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Emma Thompson on the Climate for Women in Hollywood: “I Think It’s Still Completely Sh*t, Actually”

Emma Thompson on the Climate for Women in Hollywood: "I Think It’s Still Completely Sh*t, Actually"

Emma Thompson was characteristically blunt when asked recently about sexism and ageism in the film industry. 

“It is in a worse state than I have known it, particularly for women,” the “Saving Mr. Banks” and “Nanny McPhee” star said. “It’s still completely shit.” 

“I don’t think there’s any appreciable improvement and I think that, for women, the question of how they are supposed to look is worse than it was even when I was young,” Thompson told the Radio Times. “So, no, I am not impressed, at all. I think it’s still completely shit, actually.”

“When I was younger,” she added, “I really did think we were on our way to a better world, and when I look at it now, it is in a worse state than I have known it, particularly for women, and I find that very disturbing and sad. So I get behind as many young female performers as I can, and actually, a lot of the conversations with them are about exactly the fact that we are facing and writing about the same things and nothing has changed, and that some forms of sexism and unpleasantness to women have become more entrenched and indeed more prevalent.”

One of Thompson’s upcoming films is “The Legend of Barney Thomson,” in which the 56-year-old actress will play a 77-year-old prostitute. “It is a bit ageist,” she admitted. “It would be really nice to get someone who is actually 77 to play her, but it’s a wildly comic role and I couldn’t resist.”

Thompson is the only person in the history of the Academy Awards to be nominated for acting in and writing the same film: 1995’s “Sense and Sensibility.” Still, shooting the Jane Austen romance with director Ang Lee was apparently quite a challenge. Two years ago, she recalled one of the scariest profesional moments of her career as being the moment Lee told her after a scene, “Don’t look so old.” 

Her career after “Sense and Sensibility” was hardly easier. Speaking of roles she refused to take, Thompson said, “There was a patch of time when I was in my 30s and just started [being offered] a whole string of roles that basically involved saying to a man, ‘Please don’t go and do that brave thing. Don’t! No, no, no, no, no!’ That’s a trope, the stock woman who says, ‘Don’t do the brave thing.’ I said no to all of them. I’m so proud.” 

Thompson also revealed that she intended to take her teenage daughter to see one-woman performances by her friends Lily Bevan and Jessica Butcher this year in Edinburgh. 

“It means a lot to me because that is what I did, and I want my daughter to have a look at that and say, ‘Oh, that’s one way of expressing what you need to express,'” she said. “I think she looks around at the prevailing culture and thinks, ‘None of that really applies to me and I don’t get it’ — the magazines, the ‘figure’ culture and the handbags — it’s just absolutely meaningless. So I can’t wait for her to see these women writer/performers.”

[via The Guardian]

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