On Wednesday, Dec. 11, Examiner.com had the opportunity to speak with 2-time Academy Award Winner Emma Thompson at a special reception celebrating her latest film "Saving Mr. Banks," which hits theaters this Friday, Dec. 13. It was a momentous day as the Screen Actor's Guild Awards nominations were announced hours earlier and Thompson nabbed a "Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role" recognition for her performance in the Disney film.
In "Saving Mr. Banks," Thompson plays P.L. Travers, the author of the "Mary Poppins" book series. The film focuses on Walt Disney's (Tom Hanks) quest to convince her to turn her beloved books into a movie. This ends up being the classic we all know and love starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Based on a true story, "Saving Mr. Banks," gives audiences a nostalgic glimpse into the story of how "Mary Poppins" came to be.
Q: Congratulations on your SAG nomination, can you reflect on that?
Thompson: Well, it's such a thrill and an honor and a privilege to get nominated by your peers, by the people that do the same job as you. Now I value that above all else.
Q: This week at the LA premiere two very special guests attended - Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke. Tell me about what that was like?
Thompson: Well it was terribly moving of course because they're part of my DNA. Now I think to myself...we're so lucky as actors, we get to meet other artists that we love and that's such a special thing. And a lot of the time, you know, you're thrilled, but this was different because they are part of my blood and bone, you know?
Q: They are legends.
Thompson: Yeah, it's not that they're legends, I don't mind about that, you know. It's not that, it's that they entered my spirit when I was very young in a very meaningful way.
Q: What did you love about playing P.L. Travers?
Thompson: Being difficult.
Q: It's fun to be the difficult one?
Thompson: It's so much fun. I'm not difficult, I'm very adaptable because it's how I like being. It's not an effort. But she wasn't and it was a kind of strange and delicious release from good behavior.
Q: What do you admire about Tom Hanks?
Thompson: His grace under the pressure of fame.
Q: Can you tell me about collaborating with your fabulous director John Lee Hancock?
Thompson: Well John's a subtle and brilliant man whose very, very humble and incredibly perspicacious and...sophisticated. And highly sophisticated emotionally. And that was what this movie needed above all else.
After the intimate reception at Monkey Bar, guests headed to MoMA to see the film. Disney also gifted guests with a copy of its 50th Anniversary Edition of "Mary Poppins," which is now in stores.