Emma Thompson says that she finds it “strange” that taking a role in a film about sexuality in her 60s would be considered brave but believes it is indicative of the strict expectations women are forced to fill and which “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” seeks to challenge.
“I’ve always been a card-carrying, kind of militant feminist about women’s bodies and what’s been done to them, what we’re told is expected of ourselves, what we’re told to do to ourselves,” Thompson said at TheWrap’s virtual Sundance studio. “I think one of the rare triumphs of this story and of this movie is that it presents the untreated body for one of those very rare moments.”
The film, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, stars Thompson as Nancy Stokes, a retired widow whose passionless marriage has come to an end and who now wants to explore the sort of intimacy that had been denied to her for decades. To that end, she hires a young male escort, Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack), who is almost too perfect, not just in his looks but in his patient, understanding nature. As the two share the night together, a lifetime of regrets and desires finally pours out.
“Leo gives her the tools — the skills, I suppose — that she needs to undertake this endeavor,” Thompson said. “He asks her questions that she doesn’t expect to be asked…It’s like seeing two people excavate one another.”
McCormack, who recently appeared in three episodes of Amazon’s “The Wheel of Time,” said he found it “daunting” but a “privilege” to share the screen with Thompson and said that he had a conversation with director Sophia Hyde just before shooting started to help him get comfortable with working just with Thompson rather than a whole cast of actors.
“I was struggling to accept that I deserved to be there,” he said. “There was something particular about this film in that it is shared between two people. But I think it just comes down to us being actors and artists trying to bring this script to life…and in some way we came in with an equal foundation.”
Listen to more from Thompson and McCormack about “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” as well as from Hyde in the clip above.