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Emma Thompson is serious about her craft.
The British actress shared that she and costar Daryl McCormack rehearsed in the nude for their forthcoming film, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, at the film's virtual Sundance Film Festival premiere on Saturday. Director Sophie Hyde also disrobed, Thompson said.
"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," Thompson shared during a Cinema Cafe discussion.
"It's very challenging to be nude at 62," Thompson said, adding of her character, "She stands in front of a mirror alone and she drops her robe."
Courtesy of Sundance Institute/Nick Wall Daryl McCormack and Emma Thompson in 'Good Luck to You, Leo Grande'
In the sex-positive British dramedy, Thompson stars as Nancy Stokes, a widowed schoolteacher who hires a male escort (McCormack) for a date, hoping to experience an orgasm for the first time. The Academy Award winner reflected on the "dreadful demands" imposed on women to have perfect bodies during the discussion Saturday.
"Nothing has changed in the dreadful demands made upon women in the real-world world but also in acting," Thompson 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."
Thompson believes documentation of natural bodies is important, adding that she likely would not have been able to do nude scenes at any other stage of her life — but that doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't challenging.
"I don't think I could've done it before the age that I am," she said. "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."
According to Thompson, walks around London's Hampstead Heath with McCormack — navigating the muddy, slippery terrain and all — helped the two form a close bond prior to the intimate, nude rehearsals.
"That was very important that we could hold onto each other and laugh," Thompson said. "Actually, that's what we've done the entire time: held onto each other, slid about, and laugh. That walk kind of was emblematic of the whole journey."
Watch Thompson's virtual Sundance Cinema Cafe discussion in full above.