The film, directed by Joel Hopkins and opening on Friday in
the United States, follows divorced suburban London couple Kate
and Richard as they attempt a diamond heist in France after
their pension fund goes bust.
Thompson, 55, known for roles in period dramas "Howards End" and
"Sense and Sensibility," spoke about her work in comedy, her
early influences and success.
Q: What drew you to "The Love Punch"?
A: The opportunity to appear in a bathing costume has
been something sadly missing from my CV. I said to my agent,
"Please, God, get me something where I can get into a bathing
costume." And this is what came up.
Also, I've worked with the director before and I like him very
much, and the idea of a heist movie set as it were in the Home
Counties (suburban London) of England with a very witty notion,
and then it turned out to be Pierce, which was not so shabby.
Q: You have appeared in period bathing costumes in films?
A: That's right. I still only appear in period bathing
costumes in real life. I wear those very, very long Victorian
draw things in various shades of navy. (Laughs)
Q: "The Love Punch" is decidedly British with its sense
of middle-class and middle-aged humor. Do you think some of that
might be lost on foreign audiences?
A: If Americans can adore and enjoy Monty Python, they
can deal with a bit of mangled French. God knows the most
extraordinary bit of Python is mangled French, isn't it? In the
"Holy Grail," you know? So I don't think there's any problem
with that at all. A lot of very American humor goes down very
well over here, and very, very British humor goes down very well
across the pond.
Q: Do you have a preference for drama or comedy?
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A: I'm British and I like being funny, so it's what I grew up
with. I was a comedian until I was 27, so it's natural to me to want
to stretch those muscles. I had just done 'Saving Mr. Banks,' and
that's quite sad. I do an awful lot of work that is sometimes very
emotional. It's nice to do something that is designed to make people
happy from start to finish.
Q: Did you look up to anyone when you were a comedian?
A: Lily Tomlin. For me, her writing in "The Search for Signs
of Intelligent Life in the Universe" was some of the greatest I'd
ever come across. I really wanted to be her, and I did character
comedy. Lenny Bruce I loved, just his way of talking about the world
and his unflinching sort of way of speaking.
Q: How do you define success?
A: If you're spurred by the desire to be successful, then I
would strongly recommend you don't go into this business. If that's
what spurs you, then blood will flow. What spurs me is a curious and
mysterious resonance inside a story that makes me think, "Oh, I want
to do that." I want to be part of that story. I want to tell that
Success is nice and necessary if you're going to have a long-term
career. You have to have a fair degree of success, otherwise you
just don't get the opportunities ... I would say success is useful.
It is very useful in ... that you get the chance to choose from a
slightly wider variety of projects.
I feel incredibly fortunate because I've got so many choices. I
think there aren't many women of 55 who can say that.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Toni Reinhold)
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