Tag: Emma

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande Review: Emma Thompson’s Sexual Awakening Comedy Is As Seductive As It Is Heartfelt

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Emma Thompson, 63, says she finds young people’s expectations of sex ‘can be very disturbing’

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Emma Thompson, 63, says she finds young people’s expectations of sex ‘very disturbing indeed’ due to ‘easy access to pornography’

Dame Emma Thompson has spoken out on ‘the complex issue’ of young people’s expectations of sex.

In an interview with Sky’s Beth Rigby, the veteran stage and screen star, 63, admitted she is ‘disturbed’ by the younger generations views on sex, which she blames on ‘easy access to porn.’ 

Emma was speaking ahead of the release of her new sex-worker inspired film Good Luck To You, Leo Grande co-starring Daryl McCormack.

‘Disturbing’: Dame Emma Thompson has spoken out on ‘the complex issue’ of young people’s expectations of sex

In the new interview, she admitted: ‘I think some things are worse [for my daughter’s generation] when I hear stories in schools about boys and what they expect from girls – and I mean that the easy access to porn, so anal sex is because it’s so freely available to watch in porn.

‘If you talk to young people about their sexual knowledge and what they expect and what they think sex is, it can be very disturbing indeed.

‘I think it can interfere with their sexual development because it’s all been taken away, industrialised and fed back to them in a completely un-indigestible form.’

Dame Emma, who is mother to daughter Gaia, 23, and son Tindyebwa Agaba, 27, with husband Greg Wise, also said she thinks the sexual revolution is a ‘very complex issue’.

New role:  Emma was speaking ahead of the release of her new sex-worker inspired film Good Luck To You, Leo Grande co-starring Daryl McCormack

New role:  Emma was speaking ahead of the release of her new sex-worker inspired film Good Luck To You, Leo Grande co-starring Daryl McCormack

She said: ‘It’s not like we had that and then everything was better. And now young people, it’s all better.

‘It’s never like that in human experience, we take a step forward and then we tie ourselves into weird knots because the fact of the matter is we have no respect at all for our sexual desires.

‘We ridicule them. We make them the butt of our jokes. We don’t respect what our desires are. And we find when they’re odd, which they often are we find them shameful and ridiculous.’

Emma has detailed her steamy new role in the upcoming film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande in which she plays widower Nancy, who after experiencing an unfulfilled marriage, meets with a younger male escort in the search for self discovery. 

Younger generation: In the new interview, she admitted: 'I think some things are worse [for my daughter's generation] when I hear stories in schools about boys and what they expect from girls' (pictured with daughter Gaia, 23 and husband Greg Wise)

Younger generation: In the new interview, she admitted: ‘I think some things are worse [for my daughter’s generation] when I hear stories in schools about boys and what they expect from girls’ (pictured with daughter Gaia, 23 and husband Greg Wise)

Speaking to Lorraine Kelly in a candid conversation, Emma said of her character: ‘She’s someone who has been widowed and it looking back at her life and thinking, “I’m not sure that I’ve ever experienced that essential part of my life”, or sexual pleasure of any kind.

‘She’s never had an orgasm – not even on her own.’

The upcoming film also stars Irish actor Daryl, 29, as young escort, Leo Grande.

The film, directed by Sophie Hyde, is set to be released on June 17. 

Beth Rigby Interviews continues at 9pm on June 9.

Film: Emma has detailed her steamy new role in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande in which she plays Nancy, who after experiencing an unfulfilled marriage, meets with a younger male escort

 Film: Emma has detailed her steamy new role in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande in which she plays Nancy, who after experiencing an unfulfilled marriage, meets with a younger male escort


Lorraine Kelly stunned by Dame Emma Thompson’s orgasm fact

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Lorraine Kelly was left ‘astounded’ by some shocking orgasm news when discussing female pleasure with Dame Emma Thompson.

The 63-year-old actress plays a widowed teacher in new comedy Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, in which Dame Emma’s character hires a male escort, played by Peaky Blinders’ Daryl McCormack, in the hope of having her first orgasm.

Discussing her character, Dame Emma explained: ‘She’s someone who has been widowed and is looking back at her life and thinking, “I’m not sure that I’ve actually experienced a really essential part of life, sexual pleasure of really any kind, ever.” She’s never had an orgasm.’

‘Never, ever, ever?’ Lorraine probed.

‘Never,’ Dame Emma confirmed. ‘Not even on her own.’

The Love Actually star went on to explain that ‘15% of women have never had an orgasm,’ and Lorraine couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

‘15% of women have never had an orgasm,’ Dame Emma explained (Picture: ITV)
Lorraine couldn’t believe what she was hearing! (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

‘Seriously?!’ she exclaimed, while Dame Emma repeated: ‘15%!’

‘Something has to be done,’ Lorraine replied.

‘It’s interesting isn’t it about how that could happen and whether we’re really honest about sex,’ Dame Emma replied.

‘I don’t think we are,’ Lorraine added.

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande stars Peaky Blinders’ actor Daryl McCormack (Picture: Nick Wall / AP)
The film also features Dame Emma’s first ever nude scene (Picture: Searchlight Pictures via AP)

While the news may have surprised Lorraine, ‘the orgasm gap’ isn’t an unheard of concept.

Insights from the International Academy of Sex Research found that 95% of heterosexual men usually or always orgasm during sex, compared to only 65% of heterosexual women.

Recent research shows that lockdown has made things worse for women, too, with 78% of British women climaxing less frequently since isolating with their spouse.

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack

Dame Emma’s character hires a male escort in the hope of having her first orgasm (Picture: Searchlight Pictures / AP)

Later in the segment, Lorraine returned to the subject as she still couldn’t quite believe it, saying: ‘I’m astounded that 15% of women have never orgasmed ever ever ever, that’s actually really sad, because, like you said, it’s a huge part of our lives!

‘It’s not the best part of our lives we can admit, but it’s part of what we are.’

Dame Emma added: ‘We’re perfectly happy to investigate our other forms of pleasure, we’re obsessed with food, why don’t we dedicate a bit more time to investigating what actually does give us pleasure, and women’s pleasure is never at the top of anyone’s agenda because that’s how it is.’

She added that ‘it’s free’ which left Lorraine in a fit of giggles, saying: ‘That’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard, it’s free!’

‘I mean what forms of entertainment these days and true pleasure are actually free and for nothing?! And you don’t actually need anyone else to be there at all!’ Lorraine continued.

Lorraine airs weekdays from 9am on ITV.

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Lorraine Kelly stunned by Dame Emma Thompson’s orgasm fact: ‘Something has to be done!’

‘I knew I was in good hands’: Peaky Blinders’ Daryl McCormack on shooting sex scenes with Emma Thompson | Film

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You wouldn’t think of Daryl McCormack, 29, as a chameleon of an actor. Chiselled face, green eyes, leading man material, sure, but not a shape-shifter. In the forthcoming film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, however, he looks like a guy in an advert for a £60,000 watch. In the opening shots, it’s faintly grating, like being sold the story rather than told it; as it moves on, you realise his self-assurance and slick, complicated perfection is just part of the texture and subtlety.

In Peaky Blinders, which he joined in season five, he looks, let’s just say for brevity, pretty comfortable with a gun in his hand, and in the Guardian office on a regular Tuesday morning, the Irishman looks open, unassuming and affable, as if he can’t wait to help you with something. Versatility is a constant theme, and not just in the roles he chooses: had he fulfilled his promise as a 12-year-old in Tipperary, he would have been a professional hurler. “I had a golden era in hurling,” he says, with exaggerated sincerity, “and then I didn’t hit my growth spurt the same way other young men did. That peak and then the fall … my ego at 14 was taking a hit. But I lived to tell the tale.” He fleshes this out with piquant details, as if I might not believe him. I definitely do.

‘I didn’t want to come in as the fumbling new kid who doesn’t know how to shoot the gun’ … McCormack as Isiah in Peaky Blinders. Photograph: Matt Squire/BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande sounds like a young actor’s anxiety dream: a full-length feature with no other actor besides McCormack and Emma Thompson, no set besides a single, characterless hotel room, and a challenging premise that can’t afford to put a foot wrong. There is nowhere to hide in this movie; every word, every gesture, has to be perfect.

Thompson plays a retired teacher, recently widowed who, after a lifetime of uninspiring sex with one man, hires McCormack as a sex worker. At the start, she worries constantly at the ethical dimension of her decision, as if she’s picking a scab – surely he’s being exploited, doesn’t he mind, what terrible thing must have occurred to make him do this, who’s the oldest person he’s ever had sex with, why is he so vain? There’s a lot of levity to McCormack’s performance, but also pride and self-respect. “I really didn’t want to put on my shoulders that I would be representing sex workers. To me, that was too much of an undertaking for one man.” He sometimes has quite a courtly turn of phrase, the gift I imagine of really only concentrating at school when he was playing hurling or doing Shakespeare, then going straight to Dublin Institute of Technology, and afterwards to the Gaiety School of Acting, the National Theatre School of Ireland.

“Of course, I was exposed to the idea of the degradation of sex workers, seeing those stereotypes, because it’s shown in films and stories so often. And then I spoke to real sex workers via Zoom, and I met people who had gone on their own individual journey, found their own sense of authority, power and identity. I was speaking to people who weren’t victimised, who had a sense of who they were and who found a lot of joy and vocation in what they did.”

Thompson’s jangly, almost-unwatchable anxiety and body-shame recede, and she becomes very task-driven: she wants oral sex both ways, she wants it doggy-style, she wants it all in their second session because he’s quite expensive; it’s so human that it’s excruciating, and her brusque to-do list is another mask. “I think you see him opening doors for her and then saying it’s safe to step through,” he says. “Then you see her anger or denial, or whatever it is, and then eventually she makes her way through, and there’s another door. This is another thing I learned from sex workers. That it isn’t always just about the physical, there’s so much more to what they do. He really saw the yearning in her to explore these things, and how bold she is.” Leo Grande is trying to get across something more than sex, that “it’s not vain to love your body, if you are loving your body, not loving what the world tells you your body should be like in order to be loved”.

The pair’s relationship may be transactional on paper, but it’s a two-way street, and “they both leave that room at the end of the film different people”. “I don’t think Leo expected to be changed. I think he thought it would be like a swan dance, with him leading the whole thing.” Looking back, McCormack can’t put his finger on what was more daunting about the whole thing: playing opposite Thompson, “knowing that you’re in the presence of someone who’s done it all” or just feeling “overwhelmed, terrible imposter syndrome, just feeling sure they had cast the wrong Leo. But in the end, your only option is to connect with the story and connect with your dancing partner. And it was Emma Thompson, so I was in good hands.” He absolutely loves Thompson, but everybody says that.

Emma Thompson as the widowed Nancy, left, and Daryl McCormack as Leo in a scene from Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022)
Emma Thompson as the widowed Nancy with McCormack as Leo in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. Photograph: AP

McCormack grew up in Nenagh, Tipperary, with his mother, a single parent. She met his father fleetingly in the US when she was young; she is now 52, and has just moved to Peterborough. Did she do that to be nearer her son, now that he lives in London? “No,” he says, surprised. “I think she did it for her own life, actually.” His memories of Nenagh are extremely fond, and the place has even fonder memories of him; his former science teachers come up to him in the pub when he goes home and tell him how proud they are of his career, like a Sally Rooney novel. But it was complicated. “I was one of the only biracial or non-white kids who were Irish, so there was an element of being an outsider. I have an American family as well. So I had to find more spaces where I could explore that part of my identity, become more fully formed.”

It helped that he was incredibly good at everything, not just the hurling – his paternal grandfather is certain that, had he been raised in the US, he would have been a basketball pro. All the time, he was acting, singing, being in a band. “Sometimes I felt like I was an elephant in the room, but I was a jovial pink, dancing elephant. I didn’t try to hide. In a way, I embraced my difference and I knew there was something beautiful about being different. And that was its own journey.”

Daryl McCormack and Ben Hardy in the 2020 British comedy thriller Pixie
McCormack and Ben Hardy in the 2020 British comedy thriller Pixie. Photograph: Landmark Media/Alamy

He and his grandad have a very close relationship, some seam of similarity that separation by continent and parents were no match for. “When he was in his 20s, in the 1970s, he was out in LA, trying to become an actor. So he had his own journey with it and he really is very proud, vicariously living through me now. He just loves seeing his grandson go on the journey he’s gone on himself, and I’ve got to the point where I’m going further than where he finished.”

McCormack’s career looks effortless to the point of being pre-ordained. He did 36 episodes in Ireland’s longest running soap, Fair City, just after drama school, made his West End debut at the age of 24 in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, and won round the cast and audience of Peaky Blinders when he joined, in 2019, as a replacement for another actor, which is notoriously hard to do. “I desperately wanted to feel part of it. I didn’t want to come in as the fumbling new kid who doesn’t know how to shoot the gun. It got a lot easier in season six.” In 2020, he starred in the British comedy-thriller Pixie, alongside Olivia Cooke, Ben Hardy, Colm Meaney and Alec Baldwin. When I met him, he was about to fly to Dublin for Bad Sisters, a new Sharon Horgan show for Apple TV+ in which he is cast in all 10 episodes. No observable dry spells, almost no documented disappointments (though he just missed out on Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

Yet you could never read his CV as the strategy document for the building of the brand Daryl McCormack, he aspires more to lose himself in the work than put his stamp on it. “As an actor, it’s not like you sit behind a character. You sit behind the belief of the project. If the message is liberating, I’m not just invested as an actor, I’m invested as a person, with the entireness of my being. If I read a script like that, my toes start tingling. I’m just so excited that it’s being made, even if it doesn’t come to pass that I’m cast in it.” The self-effacing actor – no offence – sounds like a contradiction in terms. But there it is, there Daryl McCormack is, contradicting the terms.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is in cinemas from 17 June.


Good Trouble’s Emma Hunton on Owning Her Sexuality Via Burlesque

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When Good Trouble premiered on Freeform in 2018, among the 20-somethings viewers met residing at the show’s communal living space The Coterie was Emma Hunton’s teacher and body-positive influencer, Davia. Early in the show’s run, Davia proudly claimed her space by creating and posting a DIY music video of her song “Fat Bitch.” In the video that is a reclamation of self and a challenge to conventional standards, she sings, raps, and poses sexily in a bikini and faux fur jacket by the railroad tracks in downtown Los Angeles. A viral hit within the show, the video cemented Davia and Hunton (for those unfamiliar with her extensive musical theater background) as a force on and off-screen.

Now in its fourth season and leading up to the mid-season finale of the wildly queer-inclusive series (it is a spin-off of the beloved The Fosters, after all), Davia has embraced her body and sexuality through learning stunningly choreographed burlesque. Last week’s episode featured Davia in a burlesque number in which she arrives on a swing in a giant birdcage — surely a metaphor for the spreading of her wings by engaging in the art form. The experience of performing burlesque is something the out star of shows including Spring Awakening on Broadway and the national tours of Next to Normal and Wicked says has helped her further come into herself.

“After four seasons, Davia and I in so many ways have melded into the same person. We’re very different, but a lot of our core personality traits are the same,” Hunton tells The Advocate. “I’ve really found my competence and my sexuality and love for my body even more than I have before through the doing burlesque storyline. It’s given me freedom and agency to be proud and loud about it.”

Booboo Stewart as Luca and Emma Hunton as Davia in Good Trouble

Good Trouble returned for its fourth season as one of its executive producers and legacy stars of The Fosters, Maia Mitchell, who played Callie since 2013, was departing the series to return home to Australia. With social justice warrior Callie headed to D.C. to work for the American Civil Liberties Union, the remaining ensemble characters embark on new journeys. Davia, having been fired from her teaching job for sharing her body-positive Instagram page (which includes the “Fat Bitch” video) with a student struggling with self-esteem, is at a crossroads with her career that leads her to burlesque. Hunton has dozens of theater credits to her name, including performing in several of the hilarious and heartfelt “unauthorized” musicals at the former Rockwell Table and Stage in Los Angeles, including Cruel Intentions and Scissorhands, and directing a few, including UMPO: A League of Their Own and Never Been Kissed. But she arrived at burlesque fairly new to the form.

“I have one other experience of doing Burlesque in my life. There’s a company I work with to this day called the Cherry Poppins. They’re an L.A.-based burlesque company, and I did their New Year’s Eve show with them just before the shutdown,” Hunton says, adding that the stylized work she’s done with choreographer Donna Hood for Good Trouble makes her feel “confident and sexy.”

Since its premiere, the series has strived to incorporate the actors’ lived experiences in some ways into its stories (Coterie manager Alice becomes a stand-up comic like Sherry Cola, who plays her). As Hunton underwent changes in her life over the past few years, Good Trouble’s story has reflected some of that in empowering ways, including with burlesque.

“It’s been interesting for Davia because I lost weight over the pandemic. I went through a lot of hard personal stuff. Instead of Good Trouble saying, ‘Hey, you’ve been playing a body-positive, bigger girl,’ they were just like, ‘As long as you are healthy and happy….” Hunton says. “Weight fluctuates. I might be bigger next year. I might be smaller, who knows. I’ve been very fortunate that they’ve been so cool with that and allowing the sort of body positivity to continue through weight loss because I think that’s the important takeaway is that you can be body-positive at all sizes.”

“I think Davia similarly, in the same way that Emma doesn’t really quite know who she is in this new body, is finding her confidence in her sexiness,” she adds.

From creators Joanna Johnson, Peter Paige, and Bradley Bredeweg, Good Trouble continually serves each character with layered plots. For instance, this season, Davia’s Coterie mate Malika (Zuri Adele) explores polyamory and new-found queerness while switching careers from a nonprofit to politics, where she seeks to get a center for underserved women off the ground. Layered in Davia’s body-positivity story is one that features Booboo Stewart as Luca, an unhoused Gen Zer who happens to be a stellar dancer. They meet when Coterie newcomer Joaquin (Bryan Craig) encounters Luca on the streets and offers up his loft for a few days. After learning of Luca’s dance background, Davia suggests he work with her troupe. It’s an empathetic storyline that highlights the humanity and beauty of so many unhoused due to lousy circumstances.

“What’s interesting is that this is not my first time, sort of crossing paths with the unhoused community. I’ve done a couple of shows where I’ve played an unhoused person of society,” Hunton says. “I also have a good friend who runs the Sidewalk Project in downtown L.A. I was happy to see Good Trouble handle it in such a truthful and positive way.”

“It’s important to humanize the unhoused because I think people have a tendency to not and to not want to hear their stories,” she adds. “I love that we are putting a spotlight on those stories and giving agency to those people because they’re there. They’re real. They exist. And they deserve just as much respect as anybody else.”


Good Trouble airs Wednesdays on Freeform. Catch up with the series on Hulu, and watch Davia rehearse burlesque below.