Emma Thompson: ‘It’s not as if I’ve got the same choices as Brad Pitt in filmmaking’

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Holy crap, how incredible is this Parade cover? Emma Thompson looks like she’s about 29 years old here. She should always be photographed this way, like a photographer just chanced upon her in a meadow. Anyway, Emma is having a great week – she’s just received two huge nominations at the Golden Globes and SAGs, both for lead actress for her performance in Saving Mr. Banks. Emma also picked up Best Actress at the LA Film Critics Awards AND the National Board of Review. Which means that Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep might need to take a seat because Emma is about to win her THIRD Oscar? How incredible would that be? Anyway, Emma has a charming new interview with Parade because everything that comes out of her mouth is charming. I love her.

On her prim and proper 60s look in Saving Mr. Banks, which required her to get her hair permed.
“It was a nightmare! People would bleat in the streets as I went by. I didn’t have sex for six months!”

On working with Tom Hanks.
“…for a long time we’d looked for something to do together. [After reading the script] I rang Tom and said, ‘This is great, because it’s not a romance. It’s about a battle that they both win and lose. It’s perfect.’”

On her anger and depression when her first marriage to Kenneth Branagh ended in divorce.
“I don’t feel anger or depression about it now. I think we place a lot of pressure on ourselves and our relationships.…Yes, it was very painful, but it was also something that happens between people a lot. Sometimes things go wrong and it doesn’t last, and that seems to me perfectly reasonable.”

On her dowdy appearance when she first started acting.
“I marched onto the Johnny Carson show [doing publicity for Howards End] wearing a shapeless dress and flat shoes. I looked like a geography teacher. In my 20s, I eschewed everything overtly female. I didn’t have a handbag; I’d carry a plastic bag…It’s only recently that I’ve even bothered with glamour because it seemed like a fun idea.”

On the importance of her costume while playing Sybill in the Harry Potter films.
“I had great fun doing Sybill. The genius of that costume—the wig and the glasses—I mean, Barack Obama could have played her. I did a silly voice, but really it was that costume.”

On why so many of her films touch on the subject of love.
“Partly because it’s one of the major areas in which women are allowed to take part. It’s not as if I’ve got the same kind of choices as Brad Pitt in filmmaking. But also because love is the only thing that matters. Not just romantic love…there’s affection, Eros, family love…it’s exactly what we’re designed to do.”

[From Parade]

Emma’s talked about her early, strident-feminist days and I believe her when she talks about eschewing glamour when she was younger. I would say that it’s more of a British thing than a feminist thing, though – it’s just something I’ve noticed about so many of the younger English actresses – it’s like they don’t want to be seen as “giving in” to glamour. They’d rather be “quirky” individuals, and it’s only in their 30s and 40s that they really put some effort into doing the glamour thing.

I love this – “It’s not as if I’ve got the same kind of choices as Brad Pitt in filmmaking…” Truth. And how sad is that? This quote made me tingly for another viewing of Love Actually though: “…because love is the only thing that matters.” I need to watch Love Actually again.

As for the stuff about her marriage to Branagh – she’s so classy. She would just hate it if anyone ever saw her as a victim. Bless her.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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67 Responses to “Emma Thompson: ‘It’s not as if I’ve got the same choices as Brad Pitt in filmmaking’”

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  1. Virgilia Coriolanus says:

    I love her! Love her. Sense and Sensibility was the first time I ever had a clue as to who she was. And I still watch Nanny McPhee.

    What did she mean when she said that she didn’t have the same choices as Brad Pitt in filmmaking? Did she mean that because he’s a man, he’ll always have better parts offered to him, as a whole over the parts that women have? Which is why she always did romantic films????

    And I’ll need to watch Love Actually again (not that Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve piece of sh-t)–my Liam is in it, making me sad every time I watch it, because he’s his character now. I really hope he finds someone to spend the rest of his life with (or he could fly out to Michigan and find me–I’m legal now, and I COOK!)–he’s always looking so sad, although not as bad as the first few years after Natasha died.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I think she meant that Brad Pitt can star in action films because he’s a man, but there aren’t many action films with female stars? So she usually makes movies about love stories. I think.

      I need to watch Love Actually again, too. Luckily, I own it!

    • Ice Maiden says:

      I also thought it was a slightly strange comment. I mean, if making films about ‘love’ is her niche, that’s fine. But there are actresses her age – Tilda Swinton or Julianne Moore for example – who don’t always play ‘romantic’ roles so it is possible. And Brad Pitt was an odd comparison – he’s a pretty boy/mediocre actor who did well in making his career last years longer than is the case for most hot young things, while Emma has always been a respected actress whose looks have never been a major part of her appeal.

    • lunchcoma says:

      I think she meant that because he’s a man, there are certain kinds of dramatic and action roles that are open to him that wouldn’t be to her. I suspect there may also be a hint at the different ways that actors and actresses are treated as they age – there are a handful of plum roles out there for older actresses, but there aren’t nearly as many as there are for older actors. To me, at least, it seems like there are always a bunch of brilliant women fighting over a small number of good roles, while even older actors who weren’t immensely talented can often continue to work in their 50s.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Over 40 years old, there are 10 times as many male roles as female roles.

        Actresses have drastically different options from actors as they age.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        @Tiffany is that really true though? Emma Thompson doesn’t seem to have much trouble getting work, and neither do the likes of Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench or Sandra Bullock, all of whom are older – some much older – than 40. Most if not all of the Best Actress Oscar nominees this year are likely to be over 40. Of course, dollybird actresses whose main if not only appeal is their looks won’t last much longer than 40 or so, but the same can be said for beefcake male actors. Actresses with a bit more substance seem to be able to sustain their careers into middle age and well beyond.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Ice Maiden, it is absolutely true. The statistics are quite shocking. I saw an article with charts in Variety a few years back and it really opened my eyes.

        If you go by averages, not by looking at the careers for a handful of people, the numbers are stark. Something like 70% of the people you see on tv and movies over age 40 are men.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Ah, what I read was from the Hollywood Reporter in 2011. It had a bunch of charts, I am going to convert them to words here.

        Ages and percentage of change in earnings under SAG contracts :
        Age 21-30
        Women earned 11% more than men

        Age 31-40
        Women earned 44% less than men

        Age 41-50
        Women earn 64% less than men

        51-60
        Women earn 74% less than men.

        **#1. In movies directed by women in 2009, 47.7% of characters were female.
        **#2. In movies directed by men in 2009, fewer than 1/3 of the characters were female.
        **#3. When 1 or more of the screenwriters were female, 40% of the characters are female.
        **#4. When there are 0 female screenwriters, only 29.8% of the characters are females (of any age).
        **5. Of the top grossing films of 2009, only 3.6% were directed by women (think of point #2 above, and see how this would translate into female roles in those movies).
        **6. Of the top grossing films of 2009, only 13.5% had female writers on their staff (think of point #4 above and the impact so few female writers would have on the number of female roles in the films).

      • Ice Maiden says:

        Thanks for those stats, Tiffany. You’re right, the picture on the whole is not good for ‘older’ women in Hollywood. I agree with you that the lack of female writers and directors is crucial as it means everything is shown from the male point of view, and those few female characters who do feature are there mostly to soothe the male ego. Not good.

    • MaiGirl says:

      I agree. I don’t think she’s saying that women never get to play action roles, but that the options for women are mostly confined to romantic roles, or the wives/girlfriends/mothers of the main character, which is often a man. The variety of roles isn’t the same, nor is the age cap. She isn’t being bitter, but simply pointing out the discrepancies that still exist.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      I love Emma more and more. After seeing her wicked sense of humor on Graham Norton show recently, I love her sass! She really does undersell her talents. Hollywood needs to wake up and give talented people like her more interesting roles.
      That said, I always watch “Love Actually” every Christmas and Emma’s role is one of my favourites. She should have left snape and run off with Liam’s character though!!

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        Nooo, Liam needs to run off with ME! (I know what you’re saying–but I think that’s the beauty of the film. You don’t know if they worked through their problems–why he was even contemplating an affair, or a thing with Mia–you get to decide.). I pick Liam’s story line as my favorite–but they were all amazing….

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Okay. Liam is yours! Better you than Claudia “I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on” Schiffer!

        I think Love Actually worked so well because all the stories were woven together so beautifully and did leave some of the final details to the imagination. New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day were just too try hard…

        And not forgetting stunning Helen Mirren played an assassin in Red/Red 2 which of course she was elegantly kick-@ss in! Emma could so rock a role like that. Motherly housewife by day, killing machine by night. All with that gorgeous smile, no nonsense attitude and quick wit.

  2. Anners says:

    I want that down comforter coat – it looks so warm! It would be perfect for tv watching – like a fancy snuggie!

  3. ANDREA1 says:

    What is it with people always calling Brad Pitt’s name :) yes Emma is one classy woman who didn’t play the victim and pity party card ;)

    • Scout says:

      Wow, even an article about Emma Thompson becomes an opportunity to trash Jennifer Aniston. Amazing.

      If you google the phrase “don’t make me your victim” you get tons of Jennifer Aniston hits going all the way back to 2006.

      Aniston gave ONE interview in 2005 during the divorce where she said during her darkest days she would throw HERSELF a pity party and none of the haters has ever let her forget this.

      Keep in mind, it’s Brad Pitt who keeps wanting to revisit 2005 whenever he has a movie to sell.

      • Maggie says:

        They’re still pissed Aniston was married to him and didn’t worship the ground he walked on.

      • Spooks says:

        I never got the Aniston hate. She seems so harmless.

      • Lopusta says:

        Wow she only commended Emma didn’t even mention anyone’s name and maggie and scout jumped on her Why bring up only aniston why not sandra? How pathetic

      • Maya says:

        @Scout: Actually no one mentioned Jennifer at all.

        Andrea only wrote pity card and you thought about Jennifer straight away – why is that? Is it because whenever someone says pity card you automatically go to Jennifer Aniston – fans and non fans?

        As for the google thing – so the whole have realised that Jennifer uses to throw pity party for years and years and used it to her advantage despite the fact she wasn’t cheated on in the first place (no cheating happened was confirmed by Brad, Angelina & Jennifer herself).

        PS: since you get upset over a few comments – then I advice you to prepare yourself. The media has already turned against Jennifer which is evident with the negative articles being allowed to be published. On websites which were Jennifer territory until a few years – negative comments from the public are now allowed and published. Even Hollywood has acknowledged that Jennifer is overpaid and can only drag the audience in if she strips, calling her desperate because even after two decades in the field she strips to get attention and doesn’t have any acting talent to back up.

      • ANDREA1 says:

        @Lopusta why even replying these two attack dogs who are ready to tear Me apart. I have no words for them
        @Recee yeah I know she used his name because he is famous and not for personal reasons. I was just saying how actors always name drop Brad that’s all
        @Spooks I don’t hate aniston am not even capable of hate. She is not just who she pretends or claims to be which is clear for the world to see now. She isn’t having it as easy as before where people thought she was a complete sweetheart
        @Maya what more can I say you summed it up pretty good as always :) you rock.

      • Maya says:

        @Andrea: Thank you:)

        I didn’t want to turn this into a Brad & Angelina vs Jennifer thing but some people especially Jen fans cannot fathom the fact that not everything is about their precious idol – the world doesn’t go around for her.

    • Reece says:

      Because he’s super famous. You say Brad Pitt and everybody automatically knows your meaning. She’s not talking about Brad the person but the image, the actor.

  4. Irishserra says:

    I just love her. What I would do for the chance to just hang out and have a cuppa with the woman.

  5. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    She seems to grow more beautiful with age, inside and out. I just love her.

  6. B says:

    SHE WAS SYBIL???!!!!! I think I’ve fallen in love with her all over again!

  7. Ice Maiden says:

    I love Emma but I don’t like this photo at all. Her face looks like it was superimposed on to the rest of the photo.

  8. Ginger says:

    Emma is the coolest chick IMO! And I usually pull out my DVD of Love Actually at Christmas. It’s a good time to watch it. And of course, I’m always down to watch anything with Liam Neeson in it. But I do love, love, love watching Liam and Emma act together in that film. I am interested in seeing Finding Mr. Banks even though I’m not a huge Disney person. I’m intrigued by the fact that Mary Poppins was a real person (?) And I’m positive the acting will be top notch.

  9. Myrto says:

    “I looked like a geography teacher” That made me laugh out loud.
    For ayone who loves Emma Thompson, I recommend listening to the audio commentaries of Sense and Sensibility. Emma Thompson talks all the way through the movie, with the producer Lindsay Doran, and honestly it’s the best thing ever: full of hilarious anecdotes, deep comments about the scenes and the writing. If you want cheering up, it’s even better than Love Actually imo.

  10. RobN says:

    Like her very much and not really criticizing, but why all the talk about Kenneth Branagh all of a sudden? She went 15+ years saying virtually nothing, even achieved the best of situations where interviewers don’t even ask you about the ex anymore, and now it seems to be a part of every interview. Just seems odd.

    • Scout says:

      She did it for the same reason Brad Pitt keeps bringing up his time with Aniston. It sells.

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        He brought it up ONCE (his marriage with her, not her, that was when the writer put her name in brackets), and then apologized–and then I think there was a snafu with his Esquire (his makeup artist said something, that they were still friends, or something).

        But with Emma, I don’t think it sells. Not in the way Brad/Angelina/Jennifer triangle sells–I only knew she was married to Kenneth Branagh because of this site. I knew she was with Greg Wise, because when they did the commentary on Sense and Sensibility, she was already with him, and said a few things (personally) about him. Plus, I have a pretty good memory, so I remember stuff like that, but I don’t think it really sells in her case. People go see her films because they think she’s talented, not because of her love life. I don’t think it helps her any, to bring it up or answer questions about it, but it doesn’t hurt her either. Maybe she’s talking about it because she’s finally able to comfortably.

        I don’t mind people talking about their past marriages, as long as it’s an attempt to reflect back on YOURSELF, and not make attacks against the other person. After all, you chose to marry them.

      • Scout says:

        @ Virgil. He’s brought up tons of times and during the Killing Me Softly media campaign he was less subtle about it and the media finally called him out on it which forced him to apologize. He dredged it up all over again during WWZ promo tour. Re-read the Esquire quote. It’s NOT from his make up artist, it’s from HIM and his life “a decade ago”.

        And when he talks about his marriage he is talking about his marriage to Jen, What a strange argument to make. He wasn’t talking about Jen! He was talking about his marriage!

        Who cares of it’s the writer who puts her name in brackets? He is obviously talking about his marriage to Jen, not some random person none of us has ever heard of.

        Why does Pitt always get a pass? It’s the writers fault! It was a friend! It was a snafu! Really?

      • Irishserra says:

        No. She brought it up because he’s prominent in the industry right now and was the first such individual that came to mind and a reference the readers would understand. That’s all.

      • Maggie says:

        No you’re wrong Virg. He’s brought it up several times. Do some research if you’re so inclined. I agree ppl see her films because she is talented. I find the British generally to be better actors than HW.

      • Maya says:

        @Scout: OMG get a freaking life.

        For the record Jennifer has brought up Brad and Angelina several times and she is the one who got away with it because of her agent Huvane. Jennifer also gets her friends – Chelsea Handler, Jason Bateman etc to take digs at Brad as well.

        As someone says Google is your friend and it can easily be proven. I am not going to waste my time providing the links but I am sure someone else is more than willing to provide the links and prove to you once and for all that Jennifer is the one attacks and namedrops the JPs for promotion and to gain sympathy.

      • keep says:

        Someone is seriously obsessed with Brad Pitt. Get help.

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        I didn’t mean to make this into a huge thing, especially on a thread with the fabulous Emma Thompson, so I’ll say this and then I’m not commenting anymore.

        http://www.celebitchy.com/180721/brad_pitt_talks_about_feeling_pathetic_in_his_marriage_to_jennifer_aniston/
        This is when he says that he was trying to make films about interesting lives/people, but he wasn’t living an interesting life, wasn’t an interesting person–he said he thinks his marriage had something to do with it. HE was trying to make it into something it wasn’t–the writer inserted JA’s name into the article.

        After this, when the media basically said ‘omg, Brad said Jen was boring’, he apologized and said that it was HIM, not her.

        http://www.celebitchy.com/299789/did_brad_pitt_really_slam_jennifer_aniston_in_his_esquire_interview_really/
        This is the Esquire interview–this is when he says HE spent years f-king off, doing nothing, and that he wanted to change. He said it happened ‘about a decade ago’.

        http://www.celebitchy.com/300080/brad_pitts_makeup_artist_claims_brad_jennifer_aniston_are_very_good_friends/
        This is when his makeup artist said that he and JA were friends, and he cared about her.

        Scout, during the ‘Killing Them Softly” press tour, his engagement to Angelina was already known.
        http://www.celebitchy.com/265551/brad_pitt_covers_people_mag_refers_to_angelina_jolie_as_mama_hot_or_try-hard/

        The only comparison I meant to make between the two is that they both didn’t forget their parts in their marriages, and as long as they don’t go blaming their former husband/wife for everything (and in Emma’s case, keep talking about his cheating–although I read on the other thread that they were in an open relationship?), then I’m fine with bringing up the past. It shaped both of them, for the better, which is what I think both of them think. I like that they both talk about their pasts, without pointing fingers, even when they *could* do so. Emma is a classy lady. Love her.

  11. K says:

    It’s so good to read things about her – she’s such a decent, intelligent woman as well as very gifted.

  12. ptitesirna says:

    Psst…I think Love Actually is on tonight. Maybe on AMC? Can’t remember what I saw on some commercials last night…

  13. Nanz01 says:

    I just love her. I disagree about the cover photo – it looks like somebody photoshopped all the character (read: wrinkles) out of her face. My husband and I watched Love Actually together last night. It was his first time seeing all the way through. I have always loved that movie and found it funny, but something about watching it with him made the funny parts funnier and the sad parts sadder. The scene where she’s crying alone in her bedroom…I just…I started to imagine what my life would look like in that situation – heartbreaking. And she does heartbreaking so well. She’s so talented and she seems like such an intelligent, funny, sincere woman.

  14. Sumodo1 says:

    Remains of the Day and Howard’s End are two favorites of mine. I hope Emma is lucky at awards time.

  15. Whitney says:

    I love Emma, seriously one of my favourite all-time actresses. She seems like she’d just be so much fun to hang out with.

  16. gennline says:

    @Scout
    Actually the Parade interview where the reporter inserted JA name was during press for Moneyball.
    You re read the Esquire interview, his make up artist says he and JA are friends.
    He can talk about his life 10 years ago because it was his life. After years of having Angelina and his children trashed in the press, it was about time he said something.
    I’m glad he went back and said exactly the same thing he said in the first interview. At least now he is free to talk about his present life without a certain PR person mounting media campaings against Angelina.
    Are you not glad the sorry state of a man that he was 10 years ago left so that JA can be in the ‘happy’ state she is in now.

  17. TQB says:

    I am perhaps most impressed by her sacrifice for her art – no sex for 6 months? with COUNT WILLOUGHBY? That’s major.

  18. That cover has to be Photoshopped. And there’s no reason for it–she looks great as she really is.

  19. Sayrah says:

    I saw her on letterman this week and she looked amazing!

  20. waq says:

    Name dropping Brad Pitt into any conversation or interview…this seems to be long standing trend amongst Hollywood actors. He appears to have an unattainable stature the way his peers talk about him.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      Maybe it’s their way of showing support?

      I read that article that he did with the Hollywood Reporter, when it came out. Dede Gardner, his producing partner said that when Brad Grey left to go to Paramount (remember, this is in the fall of 2005–so Angelina is already pregnant, he’s got two kids, he’s filming Ocean’s 13), all of the producers in Hollywood were basically telling her and Jeremy (can’t remember his last name) that Plan B was done. They were all saying that Brad Pitt was only in producing for his vanity, and that he’d fold the company when he got back.

      Maybe it’s just me being nice, but I think that they’re trying to show some sort of support–I’m sure they all heard the rumors back then. Plus, Brad IS a big deal this awards season–12 Years A Slave, has 4 noms in the SAGs, in the Golden Globes they have 3–Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Actor (I can’t remember if Fassy was nominated–if he isn’t he should be)…so I’m thinking that it’s also that. I mean, if he had stayed with just making films, I still would’ve thought his career was going really well–I’ve never seen a movie of his that I didn’t like (although I’m going to stay away from Joe Dirt–I think it was Esmom who said that movie was crappy)….but who knows?

  21. Joanie says:

    ‘As for the stuff about her marriage to Branagh – she’s so classy. She would just hate it if anyone ever saw her as a victim. Bless her.’

    She’s not a victim. Neither she nor Branagh were blameless in the dissolution of their marriage, having cheated on each other multiple times. Branagh was no saint, but it bothers me how the whole debacle got dumped on him (and still does). Yes, the affair with HBC didn’t help with his public image at the time, but Emma admitted that she had checked out of the marriage by the time that started up.

    Talented as she is (and she is amazing, one of my favorite actresses), it’s worth noting that she has a career in the States because of her early work with Branagh (Henry V, Dead Again, Much Ado About Nothing). He wanted her for Elizabeth in Frankenstein, but she felt the part ‘wasn’t up to snuff’ (that’s a quote from a 1994 US Magazine featuring an article on Branagh and Frankenstein).

    They’re both amazing talents and charming people (having been in the same room with Branagh on three occasions, I can attest to what an absolute doll he is). But they’re human, flawed as we all are, and their divorce is water that has long since washed under the bridge.

    • Ice Maiden says:

      +1

      I said something similar on another Emma Thompson thread a few weeks ago. She has never played the victim card in all this for the very good reason that she was not a victim. Anyone who remembers the coverage of her and Branagh’s marriage in the British press back in the day – as I do – will know that it was long suspected that these two had some kind of ‘arrangement’. They were BOTH known for putting it about quite a bit during their marriage, which was rocky pretty much from day one. This was far from a simple case of a caddish husband fooling around with his hot co-star while his faithful wife sat patiently at home. There was a bit more to it than that.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      Well I wonder, why was she sad about it? Is it because they had an agreement that it would only be flings i.e. one night stands, so Kenneth broke the rules by having a relationship w/the woman he was sleeping with? Because honestly, that’s the only way I could ever be in an open relationship–if it was just sex. I don’t think you can keep going back to the same person, and not eventually begin to develop feelings for them. Especially since you would only see them in their ‘good’ light i.e. you don’t see them when they’re angry, sad–your relationship with them is quite stunted, yet you think it’s marvelous.

      So is that why they divorced?

      • Joanie says:

        I think the pressure of their respective careers, and spending lots of time apart, along with the flings, turned small cracks into a chasm that just couldn’t be repaired.

        Emma said, cryptically, soon after the marriage ended: ‘Before you marry, make sure you’ve screwed everything with a pulse.’

  22. Jayna says:

    I love her. I adore Love, Actually. I saw part of it recently again. It is the movie they keep trying to remake and they are just pale imitations of Love, Actually. It had all my faves. Hugh Grant when he was still so adorable. I love Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman and her scene was heartbreaking when she realizes the gift wasn’t for her. Billy Nighy, on and on. And my beloved Liam Neeson is in the movie and he looks so handsome. And I love how the movie makes you feel so warm and cozy around the holidays,

  23. Chloe says:

    I love Emma and I cannot wait to see Saving Mr. Banks, this awards season is going to be tough for me since I love Emma, Dame Judi and Cate this are all classy, talented and smart woman. I like that Emma can make fun of being a star and not take everything so seriously, as for mentioning her ex, it’s her life she should be allowed to talk about ALL of it, good and bad. I’m not even going to say anything about the Brad thing, I’m already disgusted about some of the triangle talk that’s got dragged into Emma’s post, she wasn’t digging on him, just using him as an example, jeez.

  24. lais says:

    Emma and Brad works in a Terrence Malick , which generated controversy with funders, think it ended up in court …. curious to see, but I think it will be a long wait … already been…
    And She loves Brad…kkkk

    http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Brad+Pitt/Emma+Thompson