Dame Emma Thompson on importance of sex and female pleasure on screen in Good Luck To You, Leo Grande: ‘It’s something we’re so thirsty for’

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Dame Emma Thompson has opened up about the ‘thirst’ for seeing female pleasure in cinema, describing her new film, Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, as her most ‘satisfying’ project yet.

In the new flick, also starring Daryl McCormack, the 63-year-old plays widow Nancy, who hires a sex worker to explore a new world of self-discovery.

Appearing on the red carpet for the screening at Tribeca Film Festival, in New York, the screen icon spoke to Metro.co.uk about how important it is to offer stories like Nancy’s a platform.

When discussing how the film is about a subject matter that is rarely given space on the big screen, she quipped: ‘Female pleasure? No, unless it’s kind of performed… for men. Just saying…

‘I don’t mean to sound bitter but it’s just a performative thing, isn’t it? That women have to somehow perform during sex so that whoever is administering to them feels okay.

‘It’s something I think we’re so thirsty for, but you don’t realise you’re thirsty until you get it. That’s what I feel this film does for people, because the response to it is so visceral. Lots of people are saying, “I didn’t realise that I needed this and I really need this”. That’s a very good feeling.’

Dame Emma Thompson appeared on the red carpet at the Tribeca Film Festival (Picture: WireImage)

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande has received rave reviews from critics – and Metro.co.uk offered the movie four stars – with particular praise for the sensitivity surrounding Dame Emma and Daryl’s intimate moments.

The film, directed by Sophie Hyde, included the screen icon’s first ever nude scene, something that took a huge amount of preparing for.

The Harry Potter actress previously explained how nude rehearsals with her co-star and the filmmaker helped her deal with her body issues while on set, and how the pair made her feel comfortable in herself.

Recalling the most empowering scenes to portray, she told us: ‘The script gives you everything, really, you just have to learn it. Nancy is a sort of every woman. She’s a very normal, ordinary woman who has done her life just according to the rules, she’s played by the rules all the way.

Dame Emma posed with co-star Daryl at the New York screening (Picture: Getty)

‘That’s not to say that people who have played by the rules don’t get to have sexual pleasure, it just happens to be that this woman has not had that, and has never questioned it, has never questioned the rudimentary nature of her sex life and the fact that it’s no fun at all.

‘From the point of view of pleasure and joy, filming the intimate scenes at the end was just such a release for us.

‘We’ve been playing these characters, going through this long journey, and moving towards a strange but unromantic, unromanticised intimacy, radically different to anything I have ever seen.

Dame Emma and Daryl got very close while filming (Picture: Searchlight)

‘I was asked by somebody where this film sat in the body of work that I’ve done over the last 35 years – I would say that everything I’ve ever done has actually slowly led to this movie.

‘It’s the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done, it’s pretty much my favourite.’

‘We’ve been told that sexual pleasure doesn’t matter,’ she added of the praise offered from fans and critics. ‘Also, we’ve ostracised it and made it something that’s shameful and dirty. Obviously, it is religious and it’s the patriarchy and all of that, in many, many countries in fact, female sexual pleasure is actively discouraged.

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‘We mustn’t forget the world that we live in, we must understand the world that we live in, to became realistic about that. But that’s what is so beautiful about this film. That, without making any heavy-duty claims, without being preachy, just using comedy and the soul of a single ordinary one, we find out so much about ourselves.

‘And that is what art is for.’

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande is out now.

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