If, as a screenwriter and director, you get to be palsy with Emma Thompson and have the chance to create a project specifically with her in mind, you would be crazy not to do it. Following their work together on “Last Chance Harvey”, Hopkins had just such an opportunity, in fact, their desire to work together again was the starting point for “The Love Punch.”
“I made a film with Emma Thompson called ‘Last Chance Harvey’ and we really enjoyed doing that and we kind of wanted to do something else and wanted to do something a bit more playful. So really the starting point was to try and find something fun for her to do,” Hopkins said of the origin of the project.
“I think we had a cup of tea and I think we were talking about people for her to play off of and she mentioned Pierce. I thought that sounded like a really fun, fun, fun couple. It’s not the most obvious, but the more I thought about it, the more it made me smile. His charm, her smarts...so that really was the starting point and then I had to think of a story. You know the small thing of a story,” he said, laughing.
In the end, the global economic situation ended up inspiring the story once Hopkins had his stars in mind.
“I wrote it probably about three years ago now, and we were kind of in the middle of the financial crisis, so it’s quite topical,” he explained. “As a screenwriter, I think the key for me was...they were a divorced couple who were brought together when something went wrong and they had to team up to set it right.”
The final ingredient for the picture turned out to be finding the supporting cast to play off of Brosnan and Thompson.
“This won’t make any sense in the States, but there was a sitcom here when I was a kid called ‘The Good Life,’ which was about two sets of neighbors who were very different––one was very posh and one was quite the alternative––but they were actually really good friends, and when I was pitching this movie I said, it’s sort of like ‘The Good Life’ does a heist,” Hopkins said of the dynamic that inspired the foursome at the film’s center.
“I got really lucky. I got Tim Spall, who is a bit of a legend here in England, and then the lovely Celia Imrie, who people might know from things like ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.’ So I had a really lucky foursome. When you see the four of them together, for me, it completely works, you can feel their friendship.”