Emma Thompson, who recently scored a Best Actress win from the National Board of Review for her role as “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers in Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” sat down with TIME Magazine for their Ten Questions feature. Highlights from her answers, below.
Thompson never fails to be sharp as a tack (and hilarious to boot) in interviews. Our coverage of her BAFTA “Life in Pictures” talk is here; video from her panel discussion for the THR Actress Round Table is here.
Thompson and P.L Travers have acting and writing in common. Are they similar in other ways?
No. She was very troubled. Her father was an alcoholic. Her
mom tried to commit suicide, and she had to stop her. I like to please people.
She was not interested in that at all.
I deplore the Disneyfication [of some films]. But then I look
at Bambi and I look at Dumbo and Mary Poppins, and I think, You’ve got to be
made of stern stuff to watch those movies. Disney had a very Dickensian
childhood. Disneyland was a way of rendering the world a safe place for himself
and other children.
On the connection between nannies and the Western:
The nanny story is essentially the western. It’s the
stranger from out of town who comes into the situation of conflict, solves the
issues using unorthodox methods and then must depart. Shane and Buffalo Bill
turn up as Nanny McPhee and Mary Poppins in the female world.
On her former boyfriend Hugh Laurie (“House”):
He was rowing in the Oxford and Cambridge boat race. He was
enormous and eating steak all the time. And asleep for the rest of the time. He
was also very funny.