In honor of the Patron Saint of this awards season’s red carpet, Emma Thompson, Our Lady Of the No Fucks Left To Give, we will be discussing her screenplay and diaries from Sense and Sensibility.
There have been posts going around tumbr that contain excerpts. We all knew that Emma was amazing, right, but this just soldifies her awesomesauce.
(So did that moment. Also the fact that she was wearing flats. There's been so much “I am not here for your sexist bullshit” from the women on the red carpets this season.)
She's said in interviews that writing the screenplay to S&S helped her regain her sense of self and gave her something to focus on other than the depression after her divorce from Kenneth Branagh, and there's a sense of that in the diary entries. (There's also a hysterically funny story about going over to Stephen Fry's hosue after her computer crashed with no backup to try and recover the files. Because why WOULDN'T you go to Stephen Fry?)
I really like reading scripts for movies I've seen and loved, because I can hear all the voices in my head. “Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall go mad” in Alan Rickman's quiet, desperate voice (or as Emma put in the stage direction, “he is dangerously quiet.”
I also love seeing the stage directions and seeing how the director and the actors interpret the screenwriter's vision. Plus Emma's accounts of the meetings where she, Ang Lee, and the producers went through the script and determined what they could afford and what they couldn't are amazing. Emma had an idea about a fox hunt, which would have required a trained fox, brought up from birth, or possibly, “…hiring David Attenborough, who probably knows a few foxes well enough to ask the favour.”
Basically, the woman is a gem.
Tuesday 18 April:
Slept like the dead. Seared mouth on very hot porridge at breakfast with Lindsay [the producer]. We discussed the 'novelization' question. This is where the studio pay someone to novelise my script and sell it as Sense and Sensibility. I've said if this happens, I will hang myself. Revolting notion. Beyond revolting.
She talks about working with Ang Lee (“The acting in England is much better than the food.”) and East/West devide that was inevitable. She talks about a young Kate Winslet, getting her first notes from Ang (“You'll get better”) and working herself nearly to death. She smirks with glee about getting to kiss Hugh Grant. (“Can't rely on Austen for a snog. Glad I invented it.”) There's so much delight about getting to do the job, but it's hard bloody work.
We get some insights into Alan Rickman (he scares cats) and Hugh Laurie, who along with Hugh Grant said he was never acting with the screenwriter again.
Another thing I like is all the mentions of Greg Wise, who she met during shooting and they are still married. Maybe I'm reading into the studiously neutral mentions, but there are a LOT of them. It's kind of cute. Okay, it's very cute. Alright, it's fucking adorable.
Apparently, there's a ridiculous amount of alcohol involved in making a movie. Who knew?
Yeah, it's not a romance novel, but it's DELIGHTFUL and you should all read it.
I'm going to leave you with Emma's acceptance speech from the 1995 Golden Globes, proving that she's been the Best forever.