Emma Thompson is opening up about how strange it felt to appear in a nude scene at age 62 in the upcoming dramedy "Good Luck to You, Leo Grande."
"It’s very challenging to be nude at 62,” Thompson revealed during a virtual Cinema Café chat (via Entertainment Weekly) during the film's Sundance Film Festival premiere on Saturday.
Baring all was especially scary for Thompson, who knew the movie business still expects female actors to have a certain kind of body.
“Nothing has changed in the dreadful demands made upon women in the real-world world but also in acting,” said Thompson, adding, “Nothing's changed. This thing of having to be thin is still the same as it ever was, and actually in some ways I think it’s worse now.”
The "Love Actually" star said women constantly face "a kind of shaming" to lose weight and have a "perfect" physique.
"I always felt that this was a kind of tyranny ... and another way of not only making women ill but also question themselves and lose their sense of themselves and lose their confidence," she said.
In the movie, the two-time Oscar winner plays Nancy Stokes, a widowed and retired teacher who hires a much younger male escort, played by Daryl McCormack, hoping to enjoy a night of pleasure.
In one scene, Thompson's character did "something extraordinary" that the actor revealed she'd never once done herself.
“She stands in front of a mirror alone and she drops her robe and she stands completely relaxed in front of the mirror, looking at her body, not with approval but with no particular judgment," said Thompson.
"I've never stood in front of a mirror without judging," added the mom of two.
As strange as appearing nude was, it happened at the right time for Thompson.
“I don’t think I could’ve done it before the age that I am,” she said. “And yet, of course, the age that I am makes it extremely challenging because we aren’t used to seeing untreated bodies on the screen. We're used to seeing bodies that have been worked on, for a long time, to make them acceptable to our eyes.
"It's time we did more to change that," she added.
When it came time to finally rehearse for the movie, Thompson got more comfortable with the idea of disrobing thanks to her co-star McCormack and their director, Sophie Hyde, who got naked along with her.
“Sophie, Daryl and I rehearsed entirely nude, which was amazing, and talked about our bodies, talked about our relationship with our bodies, drew them, discussed the things that we find difficult about, things we like about them, described one another’s bodies,” she said.
"It was a sort of very pure experience," she added.