Emma Thompson

She’s still one of the smartest actresses around, but now she’s glamorous too. At 46, Emma Thompson is finally letting go and loving her life.

By Sabine Durrant
He got wonderful A-level results this summer. He’s putting in applications for university. He’s going great guns."This domestic turn in the conversation prompts Thompson to get out a photo album and start showing me her wedding pictures. "Do you think this is too personal?" she says in an American accent. There’s Mike Nichols, who gave her away: "He’s funny and dry and clever. Everything you would want in a father figure really." There’s her sister, Sophie, and her two sons (one of whom kept saying, "I wanna go home"), and Sophie’s husband, Richard Lumsden, also an actor, and "Im and Jim" (actors Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter). There’s Gaia, grinning, and Greg and Emma, looking ravishing. And across the room from them in the photo is a picture of Thompson’s parents getting married."I do think I am enjoying being alive very, very much," Thompson says. "It’s just lovely getting older. You know, I don’t worry so much about myself really. I feel as though now there is no time for any of that, there’s no time to kvetch about who you are, what you mean. That sort of self-doubt belongs to when you’re younger." Emma’s Very Lucky LifeThompson impresses upon me how fortunate she is. Last year, she was filming in the United States, playing a tortured writer ("not much of a stretch, frankly!" she says, unable to resist making a joke) alongside Dustin Hoffman, Will Ferrell, and Queen Latifah in Marc Forster’s Stranger Than Fiction. She admits she could move to Los Angeles any time because she’s one of the few British film stars to have made it big. "There aren’t many of us really. There’s Kristin [Scott Thomas], who lives in Paris. There’s Judi [Dench]." Instead, Thompson lives on the street where she grew up, surrounded by actors "who make a living, people you might know or not know."Before I leave, Thompson takes me across the street to say hello to her mother, and we stand on the sidewalk for a little while. Phyllida waves around an invitation to a fancy party, and Thompson makes a big gesture suggesting that she wants to go too, when her attention is caught by someone passing in the street. It’s just a woman with a stroller, weighed down by shopping and children. "Three children. And one on the way," Thompson says, noticing a detail I hadn’t. She’s silent for a moment, then she adds, in a perfectly matter-of-fact way, "Lucky thing."Originally published in MORE magazine, February 2006.

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