's event at Quaglino's on November 19 promises to be just as riotous with Michael Ball, Shappi Khorsandi, Stephen Merchant, Jan Ravens and Lee Mack joining Thompson. I wonder how one prepares for an event like this. By simply drinking more wine or by mugging up serious wine books? "Oh lord, I don't know. I've got so much on at the moment and I've got to stay off the wine if I'm going to remain alive. Besides, wine really shouldn't be taken that seriously, but just seriously enough."

Thompson knows more about wine than she admits. In fact, I had heard that she was hoping to become a Master of Wine. This qualification is notoriously tough – only about a third of each year's students gain the right to use the initials MW after their name. Indeed, there are just 278 successful graduates worldwide. "All I really want to be able to do is identify certain wines and be able to remember them as well as matching them with food," she says. "But yes, I was thinking of attempting the Master of Wine course, but having done an intermediate course at Berry Bros, I realised how technical a subject wine can be. It was a bit like learning my lines and to be honest it took some of the romance out of it." For Thompson, it's all about what's in the bottle, not how it got there, something which she compares with performing.

"There's a huge iceberg of work hidden away that people don't, and shouldn't, see," she says. "When you watch a performance of Hamlet or even Nanny McPhee you don't want to know how much sweat it took to learn the lines or how long it took to build the set or get into make-up. You just want to enjoy the show. It's the same with wine. I don't want to know how long the harvest was, how old the vines were or at what temperature it was fermented. I just want to savour and enjoy the end result and match it to the right grub." She buys wine regularly from just three merchants: Berry Bros & Rudd, Genesis Wines and Argyll Vintners in Dunoon, Scotland, where she has a house. "Argyll Vintners has to be my favourite place on earth," she explains. "It's a wine shop which also, bizarrely, sells wool. Argyll Vintners and Woolshop – a One-Stop-Shop for Wine and Knitting Needles. It's all very Alice in Wonderland. Such independents deserve to be supported and I flatly refuse to buy any wine from supermarkets. They might have very good buyers but it's just not fair how much power over us the supermarkets have."

Thompson and Wise were married in Dunoon in 2003 and she remembers the occasion as much for the wine as anything else. The couple managed to do the entire wedding for just £2,000, she tells me, keeping the occasion low key. "All the money I would otherwise have spent I invested in wine," she says. "Among many other treats we bought a case of stunning 1982 Chateau Léoville-Lascases and some gorgeous 2000 meursault. We managed to entertain 20 friends for an entire week and whenever we opened a bottle the whole party would let out a collective sigh of joy. It all passed in a very agreeable haze and I'll never forget it. What I remember of it."

She's itching to show me her cellar and leads me to a wooden door tucked beside the stairs. As she opens it I prepare to descend some cobwebbed stone steps but instead find myself nipping out of the way as a vacuum cleaner tumbles noisily out. "How unsettling for the wine buff," she laughs, bundling up the wires and kicking the machine out of sight. It might only be a cupboard under the stairs but there are some real treats within, classically French in the main, such as vintage Pol Roger and Le Vieux Télégraph Châteauneuf-du-Pape; top class meursault, condrieu and late-picked alsace; plenty of 2005 cru classé claret, such as Château Batailley and Domaine de Chevalier interspersed with the occasional Yarra Yering (Australia) or Ramey (California) chardonnays. I notice the best wines are tucked somewhat out of sight to the left of the racks by the mops and brooms. "That's so when I hurl open the door desperate for a drink I don't end up grabbing the fancy stuff. It's a carefully thought out system of self-restraint."

Thompson occasionally remembers to jot down tasting notes in a handsome leather-bound cellar book. Some are in depth, others succinct. Next to 2005 cru classé claret, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, for example, is: ''Oh God, this is good!'' By ''super tuscan'' 2003 Tignanello she's written: ''Blue/blackcurrant, whatever that means." Wise has scribbled, ''Hint of vole and jelly." "Poor chap," Thompson whispers, although he's nowhere to be seen. "He doesn't drink wine, only beer. It's his loss, and means that there's all the more for me and my mum."

Although far from being a wine snob, she says one of the benefits of growing older (she recently turned 50) and presumably richer, is that she no longer has to drink stuff she doesn't like. "If I go to a 'do' and don't like the wine on offer, I won't drink it," she says. "There's no point. Not like when I was young when it was pretty much 'fill her up!' To be honest I'd rather have a vodka martini or my own home-made damson or sloe gin than indifferent wine." Her most recent treat, she reveals, was sitting with her mother at the kitchen table laboriously pricking hundreds of freshly picked sloes for their homemade gin, after which they rewarded themselves with a bottle of Bollinger Rosé followed by 2001 Château Branaire-Ducru, a classic Fourth Growth red bordeaux, drunk alongside the Sunday roast beef.

Earlier, I had told Thompson how thrilled I was that the Eighties BBC series Tutti Frutti, in which she made her name, had finally made it onto DVD. I remember enjoying it hugely. As I finally get up to go, she quietly slips me a boxed set of it and I'm touched. "We drank like fishes while filming that," she laughs. "Anything and everything. I hope I'm a bit more discerning now."



Treats either in, or destined for, Emma Thompson’s cupboard under the stairs include plenty of non-vintage Pol Roger. White burgundy is popular, from Corton Charlemagne to more modestly priced Rully.

There is some 2002 Chassagne-Montrachet Les Ruchottes Ramonet to look forward to and some 2001 Leflaives have already been a great success. The meursaults from Deux Montille and Arnaud Ente will reward her well.

2005 bordeaux is well-represented (Châteaux Batailley, Grand Puy Lacoste), a cracking vintage yet to hit its peak. There’s red burgundy from Denis Bachelet and J-F Mugnier. And she also has some fine red 2007s for the long haul, as well as some fabulous condrieu from Domaine Mouton.

I’d like to get my hands on the 2004 Marcarini Barolo Brunate that I saw arriving and the rich and luscious late-picked pinot gris from Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace should be stunning.



Call My Wine Bluff, a wine-tasting fund-raiser in which six celebrity panellists try to dupe guests and each other into believing their story behind the wine being tasted, is at Quaglino’s in London on Nov 19. Tickets are available at £295 or £2,500 for a table of 10 and can be purchased on 020 7561 7674 or through www.actionaid.org.uk/winebluff or winebluff@actionaid.org. Tickets include a pre-dinner drinks reception, three-course meal designed by Quaglino’s head chef Konrad Inghelram and distinguished wines donated by Berry Bros and Rudd. The evening includes a live auction of “money can’t buy” items and experiences, a silent auction and a raffle, all raising funds for ActionAid, a charity supporting the poor in more than 40 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas.


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Saturday, October 10th, 2009
10:20 pm -

Come join dailyemma, my daily picture community dedicated to the fabulous Emma Thompson!


Friday, October 9th, 2009
2:05 pm - A clip from Peter's Friends

Reasons why you should watch this clip:

1. Stephen Fry
2. Emma Thompson

(Someone showed me this scene a while ago, and I just chopped it out of the original longer video which was part of the full movie which has been uploaded to YouTube here. I really should get around to watching this, shouldn't I?)

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Thursday, October 1st, 2009
12:35 pm - Sophie & Sophibility

Jealous of Emma Thompson? Not her actress sister Sophie
By Jenny Johnston 26th September 2009

Thank heavens for little sisters. They can always be trusted to tell it as it is.
Halfway through an interview with actress Sophie Thompson - sister of Emma, and herself a star of Four Weddings And A Funeral and EastEnders - I ask what happens when they are out shopping together.  As members of an acting dynasty - their mother is actress Phyllida Law; their father, Eric Thompson, was an actor, director and wrote and narrated The Magic Roundabout - are they both a magnet for autograph hunters? She snorts. 

Actress Sophie Thompson tells her children that she goes out to work 'to buy sausages'

Down to earth: Actress Sophie Thompson tells her children that she goes out to work 'to buy sausages'
'Oh no. People don't tend to recognise us because we are such a pair of crumbly old birds.'  Sophie is possibly the least luvvie actress I've met. She tells her kids - Ernie, 12, and Walter, nine - that she goes out to work 'to buy sausages', and comes out with immortal lines such as, 'I did an episode of Casualty, and a stint on Doctors, but they wouldn't have me on The Bill.'  She's most famous now for a stint on EastEnders, playing mad Stella Crawford, Phil Mitchell's love interest, who turned out to be evil and came to a nasty end. Her latest project is the film Morris: A Life With Bells On, a mockumentary about morris dancing.  Sophie stars alongside , Harriet Walter, her husband - actor and musician Richard Lumsden, who also wrote the score - and Emma's husband, .

I ask if she and Emma (or Em, as she calls her) have ever gone up for the same role. 'People assume there is this rivalry, but there isn't. It wouldn't occur to me to compare myself to her, nor her to me.' There could also be practical reasons why the sisters have gone in different directions, career-wise. Sophie is candid about what motherhood did to her professional success - 'It basically narrowed all the choices down to, "Can I do this with the boys?"' - while Emma, who struggled for years to start a family, didn't have the same constraints until later.

Sophie, pictured here with famous sister Emma Thompson, married one year and had a baby the next

Traditional: Sophie, pictured here with famous sister Emma Thompson (left) as teenagers, married one year and had a baby the next

'That must have been very difficult,' Sophie says. 'When she was going through IVF, I had one child already. It had all happened pretty easily for me. Married one year; a baby the next. It was very traditional - most unlike me. I think my mother was shocked. I would hazard that that was a really tough one for Em. IVF is ghastly, and they did so wonderfully to come through it all.' Now her sons have two cousins - Gaia, nine, the product of that IVF, and Tindy, the Rwandan refugee adopted by Emma and Greg. Both Sophie and Emma met their husbands on the set of the Oscar-winning film Sense And Sensibility.
Sophie, who lives in , has always managed without a nanny, and has rarely taken a job that involves long stints away from home. 'There is quite a lot of "You are filming in Borehamwood [just outside London]? Marvellous. I'll have that job please." Mostly you're not supposed to admit to that, but I was lying in the bath the other night reading an interview with , and she said that she'd reached that stage where the first thing she asked when considering a part was, "Where are you filming?". I'm like that, but was a bit embarrassed to admit it. Now it's fine. If it's okay for Uma, it's okay for me.' Obviously, EastEnders was something of a blessing, in that it was filmed down the road from her home, and offered great sausage-buying potential. Did she dither over the part, though, given that other actors can be sniffy about soaps? 'Oh, God, no. I love soaps. I used to have a bit of an obsession with Coronation Street. Betty and her hotpot, the cobbles, all those amazing northern birds. I had to wean myself off it, actually, because it was taking over.'
It would have been odd if the young Sophie hadn't wanted to be an actor. She spent her childhood watching her mother on the stage; and her father directing. 'It was endlessly fascinating. I'd lay out my mother's lipsticks in her dressing room. Or my father directing amazing people such as . I grew up wanting to be part of it, and I suppose feeling I was part of it.' Her father died when she was 19, but his presence is still keenly felt. When she got married in 1995, she walked down the aisle to the strains of The Magic Roundabout, and talks openly about her dad to her sons. 'We have photos of him everywhere, and he is still very much part of the family. Kids make it easier.
They chat away about Grandpa Eric, and they say, "He is dead, isn't he?", and I say, "Yes, he is." When they were little they used to watch The Magic Roundabout, which was lovely, because Dad's voice was on there.'  Was that difficult? 'Yes, at first, terribly, but after that it was lovely, and it has been so important to keep him alive for the boys.' On paper, parts of her childhood sound tragic. Eric was ill for many years before his death. He had suffered a debilitating stroke, and his speech was affected. Sophie recalls helping to teach him to talk again. 'The funny thing is I never thought of him as ill. When he died, it was a huge shock.'

Emma Thompson as Sybill Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Character part: Emma Thompson plays Sybill Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

There is a strong sense that the three Thompson women clung to each other after Eric's death, as they have done since.  'We are tough old birds,' Sophie says. 'I do feel that there is a lot of Ma in both of us. She grew up on the fringes of the war and was evacuated as a child. I can't even bear to think about that - of her as a scared little girl - but it did something to our family. We're all fighters, I guess.' They are still incredibly close. Up until recently, all three lived in the same street, although Sophie has recently moved away. All of a mile or so. But it doesn't sound like a cloying sort of closeness.  'No. It's fundamentally practical. You know, I often see women - mums and daughters - sitting round chatting endlessly, but I'm not sure we do that. We are more "getter on-ers".' No big Thompson heart-to-hearts around the kitchen table, a la movieland then? She laughs, 'Like they would in EastEnders? No! But who does that? I remember someone once saying that soap is all out there, with people saying what they really mean, whereas real life is quite the opposite. Come to think of it there is something quite blokey about my relationship with Mum and Em. We do things rather than just chat. Maybe that's it - we aren't birds at all!'.
Morris: A Life With Bells On will be released nationwide through Picturehouse cinemas from tomorrow, www.morrismovie.com

Who knew?

Sophie will be starring in the final harry Potter film next year  -  harry Potter and the Deathly hallows  -  as mafalda hopkirk


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Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
10:32 am - Emma goes Morris mad


Emma Thompson turns Morris Dancer at premiere of husband's 'quintessentially English' film

By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 11:26 PM on 24th September 2009
Judging by her outfit, it looks like Emma Thompson would have loved a starring role in the film. Instead she made do with dressing up as a Morris dancer as she supported her husband Greg Wise at the premiere of his new film Morris: A Life With Bells On. The Harry Potter actress, whose husband Greg Wise is in the film, donned full regalia for the occasion, including a stick, a hat with flowing ribbons and quirky black and white shoes.

Emma Thompson

Getting involved: Emma Thompson joined in the fun and dressed as a Morris dancer at the premiere of Morris: A Life With Bells On in London tonight


The star of the movie Sir Derek Jacobi has said he hopes it will help the 'quintessentially English' pastime flourish. He insisted the tradition would never die out as colourfully-dressed Morris men danced for crowds at the premiere tonight in London's Leicester Square. It is a comedy faux-documentary which follows the fortunes of Millsham Morris, one of the leading sides in the country.

Emma Thompson and Greg Wise

She came out to support her husband Greg Wise who stars in the movie

Emma Thompson and Greg Wise

Country bumpkins: The couple pose on bales of hay next to a milk bucket outside the Prince Charles Theatre in Leicester Square


Sir Derek, who plays traditionalist Quentin Neely, said the film was made with 'no budget, no money, but a lot of heart, love and passion'. He said he hoped it would help Morris dancing flourish, adding: 'It will survive whatever anybody says. It's a wonderfully eccentric part of English tradition. It's quintessentially English.' Charles Thomas Oldham wrote and produced the film and starred as its leading character, Derecq Twist.

Morris A Life With Bells On

Line up: From left, Harriet Walter, Sir Derek Jacobi, Lucy Akhurst, writer Chaz Oldham and Greg Wise


He said: 'I was immersed in Morris dancing from a young age. It's in my DNA.' Oldham's wife, Lucy Akhurst, who directed the film and appeared in it as a physiotherapist, said she hoped it would be picked up in the United States. She added: 'We'd love to take it to the States and introduce the world to the Morris.'

Morris A Life With Bells On

'Quintessentially English': Morris dancers added a splash of colour in bright outfits and hats with flowers in


More pics from the premiere here http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/HyJoWeywaUY/Morris+Life+Bells+UK+Film+Premiere+Inside
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
5:26 pm - Interview with Emma's Mum, Phyllida Law


Interview: Phyllida Law - A law unto herself

Renowned actress Phyllida Law. Picture: Graham Jepson
Published Date: 22 September 2009
By Jackie McGlone
CHALKED on a blackboard outside the front door is a sign announcing that "the curse has been lifted by the Neighbourhood Witch".
Ah, thereby hangs a tale, cries the elegant Scottish actress Phyllida Law as I wipe my feet on a mat warning visitors to "Beware of the Chickens". Witches? Curses? Chickens? Is this hushed, leafy corner of West Hampstead housing a coven, perchance? When I suggest this to Law, she whoops with wicked laughter. She bustles off to make tea while relating the saga of the mysterious case of the disappearing gargoyles.

It may sound like a Miss Marple plot, but it's actually just another day in the delightfully daffy life of Law. She was born in Glasgow. Her father, William, was a journalist, though he and her mum, Megsie, divorced after the war and Law never saw him again. She is now the reigning matriarch of the Thompson dynasty, as the widow of actor and Magic Roundabout writer Eric Thompson, the mother of Oscar-winner Emma Thompson, and Sophie, also an accomplished actress.

A stone gargoyle she'd cemented to the wall outside her "perfect little granny flat" – across the road from the house that Emma shares with her second husband, the actor Greg Wise, their daughter Gaia (nine) and adopted son Tindyebwa Agaba (22) – was stolen.

"I replaced it because all the neighbours' children love them, particularly wee boys who like ugly things. Blow me, if the second one didn't vanish!" she exclaims. So, she displayed a huge sign featuring a blow-up of an old Hallowe'en photograph of herself wearing a prosthetic nose and witch's hat, announcing that the thief was hereby cursed.

"Darling! This morning, I found upon the doorstep a filthy old rucksack containing both gargoyles and a note." As she hands me this missive, a hen nonchalantly enters the room. "Shoo, Mrs Pepperpot! Shoo!" she exclaims, ushering the errant fowl back into her garden. "There used to be three of them but two died. I was terribly fond of them." The thief has written to say that he – "I'm convinced it's a man as it required brute strength to remove the things" – is very sorry and that he's been ill since purloining them and hopes that said curse will be lifted soon. Law's cornflower-blue eyes widen with wonder as we ponder whether she has unleashed supernatural powers she knew nothing of. Certainly, like her clever daughters, she has supernatural talent, gorgeous bone structure that age can not wither, and a madcap sense of humour. A streak of dottiness runs through the Thompson clan, she concedes. Dotty? When I first knew her decades ago, she used to wear a monocle, for heaven's sake.

"Am I dotty? Definitely, darling! I think that's what they most fear across the road," she whispers. "They worry that the older I get the dizzier I'll get, so I don't tell them half the daft things that happen because they'd only worry, as would Sophie, who used to live just up road." Sophie and her husband, actor and sitcom writer Richard Lumsden, have since moved with their two sons to a larger house a couple of miles away.

Law is 77, and about to publish her first book, Notes To My Mother-in-law. She's known as grandma "Fifi" by, and is besotted with, Sophie's sons Ernie (12) and Walter (8), as well as Gaia, whom she puts to bed every night, "although she's perfectly capable of doing so herself", and Tindy, who fled the Rwandan genocide and whose mother died when he was nine. "He's heaven! He's brought so much joy into our lives. Such a treat to have him around," she says, showing me a photograph of him with the family. "He's so black! I always tell him to smile a lot when we're out at night because we can't see him in the dark, especially when we go to Ardentinny, where we have a cottage and seven sheep. We've given him a black ram, which delighted him."

All four of her grandchildren are "delicious and the big plus is they don't live with me – I can send them home", she continues, pinning up a wisp of smoke-grey hair that she wears in a tumble on top of her head. She also relishes being a mother-in-law to her daughters' "divine" men, which brings us to the subject of her book.

One of the most pleasurably giddy reads I've had for ages, it's laugh-out-loud funny as well as deeply poignant, illustrated with Law's charming drawings. It's based on gossipy notes that Law used to leave by her mother-in-law Annie's bed every night. Granny Annie lived with them for 17 years and was "picture-book perfect", but deaf as a post.

"It was quite a few years before we grasped that shouting was not enough," says Law. After some hilarious misunderstandings, she began sticking lists for Gran on the fridge door. These included notes such as: "Your suspenders were 50p. John Barnes only had pink ones. Got these up the Post Office. Change on kitchen table"; "The chiropodist is calling at 1:30pm tomorrow (Tuesday). Inconvenient creature…"; and, "Dusters aren't all that expensive… Don't sacrifice your bloomers in a rash manner. Heaven knows where we will get interlocking cotton now Pontings is closed."

She shows me shoeboxes full of them as I gaze around her flat with its tobacco-coloured walls overflowing with paintings by the likes of John Byrne, cartoons, drawings, and family photographs – Emma graduating from Cambridge University, say, or a grandson with a potty on his head – and her collection of old toys (the Thompsons once ran an antique shop). She's nonplussed that anyone should wish to publish her domestic trivia, which she originally made up into a little volume to mark Emma's 50th birthday in April. "We had such a hooley in Scotland!" she exclaims. "I gave Em the notes and a book about the menopause, to which I'd contributed a chapter. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

When Greg Wise read Notes he was enchanted, pronounced them a social history, and showed them to a writer friend who took them to an agent. "I got a call to say there was a bidding war – whatever that is. It's amazing! Here I am at my age publishing a book and still acting. I'm off to Newcastle to play another granny in a film soon and I've recently done a Doc Martin."

Ever since the sudden death, in 1982, of her husband – Mr Thompson, Tom or Tommo, as she called him because she hated the name Eric – Law has lived a life of chaste independence. She had sex with her husband three days before he died and has lived like a nun ever since. Nonetheless, she's told Emma, who has just completed filming Nanny McPhee II, that the menopause is a joyful time, that a subterranean energy and power is released as a woman's body changes. "Mind you, I was one of the lucky ones. Many women suffer terribly."

Law was born in Glasgow, educated in Scotland and at an English boarding school, then at Bristol's Old Vic theatre school, and as a teenager she was sent on a housewifery course to the Dough School in Glasgow. "There was me and 20 others doing this course, making cami knickers on graph paper and so on. We were very badly behaved, so we were sent to clean the lavatories and wash the paintwork down with water and vinegar. Seven times! Good grief! We used to sit in the loos, howling with laughter and smoking furiously."

The housewifery probably came in useful later, because as well as caring for her mother-in-law, she nursed her late brother Richard after he suffered a traumatic head injury. Then she looked after her own mother, Megsie, who had Alzheimer's, and who would complain, say, that the toaster wasn't working and, says Law, "she'd be using the wireless". Law's next book will be based on letters to Megsie.

Originally, Law planned to become a doctor because she was convinced that she was going to die young and thought she ought to devote the few years left to her to suffering humanity, such as "lepers in the Gorbals". She'd discovered the word "menstruation" in a luridly illustrated encyclopaedia which, combined with wartime posters in public loos, persuaded her that she had VD.

Her friend Isabel Hebblethwaite confirmed the diagnosis, saying she'd caught it from a loo seat. When she was 17, Law confided in her mother. By this time, she was at Glasgow University studying medicine and was wretched.

It was explained to her that she most certainly did not have VD. Anaemia was diagnosed and she was prescribed a course of iron pills.

"I think I was damaged when young – being evacuated at the age of seven to a family in Lenzie that wasn't mine, and finding myself unwanted, meant that all my life I've been desperately seeking self-confidence. I think I had that fairly well hammered out of me anyway by being Scottish and not having a father. I'm still rather too anxious to please, which isn't a terribly attractive trait."

Ever anxious to be the perfect hostess, Law directs me to the bathroom before I leave. It's next door to her bedroom – "the racy nun's room". In the loo, she's chalked another sign, "I laugh lest I weep". The cistern is labelled "On Tow" and the Neighbourhood Witch placard sits alongside a pair of Greg Wise's boxer shorts, inscribed for "Phylly with love and thanks for the memories", displayed on an antique wooden dummy.

Outside the door Law is merrily singing We'll Meet Again, having just told me about a friend whose ageing mother keeps ringing her up and singing wartime songs. I hum along with her because it's not every day you find yourself in a real-life drama involving a witch's curse and vanishing gargoyles, with a walk-on appearance by a hen, and in which Greg Wise's moth-eaten grey knickers play a supporting role.

• Notes To My Mother-in-law, by Phyllida Law (Fourth Estate, £12.99) is out on 1 October.

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Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
5:03 pm - Thompson and Wilson to launch drama festival showcasing female talent


Thompson and Wilson to launch drama festival showcasing female talent

Published Tuesday 8 September 2009 at 14:40 by Matthew Hemley

Actresses Emma Thompson and Ruth Wilson are teaming up to launch a festival of dramas written and directed by women.The event, which will comprise of seven short films, is being held to address the perceived lack of opportunities for women working in the industry, both on and off the screen. Although still in its infancy, Wilson told The Stage that the festival of films will be made for broadcast on either television or at cinemas and will draw on British talent. The actress said modern writing does not traditionally have “great female roles”, particularly for older women, and said the idea of the festival would be to bring to attention an issue that “still exists” and which has “gone slightly backwards” because of the UK’s obsession with youth and image. She called this “scary and a bit sad” and added: “Women don’t seem to have a place later on. For some reason we are not writing about them or exploring them in later years.” Wilson explained that Thompson would front the campaign, but added that it was likely to take some time before all the details were finalised. The actress, who is about to star in the BBC’s adaptation of Andrea Levy’s Small Island, revealed she herself was particularly concerned about the lack of roles for older women and added: “I do worry about it. I think it’s horrific and I think it’s actually got worse.” However, she said it was a “constant cycle” that people have to “keep pushing” and added: “Emancipation did not happen that long ago and where we have come in that amount of time is huge. We have come a long way and have a long way to go. It will take time but you have to keep fighting those corners.”

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5:00 pm - Fatal Promises

Modern-Day Slavery, the People and Politics
Published: September 16, 2009

“Fatal Promises,” a documentary about human trafficking, seems to start from the premise that no one has ever heard of this vexing international problem before. So it tries to cover every base: sex slavery, forced manual labor, political foot-dragging, celebrity activism, frustration among nongovernmental agencies dealing with the issue.

As a result it lacks focus and adds little to the awareness of the subject that even a casual follower of the news has already acquired.

The film, directed by Kat Rohrer, uses a hopscotching approach that muddies rather than clarifies. At its core are the personal stories of several trafficking victims — stories that certainly deserve to be heard — but it cuts away from these to drop in on legislative debates, a United Nations conference, a speech by the actress Emma Thompson and more.

The filmmakers seem to be trying to slam various governments (especially the New York Legislature) for preferring vague platitudes to legislation that would make it easier to prosecute traffickers. But “Fatal Promises” is guilty of its own sort of vagueness, saying that nongovernmental agencies need more support without detailing how they intend to address the issue.

Statistics cited in the film say 800,000 people are trafficked each year (including 17,500 in the United States), most into forced prostitution, domestic service or agricultural work. As Gloria Steinem, the other famous name besides Ms. Thompson to turn up here, notes, it is a modern-day version of slavery but more widespread than slavery was because today transportation is easier, and the disparity between rich and poor countries is greater.

Trafficking seems particularly to have taken hold in the countries of the former Soviet Union, the film says, and the victims who tell their stories are from this region. Several are women who were forced into the sex trade, a subject that has already received a fair amount of attention (including its own mini-series, “Human Trafficking,” on Lifetime in 2005).

But the filmmakers, in the documentary’s most illuminating segments, also talk to two men who bought into false promises and found themselves working on an illegal crabbing boat under wretched conditions. At one point they were reduced to eating their own bait. It’s a reminder that sexual slavery is only one part of this ugly phenomenon.


Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan.

Directed and edited by Kat Rohrer; directors of photography, Tom Marschall and Minos Papas; music by Joseph Fogarazzo; produced by Anneliese Rohrer, Kat Rohrer and Tom Greenman; released by GreenKat Productions. At Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes. This film is not rated.


http://fatalpromises.com/Fatal_Promises/News.html The movie website

 emma http://womenandhollywood.com/2009/09/15/fatal-promises-a-look-at-human-trafficking/

Emma at a Q&A session at the film's screening  Videos here http://www.youtube.com/user/CTrouper#play/all



Saturday, September 5th, 2009
11:46 pm - When Emma Pretended To Be Jane Austen

I'm sure most of you have seen this before! But in collecting vids for my recent picspam, I realised YouTube was sadly lacking this particular one. The one at the Golden Globes, where instead of the normal thank-you speech, she read a letter 'written' by Jane Austen!


current mood: jubilant
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Friday, September 4th, 2009
9:17 am - Emma Thompson - Seven Colours of Awesome


"So rare. So fine. So absolutely fantastic."

current mood: lethargic
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
1:50 pm - New Emma site

Hi guys. Just wanted to let this lovely Emma community know that I've opened a new site on Emma called Everyone Loves Emma. We're still working on some of the content, but the gallery is almost finished and we already have a pretty active forum, so it'd be great to see you all there.

You're also very welcome to use the photos in the gallery for your fanart. The icons posted here are absolutely fantastic! Let me know if you want to share any of your fanart with us, maybe icons to use as forum avatars, or whatever else you'd like to share. Credit will be given, of course!

current mood: bouncy
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Sunday, August 23rd, 2009
4:04 pm - Emma icons!

Hello all! I got a bit bored last night and had a go at icon-making.
It's my first real attempt but I like the way they turned out.

Emma Thompson [22]

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

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Saturday, August 15th, 2009
7:39 pm

01-11 Alan Rickman
12-17 David Thewlis
18-21 Gary Oldman
22-27 Helena Bonhan Carter
28-30 Jason Isaacs
31-32 Ralph Fiennes
33-37 Harry Potter Premiere Tour
38-42 Emma Watson
43-50 Hayden Christensen
51-56 Robert Pattinson
57-63 Hugh Laurie
64-70 Sherlock Holmes 2009

71-85 Sense & Sensibility 1995

Here @schumannistic
Thursday, July 30th, 2009
12:05 am - The Remains of the Day Icons

I recently, or not so recently, watched The Remains of the Day with Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins and it was so heartbreakingly beautiful that I decided to make some icons of Miss Kenton and Mr. Stevens. They were such a tragic couple that I guess I just had to iconize them, plus Emma looked extremely beautiful.


Click me to see the rest ;)Collapse )
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Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
2:34 pm - Celebration for Emma Thompson's adopted son/Wish granted

Ben Bailey 21.07.09

The adopted son of actors Emma Thompson and Greg Wise graduated from university today. Tindyebwa Agaba was 16-years-old when he moved to the UK and was adopted by the couple after meeting them at a Refugee Council party. The 22-year-old graduated from the University of Exeter, Devon and his adoptive parents witnessed him being presented with his 2.1 (hons) degree in Politics by the university's Chancellor, Dr Floella Benjamin OBE. From September he plans to go to the School of Oriental and African Studies in London to pursue his MA in Human Rights Law. Mr Agaba said: "I admit I found my first year very difficult, the second year was less difficult and the third year was an absolute blast. So in a nutshell I've been from hell to heaven in three years."


Emma Thompson wish granted for teen
Isabelle with a prop from the set of Nanny McPhee sequel.
Isabelle with a prop from the set of Nanny McPhee sequel.
Published Date: 15 July 2009

A teenage girl with cystic fibrosis had the 'best day of her life' when she got to meet movie star Emma Thompson. Isabelle Brown, aged 13, of Bargrove Avenue in Boxmoor, got to meet her hero after her wish was granted by a children's charity.
She spent a day on the set of the upcoming sequel to Nanny McPhee with the Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter.
The teenager was nominated for the treat by staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she goes for regular treatment. The day was organised by the Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity, which sets out to fulfil wishes for youngsters with serious and life-limiting conditions.

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