To age her two decades, the British actress spent four and a half
hours getting makeup and prosthetics put on to play Cemolina, a crazy,
formidable lady so devoted to her Scottish barber son Barney — played by
director Robert Carlyle
— that when he accidentally kills his boss with haircutting shears, she
helps out by cutting up the body and storing the parts in her freezer.
Emma bring Cemolina to life was a real pleasure,” Carlyle says. “She's
such a brave actress, with absolutely no sense of vanity she laid
herself bare and embraced this character, squeezing every little bit she
could from the script.”
Robert Carlyle and Emma Thompson star in "Barney Thomson." (Photo: Graeme Hunter)
The extra work on her face “took its toll in just the right way. I look like my mother at 77, only after a life on Guinness
and untipped Player’s (cigarettes),” Thompson adds with a laugh. “It
was horrible but just so much fun. I did have to smoke a lot though,
(and) it nearly killed me.”
Because Thompson’s mom, actress Phyllida Law,
is from Glasgow, she’s always felt a kinship to Scotland, its people
and its language. “It’s a very, very strong, hard accent and you’ve got
to know it inside out,” Thompson says. “You’ve got to have lived with
it. And I live in Scotland as well as London so I hear it a lot.”
She’s now spending time in New York City filming Noah Baumbach’s upcoming indie movie The Meyerowitz Stories.
On tap: another “grotesque” character for her. “She’s a dreadful,
passive-aggressive alcoholic. Yeah, really looking forward to that,”
British actress Emma Thompson splits time between London and Scotland, the home country of her mom. (Photo: Gregor Fischer, EPA)
An Oscar-winning actress and writer, Thompson chipped in on the script for Bridget Jones’s Baby
(in theaters Sept. 16) and also has a funny role as a doctor in the
romantic comedy, though she admits it wasn’t a given with her
behind-the-scenes gig. “I don’t want you to think I just wrote myself in
quietly,” she says.
Thompson also stars as a German mother opposite Brendan Gleeson in the World War II drama Alone in Berlin (slated for release this year) and takes on the iconic role of Mrs. Potts in a new version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (out March 17, 2017) directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson.
Not only does she voice the enchanted animated teapot but Thompson reports she also has a bit of live-action work, too.
went from playing deeply distressed German house frau to porcelain,”
she says with a laugh. “That was not a journey I’ve made before,
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