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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

November 26, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Sitting around chatting with Emma, Julia, Octavia, etc.

I’ve mentioned before that I always enjoy the Hollywood Reporter’s roundtable interviews with Oscar hopefuls, and this week’s is especially fun: six actresses, namely Emma Thompson (“Saving Mr. Banks”), Amy Adams (“American Hustle”), Octavia Spencer (“Fruitvale Station”), Oprah Winfrey (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler”), Julia Roberts (“August: Osage County”) and Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”). As you’d imagine, Thompson is the liveliest; here are a few of her best bits:

(On the best advice about acting that she’s gotten)

My godfather was a sort of writer, philosopher, gay man, extraordinary, and he was a director of theater, and he gave my mum a piece of advice. I think it applies to everything. He said, “Onstage, imagine you’ve got a fire burning in your dressing room.” There’s something going on elsewhere; it takes your mind off acting.

(Answering the question: “Are there roles you won’t play?”)

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.

(In response to Adams saying that she’d like to do a Broadway musical)

I did a musical for 15 months, during which I had to be incredibly cheerful, and after six months I was clinically depressed. Seriously. You have no life. Literally, you just, you have the energy for the show. It’s singing, it’s dancing, neither of which I was properly trained in, so I was terrified anyway, and then you can’t go out, you can’t drink, you can’t …

And this exchange:

THOMPSON: Have you ever played someone you wanted to carry on being? I played an Argentinean, and I just didn’t want to be English ever again. (Laughter.)

WINFREY: You are the woman to have at a dinner party!

THOMPSON: You can hire me for a small fee.

But it’s all good fun — and quite thoughtful. Read the whole thing here.

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