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NBR Winner Emma Thompson Talks Disneyfication, Nannies, Ex-Boyfriend Hugh Laurie and More in TIME Magazine

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood December 5, 2013 at 12:45PM

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.
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Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson

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.

On Disneyfication:

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.

This article is related to: Interviews, Interviews , Emma Thompson, Time magazine


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.