Emma Thompson versus Audrey Hepburn
She can't sing and she can't really act, I'm afraid. I'm sure she was a delightful woman -- and perhaps if I had known her I would have enjoyed her acting more, but I don't and I didn't, so that's all there is to it, really.
Oh my goodness. What a bad move.
I should say, before we go any further, that this comment does not affect my opinion of Emma Thompson at all. I’ve loved her since the first moment I saw her in Henry V. In fact, the Thompson – Branagh pairing is important in our household, as three of their movies together rank among our favourites (and four of his directorial movies are on our list of all time favourites). Miss Thompson’s films, in fact, make up a large portion of my list of favourites, Howard’s End being in my top five. I have never found her work to be anything but completely wonderful. I have never met the lady, so I don’t know what her personality is like but I bet she and I would be great friends.
This comment, though, was a simple lapse in good judgment.
So WHY do something so ill thought out as go into an interview and disparage her work in one of her most popular films (a best picture Oscar winner, no less)?
If you are going to be a part of a remake of a cherished best Oscar winning picture, it isn’t necessary to criticize the picture or the star. You have to know that people are going to be upset by the remake of My Fair Lady. Whatever a person’s own particular views on the film are, it’s a bit foolhardy to think that the public is going to buy into this idea, at the onset. Maybe they will come around later; but right now, nobody wants there to be a remake of My Fair Lady. Nobody wants a remake of Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca or Citizen Kane either. Frankly, I don’t know why people in the movies are continuing to do remakes – it has proven a disastrous choice, thus far. Did ANYONE like the remake of Psycho? How about the remake of The Manchurian Candidate? Not even the presence of Meryl Streep made that film viable. The remake of The Women was savaged. The remake of Sabrina (a movie I happen to love) almost ended Julia Ormond’s career before it was off the ground. Why not just go all the way and do a remake of All About Eve or The Sound of Music?
But somebody is bound and determined to make a new film version of My Fair Lady and they asked an Oscar winning screenwriter to create it. Great. I am all for Emma Thompson writing movies because she is a brilliant writer. I am interested to see what they all come up with.
There is, though, no need to taint the entire project by, right out of the gate, insulting the original film and the original leading lady, who is dead and cannot defend herself against verbal attacks on her talents, which earned her several Oscar nominations, one Oscar and legions of fans.
I’m not going to vilify her. I think Emma Thompson is a brilliant actress and a brilliant writer; I also think she is a beautiful woman and a person who is allowed to have her opinions – I mean, aren’t we all allowed to have our own opinions?
We should just think about potential reaction to them before we express them in public.