The Conversation: Emma Thompson
Published 17/04/2014 | 02:30
The Oscar-winning actress (55) will be starring in romantic comedy The Love Punch. Formerly married to the Belfast-born actor and director, Sir Kenneth Branagh, she and her husband of 11 years, actor Greg Wise, have a daughter, Gaia (14)
In your new film, yourself and Pierce Brosnan play a former husband and wife who rediscover the qualities they loved about each other before their marriage crumbled. Has it made you think about the benefits of taking a relationship sabbatical?
I think it's actually not a bad idea to say, 'OK, just for a year, you need to go off'. Not be with other people – I think that's very difficult, all that free love stuff which has been tried and tested and proven to be very, very tricky.
But it's interesting that two people who know each other very well come back together again and love each other in a different way, a better way.
You insisted on getting behind the wheel for a car chase down a steep set of steps in Paris. That must have been pretty hairy!
I was just having too good a time. Each time we did it, I drove up another of the steps so instead of being three steps up, we'd be four steps up. The angle got more acute, and Pierce's terror became more apparent, which of course made me want to go further. It made me want to do more of that kind of thing.
You also took control during a kissing scene with the former Bond star, didn't you?
I just messed up in various ways as many times as I possibly could. He said, 'Have I been kissing you all day?' And I said, 'Yeaaahhh'.
The film certainly looks like it was a lot of fun to work on.
I am basically a clown. If I could wear a red nose all day, every day, I would.
During the movie, your character's daughter gets a tearful send-off as she departs for university. Will you be ready to do that for real with your own daughter?
Mine is 14, so she's doing that thing of going out of the nest and then coming back, but not going too far.
You identify with your children in a way. I suppose that's a healthy thing, but then in the end you have to say, 'That person has their own life'.
You've got to be there to be picked up and used as and when you're needed, and of course you've got to be there for support, but you can't interfere too much.
Is she supportive of your busy career?
I didn't go away very much when Gaia was little, but if you ever do have to go away, then now she says, 'No mum, I think you should do that', and we can discuss it.
They're very proud of what you do – as long as you're not away all the time; that would be bad.
But it's really interesting how [children] change. They're very good at keeping us steady.
Aside from your bleached blonde locks, you like to go for the all-natural look. But what's your take on those facial nips and tucks Hollywood stars are often so fond of?
It is absolutely psychotic to shoot Botox injections into your face.
It's mad. It's not a normal thing to do, and the culture that we've created that says it's normal, is not normal.
It's chronically unhealthy and there's this very serious side to all of that, because we're going to end up with this sort of 'super-culture' that's going to suggest to young people, girls and boys, that this looks normal.