Emma Thompson: Audrey Hepburn couldn’t sing, couldn’t act & was “twee”


Yesterday, Emma Thompson finally got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Yay! Who knew that it takes two Oscars and, like, 20-some years of being a movie star to make it happen? Actually, I think celebrities have to pay for their own stars now, so it’s likely that whatever studio is promoting Nanny McPhee was all “We’ll cough up the money for promotion.” Emma looked stunning (for her), and she brought along some friends for her big day: her Nanny McPhee costar Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emma’s ex-boyfriend and friend of 30-odd years, Hugh Laurie (more on him in a moment), and a lovely little piglet. The piglet stole the show! I love how Emma has taken to bringing a pig with her everywhere lately. She did at a premiere last year too.

Anyway, as part of her promotion for Nanny McPhee, Emma gave an extensive interview to The Hollywood Reporter this week (story via The Daily Mail), and she discussed in detail her work on the new adaptation of Pygmalion/My Fair Lady. Emma is adapting a new script, basically from scratch, with Carey Mulligan likely to star as Eliza Doolittle. Surprisingly, Emma has very little love for My Fair Lady in general, and Audrey Hepburn in particular. Emma describes Audrey as “fantastically twee” and “She can’t sing and she can’t really act, I’m afraid.” Oh, snap! If it was anyone else, Emma, I might be ripping you a new one:

She may be considered a screen and style icon, but Audrey Hepburn doesn’t have a fan in Emma Thompson. The Nanny McPhee star has describe the Old Hollywood actress as ‘mumsy’ and ‘twee’.

The Oscar-winner’s cutting remarks are published on the day she is honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In interviews with both The Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety, the 51-year-old says the My Fair Lady star was not ‘a very good actress.’

Thompson – who is writing a new movie version of the hit musical – says she wasn’t a big fan of the 1964 film that starred Hepburn and Rex Harrison.

‘I’m not hugely fond of the film,’ she says. ‘I find Audrey Hepburn fantastically twee.’

When asked by The Hollywood Reporter what ‘twee’ means, Thompson says: ‘Twee is whimsy without wit. It is mimsy-mumsy sweetness without any kind of bite. And that’s not for me. She can’t sing and she can’t really act, I’m afraid. I’m sure she was a delightful woman – and perhaps if I had known her I would have enjoyed her acting more, but I don’t and I didn’t, so that’s all there is to it really.’

Hepburn – who died in 1993 – has long been considered a Hollywood icon. The Breakfast at Tiffany’s actress won an Oscar for her starring role in the 1953 film, Roman Holiday. She also played Eliza Doolittle in the 1964 movie version of My Fair Lady. But the actress’s voice was dubbed over and she is not heard singing the musical’s most classic songs such as I Could Have Danced All Night and The Rain in Spain. The voice of American singer Marni Nixon is heard instead.

Thompson says she is ‘thrilled’ to be writing a new version of the musical but she admits she doesn’t like the original movie and prefers Pygmalion – the George Bernard Shaw play upon which My Fair Lady was based.

In an interview with Daily Variety, she says: ‘I find it chocolate-boxy, clunky and deeply theatrical. I don’t think that it’s a film. It’s the theatre piece put onto film. It was Cecil Beaton’s designs and Rex Harrison that gave it its extraordinary quality. I don’t do Audrey Hepburn. I think that she’s a guy thing.’

‘I’m sure she was this charming lady, but I didn’t think she was a very good actress. It’s high time that the extraordinary role of Eliza was reinterpreted because it’s a very fantastic part for a woman.’

Thompson also doesn’t like the way Eliza Doolittle was portrayed in the film, a part she hopes Brit actress Carey Mulligan will play. It is the story of a working class flower seller who is taken in by posh phonetics professor, Henry Higgins. Higgins bets he can train her to speak in an upper-class accent in a bid to pass her off as a lady in society circles.

Thompson says: ‘The central relationship between Eliza and Higgins is a fascinating one.’

She calls him ‘dysfunctional’ and even accuses Doolittle’s father, dustman Alfred as selling his daughter into slavery.

‘He’s more brutal,’ says Thompson who admits to being a feminist. ‘It’s a very terrible thing he does, selling his daughter into sexual slavery for a fiver. I suppose my cheekiness is in saying: “This is a very serious story about the usage of women at a particular time in our history. And it’s still going on today. Yes, OK, it’s a wonderful musical, but let’s also look at what it’s really saying about the world.”’

Thompson also admits that fans of the 1964 Oscar-winning film may not like the new version.

‘Fans of the original won’t want another one to be made – and honestly, one has to just cope with that,’ she says. ‘[The original is] incredibly long. The audience can expect less songs.’

Thompson also speaks about her battle with depression in the interviews. After doing a ‘big performance’ she says: ‘I have to go and be sponged down in a darkened room for a couple of weeks. I do have a lot of weakness.’

One thing she does love is writing. Thompson reveals that her biggest inspiration for the Nanny McPhee films is Westerns. Likening the British nanny to Clint Eastwood, she says: ‘The stories are kind of based on Westerns that I grew up watching with my father – everything from High Chaparral to The Virginian. Stuff like that. There’s something in Nanny McPhee that I imbibed from Clint Eastwood and his ilk. Nanny is sort of Shane, really. She’s this mysterious stranger who rides in from out of town, changes everything using rather unorthodox methods to resolve conflict and then must leave.’

[From The Daily Mail]

Eh, personally I think Emma is wrong about Audrey in general and in My Fair Lady in particular. Have you ever gone back and watched My Fair Lady? Audrey is very lovely and I think she’s very underrated in the part. When it was a stage musical, Eliza was played by Julie Andrews, and when Hollywood got their hands on it, they shoved Audrey in the role, and you can tell she really worked at doing the accents and everything. But I do understand what Emma is trying to say about the money and slavery and all – I hate Eliza’s father in the film, and he does sell his daughter.

Back to Emma and Hugh Laurie – so, they used to date, forever ago. And Emma’s husband Greg Wise wasn’t at the event, so maybe Hugh had his ex all to himself? Do you think Emma and Hugh still get hot for each other? I’m kind of thinking they do. Because look at their body language. And because, even though I could swear to it, I think something is happening in Hugh’s pants. I just… oh, Hugh. I love him. And I think this man is laying some serious pipe.



Emma, Hugh, Maggie and the pig on August 6, 2010. Credit: Bauer-Griffin.

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149 Responses to “Emma Thompson: Audrey Hepburn couldn’t sing, couldn’t act & was “twee””

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  1. Annie says:

    >>‘He’s more brutal,’ says Thompson who admits to being a feminist.

    Is being a feminist something one ADMITS TO? Strange word choice.

  2. mimi says:

    I agree with Emma regarding Audrey Hepburn. I’ve seen some of her movies on TV – couldn’t watch the whole thing..and I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about – at all.

    • Fez says:

      I completely agree…Audrey was a STAR but not an actor! She’s horrible at it! Atleast she is horrible in Breakfast at Tiffany’s for sure!

  3. canadianchick says:

    Hugh Laurie’s wife is going to flip when she sees those photos.

  4. Solveig says:

    Emma dear,

    I really like you and I always will. I think you are one of the best actors around, I also think that you are very classy, albeit the main picture of this thread that portraits you with a half pint of beer in a hand and a lovely pig on leash does say the opposite of what I mean.
    Preamble aside, I’d like to tell you that your opinion on Audrey Hepburn is totally wrong, in other words you sound bats*it crazy.
    You are allowed to say whatever you want about whoever you want, who am I to forbid you to do so?
    The sage said “opinions are like a**holes, everybody’s got one”, then I still think you are a great persona and actress.



  5. Darlene says:

    LOL, what’s happening in Hugh’s pants is his phone, or maybe cigarettes. You can see the blocky outline in one of the photos of him, Emma and Maggie all standing with the star.

    Not that I don’t find him SERIOUSLY hot. I dream of his “pipe!”

  6. gretchen says:

    disappointing comments from emma…i would not have taken her for such petty criticisms. Audrey Hepburn was delightful to watch and probably sweet in real life, something ms. thompson should maybe work on a bit, adding some sweetness to that tongue.

  7. Fluffy Kitten Tail says:

    Well Emma, I have seen a few things you were not so brilliant in, so no need to cast stones dear!

  8. Keen says:

    She’s allowed to have her opinions about Audrey Hepburn’s acting abilities, but it’s incorrect that she COULDN’T sing. She actually worked really hard to convince the producers to let her sing the role, they let her sing to the recording of herself on set and then went back and dubbed it with a different singer. I saw a special on it where they played it with her own voice and it was actually good. MUCH better than some of the mediocre hollywood stars nowadays that everyone freaks out over (even though they have to change keys for them…*ahem* Nicole Kidman!)

  9. VV says:

    I have to agree with Emma’s comments regarding the musical and even Hepburn’s performance. I love musicals but My Fair Lady has got to be one of the most arduous to sit through. I really did not enjoy it. Not her, not Rex Harrison. Nothing about it spoke to me.

    Although never a fan of Audrey Hepburn the performer in her later life she devoted considerable time and effort to many humanitarian causes. Before Angelina Jolie, there was Hepburn and she went all over the globe as part of UNICEF and really sought to reach out and bring attention to the plight of so many.

    For that I do admire her a great deal.

  10. KateNonymous says:

    I think it’s too bad she had to be so pointed in her criticisms, but…I do agree with them. I’ve seen My Fair Lady on stage and as the movie (more than once, @Kaiser), and it plays better as dinner theater than that movie does.

    And Pygmalion is quite different, as Emma says. Shaw wrote plays about social issues, and you barely get that in the movie. It’s there, but only on a very superficial level.

  11. CB Rawks says:

    I agree about Audrey. You never forget for a moment that she is Audrey in her films, she never becomes the character. She’s like Cary Grant, lovable but never anyone other than himself.
    And it wasn’t even HER singing in My Fair Lady, so that makes it doubly ridiculous that they stole the part from Julie Andrews. (And that event is the actual reason Julie got an Oscar for Mary Poppins. It was a pity Oscar.)

  12. mln says:

    I think Emma is wrong, 110% percent. But I still love her.
    Julie Andrews would have been amazing in My Fair Lady but Audrey was great. AND she actually sang well in My Fair Lady if you ever check out the DVD footage her singing is fine.

    @ Rawks I have to disagree with on both counts, for Hepburn Breakfast @ Tiffany’s is one of the most tragic films (with a happy ending of course) ever and AH breaks my heart everytime I watch that movie.
    As for Cary Grant please don’t start in on him first off in real life he was nothing like the onscreen Cary Grant but check out Notorious, His Gal Friday,or Suspicion( his only Oscar Nom) his performances are very strong for very different reasons. The problem with someone like Cary Grant, or Audrey Hepburn is that the make it look to easy so everyone chalked the whole thing up to charisma.

  13. Lola says:

    It’s in poor taste to bash a Hollywood icon if you’re in Hollywood yourself. Never thought Watson would be the one to make such comments as a seasoned and respected actress. Her comments are such a Megan Fox (read: bratty) thing to say.

  14. Andrea-2 says:

    Agreed. The woman isn’t here to defend herself. Besides, Audrey’s from the era where the “method” of acting was a little less subtle than it is today. I mean, if Emma is so great as Nanny McPhee, she wouldn’t need the make up and her “acting” would tell us everthing we needed to know about the character!

    In other words, I love you Emma, but back off bitch!!!

  15. dj says:

    Annie I caught the same drift about “admitting to being a feminist.” What inferred crap!

  16. eja102 says:

    cameron diaz got a star before emma?

    what is wrong with this picture?

  17. mslewis says:

    It is mean and nasty to bash a fellow actor, especially when they cannot defend themselves. Ms. Thompson lacks class. Audrey Hepburn was a STAR and a LADY, two things Ms. Thompson, the feminist, will never be.

    And, yes, the studio pays to put someone’s name on the Walk of Fame. These days, getting ones name on there is meaningless. After all, Mary Hart of Entertainment Tonight has her name on the Walk. That alone tells you it’s meaningless.

  18. gg says:

    ok. Audrey Hepburn was divine in My fair lady. She didn’t sing some of her songs but boy, she could act and act well. And at least u don’t have any record of her running down other actors’ performances. Shame!

  19. Mika says:

    Emma is dead right about Audrey. She’s very beautiful and stylish, but she plays herself in everything, and herself always seems to be weak and vapid.I feel the same way about Marlyn Monroe. I don’t think it’s petty to mention that, I think it’s brave to make people look at the opinions they take for granted and ask why. Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, they were strong, interesting, clever women. Audrey Hepburn is just a little girl playing dress up.
    Twee is absolutely right.

  20. reganmeister says:

    Thank you Emma. Audrey Hepburn was ridiculously beautiful, probably a very nice person, and an extremely boring actress. Competent, but boring. I watch her movies to marvel at her beauty and that’s it.

  21. Jen D says:

    I agree with Annie – what do they mean, “admits to being a feminist?”

    Interesting interview. I’m choosing to believe that Emma and Hugh are great friends, because I love the idea that there’s not drama and that they’ve remained friends all these years. I love Hugh Laurie so much.

  22. Shay says:

    This is what pisses me off about some of today’s ‘actors’. So what if Emma gets a star? Does this justify her to bitch about dead actors? Is that a sign of her actor insecurity or what?
    It’s such a shame that it’s easier to get a star than to get any decorum. I think it’s quite unnecessary for her to bitch about Audrey Hepburn. Every actor is different, offers something different. If all actors were the same, we’d have boring films and every character would be the same.
    I doubt that Emma could play Audrey’s roles, for the simple fact that she doesn’t have Audrey’s joie de vivre or gamine look, and maybe that is what Emma’s insecurity is. Her looks. But so what? She has played really good roles, and yet she still isn’t happy with that or doesn’t appear to be if she is criticizing Audrey Hepburn.

  23. Anon says:

    I agree with Emma, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love Audrey.
    I absolutely LOVE Audrey Hepburn, and I could watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s a zillion times. But as the previous poster Rawks said – it’s because Audrey was always Audrey in her films. I always imagined she was exactly the same in real life, as she was in films. Just didn’t grasp the characters as well as you could hope for, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t still enjoyable.

  24. Liana says:

    Hugh Laurie’s wife is going to flip when she sees those photos.

    Doubtful, since they are all friends and Jo and Emma get along quite well.

    I agree with Emma regarding Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady.” I like the film, but it’s too long and too… twee. And I find Rex Harrison much more memorable than Audrey Hepburn. She was beautiful, stunningly so, but she didn’t burn down the screen like others did. Of course, that’s merely my opinion and I’m not going to be snotty or nasty to people who don’t share my opinion. Nor would I cast aspersions on those who fail to share my opinion and claim it’s because they are not as conventionally attractive as someone else or jealous. That would just be petty and stupid, really.

    And who says one can’t be classy with a pint and pig?

  25. Emma says:

    Oh, Emma T, you just broke my heart into a thousand little pieces. I’ve always admired you, but I find your comments so tacky and unnecessary – nevermind the fact I disagree with pretty much all of it.

    To this day Audrey is criticized because she didn’t do her own singing in My Fair Lady – which was not her fault in the first place. She signed on with the understanding she was gonna sing. She had lessons, worked hard and even recorded several of her songs in the movie before Jack Warner decided they needed someone else’s voice, and let her know that mid-shoot. Audrey was so upset she left the set and returned the next day apologizing for her behavior, and then fulfilled her obligations to the picture. She was blindsided and upset by the turn of events but never uttered a word against the studio to the media because she had what Emma Thompson, IMO, lacked in this interview, which is class. She had that in spades.

    IMHO her performance in MFL was very, very good and deserving of recognition, which wasn’t given to her because a lot of critics wanted Julie Andrews as Eliza and when it became known it wasn’t Audrey singing that was the final straw.

    The thing is, I love Julie as well, I think she’d have been great, but the MFL execs didn’t want an unknown in the movie so it wasn’t gonna happen – and I certainly don’t fault Audrey for taking such a great part in a great movie that any actress back then would’ve killed for.

    As far as her acting skills go, I think Audrey was a very good actress. Like it’s been said here before, I think it’s easy to dismiss her abilities due to the fact she had so much charisma and appeared mostly in romantic comedies, but she proved she could pull off a more serious, dramatic role with The Nun’s Story, for example. She’s one of the most beloved actors of all time, being discovered by people to this day, I think that says a lot about her. She’s a movie and fashion icon, and had more class in her little finger than most contemporary actresses don’t have in their whole bodies.

  26. Andrea-2 says:

    And with that brilliant commentary, they just need to close down the thread!!!! Nothing more needs to be said…

  27. Rita says:

    I think Emma is very talented and I like much of what she does but this crap she’s putting out about Audrey is classless. If these stars spew this crap just to start a buzz, then they are not that big of star. It is not right to compare acting of 50 years ago with today’s acting. So many more filming, editing, and studio techniques are available today to cover an actor’s “blemishes”. The art is suppose to grow over time and today’s actors have the benefit of that growth. In 50 years, other actresses will be putting the smack-down on Emma’s acting and that will be just as classless and ill informed as Emma’s comments.

  28. Rita says:

    One other thing, you can all bet your last dime that Audrey would never had said something so classless.

  29. TeeTee says:

    P. Shiddy, I mean Diddy received a star before Emma-yup, they pay for it, I’m convinced.

    not liking her snarky comments about Ms. Hepburn..

    RIP AH

  30. snowball says:

    I’m speechless. Audrey Hepburn was probably a very nice person? You’re kidding, right? This woman was a tireless crusader for children’s rights, going to godawful places to bring awareness to the most hideous issues affecting the poorest of the poor. She was a UNICEF ambassador – I’m speechless that the likes of Emma Thompson would say, “I’m sure she would have been a delightful woman.”

    Audrey would have been too gracious and kind and lovely to have made such a crass statement about you, Emma.

    Audrey may not have been Meryl Streep, but she still worked hard and brought her own type of presence to the screen. She was sweet and refreshing and silly. I loved to watch her, not because she was full of gravitas, but because she was Audrey.

    Emma, you take yourself way too seriously, hon. Maybe if you had been so lucky as to have a little of that “twee” in you, you wouldn’t be such a cranky ass who has a history of bitching about the size of her ass and her bad skin.

  31. Lenore says:

    NEWSFLASH: Woman has opinion.

    Seriously, people, get over yourselves! People are allowed to have opinions. They are allowed to express those opinions. Since when is it “classless” or trashy or bitchy to express a lack of enthusiasm for a film or a performer?

    Should Emma T – who was obviously asked direct questions about the film and its star, and could not avoid answering – just fudge it and lie? “Oh, stylish lady, humanitarian, beloved film, blah”. I’d much rather hear an honest opinion – trust me, it won’t erase your copy of the movie and it won’t hurt Audrey in the slightest.

  32. albeli says:

    Really disappointed for Emma to be so classless and bitchy.

  33. Carol says:

    If Emma is going to bash Audrey for playing herself in her movies, then someone needs to take Katharine Hepburn’s 4 Oscars away from her. And Spencer Tracy’s 2. Etc. Etc. Acting was viewed differently back then, Emma, and you probably wouldn’t have fared well under the studio system so let’s not compare apples and oranges. As for Audrey possibly being “a delightful woman”, perhaps Emma imbibed a little too much of the beer she was holding before she began that interview. Badly done, Emma. Badly done!

  34. annie d says:

    I’m sure Emma didn’t mean to be disparaging towards Audrey, it must be difficult to make an adaptation of that play when everyone is going to be looking for Audrey Hepburn in the role. Audrey Hepburn was iconic and exquisite but she really wasn’t an exceptional actress.

  35. Hautie says:

    Why is it someone offers their own opinion and it doesn’t agree with yours, the immediate reaction is to call the person a ugly name?

    Miss Thompson stated her opinion based on her own experience watching the films of Hepburn. And that is her right.

    There are numerous old school “legend” actor’s (male and female) that are grossly over rated.

    So I understand her not liking Hepburn. And I agree with her about not liking Hepburn’s acting.

    Hepburn was lovely to look at but I always found her speaking voice to be oddly flat.

    And I can name at least six popular working actresses, that I can’t stand to hear them talk. So I skip their movies.

  36. SammyHammy says:

    Emma is 100% correct. I knew she was one smart lady. AH was a very poor actress and I really never understood her charm. She just seemed to have no personality at all.

  37. Andrea-2 says:


    Emma didn’t need to go there; as one previous poster mentioned, she could have either offered her opinion in nicer terms or not have said anything at all. And I think the term “twee” could be looked at as name-calling…

  38. nnire says:

    i love Audrey Hepburn–absolutely gorgeous, kind, had an amazing life, etc., but i have to admit that i feel the same way ET does about her role in MFL, which was a great effort but absolutely nowhere near what Julie Andrews could and should have done with it.

    i much preferred Audrey in Funny Face with Fred Astaire, where she got to do what she was absolutely great at–dancing (her first love). i also love Roman Holiday and Wait Until Dark, which still chills me. The Children’s Hour with Shirley MacLaine was also great (especially for Shirley).

    can’t help it. Audrey was gorgeous in MFL, but Julie could have sang it (obviously) and added the wit that Emma thinks it needs.

  39. Cheyenne says:

    Did anyone see Hepburn in “The Nun’s Story”? She was absolutely terrific in that film. I wouldn’t judge anyone’s ability as an actor by their role in a musical comedy.

    Really tacky of Thompson to snark on a dead woman who can’t defend herself.

    Not to mention that as far as looks went, Hepburn made Thomas look like a bag woman.

  40. Della says:

    Sweet baby Moses in a basket! Please, people, the woman has her opinions about what and who she likes. So what. It isn’t mean and it isn’t bitchy to dislike the acting of a dead actress.

    It doesn’t require a ton of defenses from or about Audrey. It just is. She’s entitled to like what she likes. She’s entitled to explain why she doesn’t particularly enjoy something or someone. She doesn’t have to be told how to feel about someone. If her opinion marches differently from yours that doesn’t make her a classless or tasteless woman.

  41. Synthia says:



  42. snowball says:

    @Lenore – when her remarks were “classless, trashy and bitchy.”

    She could have taken the high road and simply said something along the lines of, “Audrey Hepburn was a wonderful humanitarian that I admired greatly and she was terribly beloved by such a huge audience. I never felt she was right for the role of Eliza Doolittle though; I always felt strongly that it should have been told from a much stronger perspective and that’s where I hope to take it with my new project.”

    And then go from there. There was no need to continually insult Audrey with this “mumsy” and “twee” business. She brings it up for the very reason she’s getting called out here. She’s a rather vulgar woman who just blurts out the most inappropriate things.

    @Della – I love to defend Audrey – and this isn’t about not being allowed to have an opinon about not liking someone elses work. Ms. Thompson is just acting like a rude, nasty woman and it’s hardly the first time. She can’t seem to control her mouth. THAT bothers me.

  43. T. says:

    Yep, Emma, aren’t you the one who ‘condoned’ Roman Polanski at first? Because he was such a GREAT director and talent – so it’s OK that he ‘raped’ a 13 year old years before? If that were her daughter, would she feel the same way? No wonder she’s taking a break from acting because of ‘depression’! Hope from now on she leaves her horrible comments about the deceased to herself.

  44. hzl says:

    I agree with her. I never understood the fascination with Audrey Hepburn. She could not act. Funny Face was ridiculous.

  45. theresa says:

    I’ve never thought that Emma herself was a particularly good actress. I wonder if her bitchy comments were, at least partly, inspired by the great beauty and onscreen charisma that Audrey Hepburn had and that Emma has always lacked. I also remember that Emma’s then husband, Kenneth Branaugh, left her for the far more beautiful and charismatic Helena Bonham Carter. As far as the dubbing of Audrey’s voice, the late, great Jeremy Brett played the part of Freddie in “My Fair Lady”. Despite the fact that he had a famous and fabulous singing voice, his song, “On The Street Where You Live” was also dubbed and by a much less talented singer. Jeremy was shocked when he found out. But that’s show biz.

    Of course Shaw’s non-musical play “Pygmalion” is not the same thing as the Hollywood musical, “My Fair Lady.” I love both, but the stage and the movies are inherently different. Even Shaw borrowed a bit from a different medium, the Greek myth Pygmalion, and then transformed it through his own talent.

  46. Jen says:

    She’s totally right.

  47. OC lady says:

    I disagree. Audrey was talented–she was good in Wait Until Dark and a few others. I do agree that she shouldn’t have been cast over Julie Andrews, but she wasn’t that horrible.

    Audrey’s best movies were sweet and light–she was a doll in Roman Holiday and Breakfast at T’s. She was the original sweetheart–and so many actresses are still trying to emulate what Audrey had–without success.

    I really like Emma Thompson but I feel it doesn’t do her any good to denigrate a Hollywood icon. It’s a little catty and she’s better than that.

  48. ch says:

    i´m not so much into emma thompson. I think she´s a good actrees though. I find really refreshing to hear somebody say that audrey hepburn was not that good. Im kind of tired of hearing young actresses say they love so much audrey (penelope cruz always say so) and its just stupid. I think Audrey Hepburn was stuck in these role of ingenue, sweet, stylish wathever … and i dont think any actress should look forward to have the same career, cause Audrey Hepburn couldn´t show any versatility. I remember though that she was good at “wait until dark”, where she played a blind woman. There are lots of movie stars that we like because they have charisma, and they look so good, and maybe because they play the same character over and over. Quite often, I wouldn´t know how to tell a good actor from a bad one. Sometimes I find really iconic performances very annoying… and that´s what must have happened with Emma Thompson, she must have been sick of watching mrs.Hepburn in what people believe is good acting and she doesn´t believe so. At least her opinion is a professional opinion and is kind of brave (or irresponssible) ´cause Hepburn is an icon for many people.

  49. Feebee says:

    Have never seen Audrey Hepburn act in anything however if anyone’s in a position to judge then Emma Thompson would be one of them.

    Just because Ms Hepburn was a star and later an icon (primarily because of a costume?) doesn’t mean her acting was brillant. Marilyn Monroe was a star and icon but it wasn’t because of her acting… there are a couple of actresses today that are genuine “stars” but probably won’t be icons and their acting has very little to do with it… some things never change.

  50. ch says:

    i know it has not much to do with emma and audrey, but let me tell you a performance I really enjoyed:
    Claire Danes in Temple Grandin;
    it´s a risky performance… but she´s outstanding, and the best thing is that you dont realize how good she is until the movie is over, because its not showy or distracting over the top, she just embodies her character… so watch it if you get the chance

  51. taylor says:

    I love Emma Thompson and have done for years. One of the reasons that my admiration still stands is that she does, in fact, have opinions about things and shares them when asked. Do I agree with her about Audrey Hepburn, not really. But I love that she gave her opinion when asked about the film re her new version.

    Also, I think the “admits to being a feminist” is stupid/nasty wording on the part of the reporter.

  52. CB Rawks says:

    @Mln, Don’t get me wrong, I love Cary Grant. Especially in To Catch a Thief. My hubster is a big fan of North by Northwest.
    I did see him recently in a very old film where he had to cry (regarding something tragic with his new baby), and I was very impressed at his emotion. I’ll give him more props from now on. 🙂

  53. Liana says:

    Since when is it “classless” or trashy or bitchy to express a lack of enthusiasm for a film or a performer?

    When it’s someone else doing it. Some of these people calling Emma Thompson horrible names for daring not to care for Audrey Hepburn (and she isn’t alone in her opinion, not even amongst some of the H-wood elite) are the same ones who blithely trash some “modern” female actors.

  54. Kiska says:

    I disagree with Emma’s assessment of Audrey Hepburn. She could evoke emotion just by using her eyes. She was luminous to watch and in comparison to other actresses in her era, she was truly fascinating to watch on the screen.

  55. a says:

    super tacky. what a B emma! hugh needs to tone down the PDA, this ain’t footlights!

  56. oduroyal says:

    Emma Thompson really needs to check her jealousy issues…she certainly is nowhere near as classy as Audrey.

  57. aloha says:

    Hugh and Emma still have the hots for each other!

  58. Reality Check says:

    Oh, come on Hugh! No underwear with a suit? LMAO And who kisses with their eyes open? Hilarious!!

  59. gretchen says:

    “Hugh and Emma still have the hots for each other!”

    @aloha: hmmm…maybe? i’m getting a definite bi/lesbian vibe from emma these days

  60. d says:

    Oh, God, twee is right. I’ve seen Hepburn films and it is a style or method of acting that was very popular for her and succeeded AT THE TIME. If any actress that did that today, they’d be savaged by the critics. I saw one movie with her recently and it was just insufferable her style of acting…totally cutesy that was popular and acceptable fr her. It was a uniquely Hepburn way that she was allowed to get away with because of her beauty, style, and demeanor. She was no doubt a wonderful person who contributed a lot. But fabulous actress? Meh. I get what Thompson is saying absolutely. And she’s allowed to have AN OPINION and a strong one at that.

  61. Rita says:

    Congrats to all of you!! This thread produced some of the most articulate and intellegent comments I’ve read on the “bitchy”, both pro and con. Wow, you ladies are great!!! The only point I would like to reiterate for us all is that graciousness is always best in the public critique of someone else’s work.

  62. Brittney says:

    @ch — Claire Danes has always been one of my top five actresses, for that performance and many, many others. She’s an understated beauty with the kind of talent that sneaks up on you, and it’s a shame that she hasn’t gotten bigger roles as she’s gotten older. Maybe her big, award-winning time is yet to come.

    That said… re: Audrey Hepburn, watch the Children’s Hour (a film WAY ahead of its time) and it’s hard to say a bad word about her acting abilities. Emma might be a great actress, but so was Audrey… just in a different way.

  63. notachance says:

    I can’t even begin to express how RUDE and CLASSLESS it is to make comments about an actress who is first off, DEAD, thus cannot even defend herself, and second such an icon and a class-act like Emma Thompson will NEVER, EVER be.

    And get over yourself Thompson, you certainly aren’t a phenomenal actress, far from it. Not to mention Thompson, you’ll never have even a thousandth of the class Audrey Hepburn had.

    This isn’t about freedom of speech or having opinions at all. It’s about being rude and completely out of place. Having opinions is one thing, being rude is another. Whatever she thinks of Audrey Hepburn, she better keep it to herself or express it in a FAR more polite way. And, clearly she doesn’t even know that Audrey was a UNICEF ambassador and spent her entire post-acting life trying to help the under-privileged. Whatever, Emma Thompson, get over yourself.

  64. She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named says:

    The only actresses that seem to wax poetic over Audrey Hepburn are people who want people to compare them to her. They WISH the public would say, oh, wow, she’s like the new Audrey Hepburn, or whomever. Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Love Hewitt, etc. Lohan and Monroe…

    She was adorable, but a very shallow actress. I think Emma just wants more depth to the story.

    She’s probably been through the wringer trying to justify remaking the film and so she has her answers ready. LOVE that she has *gasp* an opinion and isn’t a total fake pretending Hepburn was her idol or whatever. She’s a very intelligent woman and a gifted actress and she has the right to her opinion. I also think a lot is lost when you read something and can’t hear the tone in which it’s delivered. She always very wry. SO much better than all this fakey fakey crap women are not only expected to turn out, but (listen the cries of Bitch! Classless!!) DEMANDED to turn out.

    And, yeah, “admit” she’s a Feminist is just stupid and weird. It’s kind of like saying she “admitted” she is Jewish or Black. Crazy!

    It reminds me of the Neo-Cons trying desperately to make Democrats cower in shame at being called Democrats, like it’s some nasty word. (I picture Elizabeth Hasselbeck crinkle her little fake nose at the word feminist and run into the corpulent arms of Rush Limbaugh who will pat her on her fake blond head and say she’s being a ‘good girl’ to stay away from those femi-nazis who want to be paid the same as men for the same work.)
    Time to take back the word “feminist” I think. Lol. And yeah, I can definitely see some heat coming off Hugh!

  65. Dhavy says:

    I wish all actors were just like Emma, who wouldn’t like to hear their opinions about another actor? and why not? we all do it here. One person’s comment is definately not going to change my opinion nor would I let it bother me. I’m sure if good actors would speak their minds about the talentless we wouldn’t be scratching our heads wondering how they became famous and we would definately have better films.

    She’s not bashing Audrey in a nasty way or insulting her on an extremeley personal level, plus it’s not like she’s saying she’s better than everyone else

  66. Rosanna says:

    Audrey was an icon of class and grace but Emma is right… Audrey never was a great actress (or a super-beauty).

  67. Liana says:

    Why would Audrey Hepburn have to defend herself from one woman’s opinion? It’s not like Emma Thompson can (or would care to) defend herself against the diabtribe of opinion that “notachance” just posted.

  68. Emma says:

    @Andrea-2 – thank you.

    As for the commenters saying Emma Thompson is perfectly entitled to her opinion and should be able to express it regardless of what it is – of course she is and of course she does, no one is questioning that. I think it comes down to two things – the first one being, just because you can say something, it doesn’t mean that you should; and if are going to say it, there are several ways in which you can say it. It’s like @snowball said – it is the words Emma used and the way she expressed herself that I feel were unfortunate, to say the least.

    OT but this reminds me of the recent “Sons of Anarchy” debacle, where the show’s creator was upset that his wife, actress Katey Sagal, wasn’t nominated for an Emmy for her work on the show and went on to post a blog entry attacking an actress who was in the nominees list (his words were something along the lines of, “Mariska Hargitay, are you f*****g kidding me??”). Is he entitled to feeling upset his wife didn’t make it, to feel she was worthy while Mariska was not? Heck, yeah. But did he have to bring up the name of another actress who was fortunate enough to be recognized for her work? Well, I don’t think so, IMO that was completely rude and unnecessary. For me it’s the same thing with Emma in this interview.

    Another tl;dr post, lol I apologize, but this reminds me why I’m such an Audrey fan in the first place. She’d never make an unkind comment like this about one of her peers. CLASS, it’s in short supply these days, I’m afraid.

  69. canadianchick says:

    If Hugh Laurie’s wife is okay with these photos Liana, then something is werong with their marriage.

  70. Crash2GO2 says:

    I’m with Emma and Andrea-2. It’s like Emma Thompson lacks a bit of a social graces filter. It doesn’t mean I will think any less of her as an actor, I will just view her opinions in a different light I think.

  71. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    This is going to mess up Jennifer Love Hewitt real bad.

  72. mln says:

    @ Rawkes no worries Cary Grant is my favorite old-time actor so sometimes I get a little defensive lol

  73. Shay says:

    Lenore, there is a difference between having an opinion and being an insecure, bitchy cow. Emma, by saying what she said, indicates that she is the latter.
    Just ust because Emma will never be a style icon or, with the exception of few contemporary British actresses, looks shabby half the time, doesn’t add to her opinion. She reminds me of the current wave of supposed ‘feminists’ who take a verbal whip to women who have film presence and -YES- looks. Emma Thompson is essentially reducing Audrey Hepburn based on her appearance. Will there be boxed film sets featuring Emma Thompson in twenty years time?
    I highly doubt it!

  74. Hmmm says:

    Oh look! Emma speaks her mind (and she does it with authority). How refreshing! And positively uncommon in the glib and smarmy world of entertainment.

  75. Nibbi says:

    “laying some serious pipe” ahahahahaha kaiser!

    the thing is, maybe AH really was a bit “twee” in her acting style. i’m not gonna lie, she bugged the crap out of me in both “love in the afternoon” and “breakfast at tiffany’s” (WHY does everyone think that is such a wonderful movie?? besides the awesome clothes, there’s a really dumb racist depiction of a japanese guy, the story is centered around the fact that she’s a whore but wholly seems to overlook any sense of sexuality for her- it’s all about her cute, jaunty little self and doe eyes- all childlike innocence and charm. i guess what i mean to say is that that particular film seemed to glamourize- even cute-ize- prostitution.) i don’t think ET is this awful bitch for expressing her opinion on the woman’s acting; she’s very careful to point out that AH was surely a lovely woman and all that. all this outrage here just shows what happens when people dare to disparage received opinion on an iconic figure.

  76. Rio says:

    The best story about Audrey Hepburn (aside from tucking notes from the Belgian resistance in her shoes at checkpoints) was near the end of her life. Apparently, her doctor told her she had terminal cancer and all she said was, “Well, sh*t.”

  77. Adrien says:

    Emma Thompson’s right. I love Audrey but she’s really just the Gwyneth Paltrow of that time. More of a movie star or celebrity than an actor, like most actors at that time. Forget about Audrey’s Holly Golightly, how about Cleopatra. Really, Liz Taylor as Cleo?
    And she’s just criticizing her professional work.
    Oh please stop with these dead people can’t defend themselves thing. If she dissed Georgia O’ Keefe, will they be saying, “She’s dead, that was tasteless”.

  78. Oi says:

    I think Emma’s assessment is dead on. To me, Audrey never really did act. She was the same personality over and over and over. Sorry, but she’s just plain annoying to watch for me. For instance, ‘Charade’ was great except for her. And Audrey couldn’t sing, that’s the truth; she was dubbed in MFL by the same woman who dubbed Natalie Woods for West Side Story (name escaping me, but she physically appeared in the Sound of Music as one of the nuns).

  79. California Surfer says:

    My buddy and I smoked some great hash the other day and saw the African Queen and it was way majorly amazingly entertaining.

  80. Kate says:

    She’s a little coo-coo for coco puffs, but she’s a damn fine actress so she gets a free pass… for now!

    And Hugh Laurie is one sexy bit of man meat! I have loved him since he was in Annie Lennoxs’ “Walking on Broken Glass” video. Yum.

  81. Liana says:

    she was dubbed in MFL by the same woman who dubbed Natalie Woods for West Side Story (name escaping me, but she physically appeared in the Sound of Music as one of the nuns).

    Marni Nixon. She also was dubbed in for Deborah Kerr’s singing in “An Affair to Remember” – one of my FAVORITE movies! And also “The King and I.”

  82. gretchen says:

    My buddy and I smoked some great hash the other day and saw the African Queen and it was way majorly amazingly entertaining.

    @california surfer: uhoh where’s grandma? and i’m sure you know of course that ‘Katherine’ was the Hepburn in African Queen LOL

  83. Bopa says:

    August 7th, 2010 at 11:03 am cameron diaz got a star before emma?

    what is wrong with this picture?


    I understand Cameron Diaz getting a star but I don’t understand how Ryan Seacrest got a star about 4 years ago. This was before Dennis Hopper got one.

  84. nofreelunch says:

    I’m pretty sure Emma’s gonna regret saying that out loud…

  85. Rio says:

    Hollywood Stars are really just bought advertisements. They cost about $4,000 (at least they did a few years ago)…basically if you have the credentials and can pay the City of Hollywood the fee, you get a star. If and when I get rich enough I’m gonna buy one for my dad– it’s so cheezy I know he’d love it!

  86. anon says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that she’s just being controversial to get her film press 🙂

  87. Madison says:

    I see Audrey’s movies and acting as a product of the way they made movies in the 50s and 60s. In 30 years people will probably be saying the same thing about Emma and her movies, especially the awful nanny mcphee movies. Emma’s comments are tacky and rude, I’m surprised that she can be so bitchy and mean to a woman who is dead.

  88. Liana says:

    If Hugh Laurie’s wife is okay with these photos Liana, then something is werong with their marriage.

    Really? Because they aren’t having sex, they aren’t naked, and they are in a public venue acting as friends. They are giving each other a chaste kiss, he has his arm around her, 2 photos are with Maggie G, 2 photos they are talking to each other, and one they are hugging. ESCANDALO!!!

    I’m still finding it ironic and hypocritical that so many people are responding to her comments about Audrey Hepburn’s ACTING (not her appearance, her acting) by bashing Emma’s appearance, calling her a cow, etc. That is much worse than simply calling Audrey Hepburn’s performance “twee.” She never said SHE was better than Audrey Hepburn, she said that she didn’t care for her acting style, expecially in “My Fair Lady.”

  89. canadianchick says:


  90. CH says:

    hey Brittney:

    you are right with “children´s hour”
    a GREAT MOVIE by william wyler
    but don´t you think Shirley McLane was much better?
    of course her role was much yummy
    and maybe that´s always the problem
    she was a good actrees but the roles she played didnt show any range at all…
    in my fair lady however, she had to show some range
    and though in the second part she plays the regular Audrey stuff
    what do you think of the first part?
    was she any good playing against type?

  91. Fae says:

    Totally agree with Emma, I’ve only ever been utterly bored by Audrey Hepburn’s performances. She never really seemed to be able to get around her image long enough to get any actual acting done.

    I’ve been a fan of Emma for many a year, and have been moved to tears, laughter, and anger by her. She’s the epitome of what I love about the old (ish) guard of British actors- not afraid or self obsessed enough to hinder her totally committing to a role, whilst still retaining (well, in my humble opinion) a grace and intelligence that always adds to her efforts.

  92. Andrea-2 says:


    Emma could have been a little more tactful. By saying “I think she was probably a nice person”, it’s like telling an ugly girl, “At least you have a nice personality”.

    I find it hard to understand that a lot of people on this thread don’t get that Emma is allowed her personal opinion but not in the form of a personal attack. Read her definition of twee and tell me how professional that is?

    Also, there are some icons that people kind of agree are “off limits”: Princess Diana, Jackie O, etc…

    If you don’t have anything nice to say….

  93. CH says:

    more questions:
    why remake the super boring gay nightmare my fair lady? who cares!”!??
    was jennifer love hewit any good as audrey hepburn, did they hide her outstanding boobs ?

  94. Crash2GO2 says:

    @Shay: “Will there be boxed film sets featuring Emma Thompson in twenty years time?
    I highly doubt it!”

    Oooh, you wanna make a bet? I absolutely think there will be.

    I also like what the poster said about how they made films in the 50’s and 60’s. What was expected from actors was quite different than what it is now. JMO.

  95. khaveman says:

    Emma is right about Audrey, and why can’t she say something about it? It was a different type of acting/scripts back then though, and who’s to say Audrey wouldn’t push herself harder in a modern movie world? Who knows. I lerve Emma Thompson’s acting and writing, and am glad for her success. She deserves every bit of it.

  96. Cletus says:

    MFL is a sad, watered down version of Pygmalion. I bet Emma will do it right.

    Also, Audrey Hepburn was cute but saccharine. I’m with Emma on this one, and punk-rock-points to her for having the balls to not only have an opinion, but to express it.

  97. CB Rawks says:

    Yeah I agree, it’s flumoxing that Ryan Seacrest even HAS a star, but you know you just have to pay for them and you get one. That’s why they seem to happen in a really unfair order of importance. Of course you also have to be famous, so I guess Seacrest got one for being overexposed generally.
    I hope that back in the day the first Walk of Fame stars were bestowed upon entertainers as a real honour, because that’s a lovely thought.

  98. Ashley says:

    say what you will emma thompson, but Audrey is one of the very few EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) recipients. Last I checked you are lacking in three of the four, so before you cast such harsh judgements on a lady you never met, I suggest you keep your piggish mouth shut…like nanny mcphe is academy acclaimed work anyways.

  99. Anj says:

    Emma is 110% right.

    Audrey was Horrible actor and every movie of her I saw she looked like a dolled up showpiece and nothing more. And MFL is to be the MOST BOOOOOOORING movie EVER made. Audrey’s singing was ridiculous.

    But Emma dear why are you remaking that horrible pygmalion/MFL . It has to be the boorish piece of literature EVER.
    Hope they change the GAY THREESOME ending of the stupid play.

  100. Shawna says:

    Audrey Hepburn was a pretty airhead. Emma’s right. Having a pig on a leash with a beer on the most iconic moment of Hollywood stardom? AWESOME.

    @Shay, Emma never said anything as vicious as calling anyone a “cow.” Does she look like a “cow” because she isn’t dressed like a Kardashian? As to Emma’s appearance, well, Hugh Laurie seems to be finding her attractive enough, and how many of us can say that?

  101. oh hey says:

    “Also, there are some icons that people kind of agree are “off limits”: Princess Diana, Jackie O, etc…”

    Princess Di and Jackie O were human beings just like any other celebrities, they certainly weren’t above criticism either, and neither is Audrey Hepburn.

    It’s funny how some of you think that an actors in the 40s through 60s are considered good just because of that era. Movies were dramatically different back then (no pun intended), but let’s face it, some of the famous ones at that time weren’t master thespians.

    If Marylin Monroe was in her prime today and working as an actress, you’d all be slamming her the same way you slam Megan Fox. Same with Audrey Hepburn, you’d probably negatively compare her to Gwenyth Paltrow or Natalie Portman.

    Emma sounded obnoxious with her comment, true, but I doubt if it was her intention to be nasty. Besides, she’s not on the Megan Fox or Taylor Momsen “ingenue” level, she’s been around awhile.

    And to add, the definition of twee: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/twee

  102. Statler says:

    To those posters who are surprised at the drubbing Emma Thompson’s been getting, I think most of it’s a subconscious reflection of a very old rule of society- that if you behave like a lady you should be treated like one. No one denies Audrey’s all-around classiness, so by her (Thompson’s) unnecessary criticism as well as the unprofessional way in which it was tendered, Emma violated the code.

    Not to say all the criticisms of ET in return have been appropriate, but I think that’s what’s going on here.

  103. maggieNZ says:

    Emma is 100% correct about Audrey. She was an style icon, a muse and an “it girl”, but she was an awful actress.

  104. grrrlgrace says:

    Emma has every right to speak her mind, and I still think she’s a fine actor. However she just COMPLETELY changed my entire view of her as a class-act. She has fallen down the ladder quite a few notches and placed herself in the “every other actress” category for me. I remember my teacher Mrs. Chapman drilling it into my head: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all…especially about one of many dead American (or other nationality) icons. I can’t think of one celebrity who didn’t have a weakness, personally or professionally. And yes, I learned that in kindergarten. It serves me well.

    PS Notice she doesn’t have the bal*s to say it about anyone who’s alive???? I can think of SEVERAL boring, overrated actresses who can’t sing and in my mind would be considred TWEE.

  105. Tristan says:

    Emma – when you yourself have done nothing more remarkable than portraying the same upper-class English housewife, I suggest you look in the mirror.

    Since I see that some of these comments are in agreement with Ms. Thompson, I’d like to inform you that the styles of acting way back in the golden age of Hollywood were less mechanical and more charisma. NOBODY cared about disguising their voice and appearance to prove the “ultimate acting job” (I’m talking to you, Meryl Streep).

    So Emma, its bad enough that you cannot repsect the dead, so keep your mouth to the third enstallment of the Nanny McPhee franchise.

  106. Wif says:

    I’m a little amused that people are accusing Emma’s actions as being classless. She has ALWAYS been classless. That’s who she is. She’s opinionated and fearless and says what she’s thinking and all of these traits make her acting choices really interesting. Just because she can play a Jane Austin heroine flawlessly doesn’t mean that she’s classy herself. She’s not. About 15 years ago she made a snarky comment about her husband’s sperm/virility to the media. Absolutely zero tact. But I love her, and I wish I could soak some of that fearlessness into myself.

    My all-time favourite movie is Roman Holiday. I thought Hepburn was so sweet in it.

  107. I Choose Me says:

    So everyone gets to come on here and air their ‘bitchy’ opinions about celebrities (who we don’t personally know) but when Emma does it she’s classless, tactless etc. Wow there’s some real hypocrisy going on in this thread. The only reason some of you are getting soooo upset about Ms. Thompson’s opinion is that it does not gel with your own. For the record I don’t agree. I think Audrey Hepburn was a damn fine actress I esp. love the Nun’s story and the Children’s Hour (thanks TCM) but I’m absolutely fine with Emma’s point of view.

  108. lourdes says:

    Opinionated & fearless does not equal classless.

  109. Gigohead says:

    Hey Emma, what happened to respecting your peers? Is the Oscars the only time you thank your fellow thespians? other than that, is it fair game?

  110. Mairead says:

    Emma was giving a critique of Audrey Hepburn’s acting style, which she was probably forced to consider more than most of us as she’s planning a remake of Pygmalion/MFL. She wasn’t condemning Hepburn’s soul to the fires of hell for all eternity, or accusing her of eating babies alive, for goodness sake!

    Audrey would have probably heard a damn sight worse from casting directors/directors/critics when she was alive.

  111. jane16 says:

    I love Emma & Audrey, & still enjoy My Fair Lady, but will no doubt watch Emmas version also. I loved what she did with Sense and Sensibility, the movie with her, Kate Winslet & Hugh Laurie. Its the only Jane Austen adaptation that I actually like better than the original novel.

  112. Liana says:

    Last I checked you are lacking in three of the four,

    Actually, she has the Oscar(s) and she has an Emmy. She SHOULD have had Wmmy awards for “Angels in America” and “Wit” as well. And she hardly plays the same role over and over. Look at her credits.

    Am I one of the few people who didn’t like “Breakfast at Tiffanys?” I liked Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina” and “Wait Until Dark.” But yes, I think in MFL, she wasn’t at her best.

  113. OC lady says:

    Ok. I had to look it up. Here’s what the untalented Ms Hepburn has managed to achieve in her pathetic life 🙂

    “She won the 1953 Academy Award for Best Actress for Roman Holiday. She was nominated for Best Actress FOUR more times; for Sabrina, The Nun’s Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Wait Until Dark. For her 1967 nomination, the Academy chose her performance in Wait Until Dark over her critically acclaimed performance in Two for the Road. She lost to Katharine Hepburn (in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner). Audrey Hepburn is one of the few people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award.”

    I’m sorry, Emma–I love you and think you are talented–but enough people have singled out Audrey Hepburn in her OWN time as talented. She might not live up to the acting standards of today, but that’s not a fair standard by which to judge her. And, I think Emma could have criticized Audrey in a much more tactful way. To say she “can’t act” at all–is a bit extreme given all that she’s managed to accomplish. I wouldn’t rank Audrey as the greatest ever, but she certainly did a variety of good roles in movies which are now considered classics. That’s something.

  114. Tess says:

    Wow. It’s just basic good manners not to speak ill of the dead.

    Audrey had class and kindness and generosity of spirit.

    Emma just outed herself as having none of the above. And it was so bloody unneccessary to say it.

  115. Emily says:

    I don’t think there’s anything between her and Laurie anymore. But I’m going to reserve judgement until the second volume of Stephen Fry’s autobiography comes out-he’s known them simce they were at Cambridge together, and if there’s anything going on, he’ll know about it!

  116. CB Rawks says:

    Ohmigod, remember that awesome episode of The Young Ones that Emma and Stephen Fry were in, “University Challenge”?! They played really obnoxious rich students, and Emma presses the buzzer to answer a question and just says “I’ve got a porsche!”

  117. Gia says:

    Aaah, but she didn’t have the fearless courage to pick on someone alive, did she? I’d love to have seen her call someone with a pulse TWEE.

    I think she’s an amazing actress and that she has every, every right to speak her mind…yet I do think this comment was CLASSLESS, not gutsy or bold.

  118. Buddha DeCat says:

    Audrey Hepburn sings “Moon River” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s — yes, she could sing, but she didn’t have as great of a voice as Marni Nixon’s, which is why the studio probably decided to dub her.
    Furthermore, she is a very good actress — I’ve seen every film she’s done from Roman Holiday (one of my favs) to My Fair Lady & Sabrina. She is always lovely to watch & had a real star quality — when she is on the screen, you can’t take your eyes off of her. The vastly overrated and, let’s be honest, plain jane Carey Mulligan cannot hold a candle to Audrey. I too can’t believe Emma would make such petty comments about her.
    Furthermore, Audrey Hepburn worked tirelessly for UNICEF in her later years — she wasn’t just charming & sweet, she put her money were her mouth was — which is the OPPOSITE of of “twee.”

  119. trashaddict says:

    Please, under no circumstances should one compare Audrey to the Goop. Audrey was not condescending, could act better, and could carry off clothes better. Her UN work was great. I think My Fair Lady is tepid, not because Rex Harrison or Audrey Hepburn were necessarily bad actors, but because the two of them just did not have any personal chemistry. That’s a matter of casting, not acting. Not to mention that Marni Nixon’s singing is technically good but just seems to lack any personality. If you don’t think Audrey Hepburn can act, watch the last scene in Roman Holiday. I find her a little more endearing for the fact that she is not Ms. Perfect Shakespearean-trained actor with a capital “A”.

  120. Buddha DeCat says:

    PS — to those defending Emma — no one is saying she isn’t entitled to her opinion, so lay off that red herring of a defense. Emma is entitled to her opinion about Audrey AND WE ARE ENTITLED TO OURS ABOUT EMMA!!!

  121. dondong says:

    I could ‘ave dunced all night/
    ‘Earing Emma’s slight/
    So RI _ GHT…

    add Grace Kelly/it’s true/pretty but stiff/one dimensional too/Gary Cooper was a trooper/
    but SUPER baaaaa _ aaaaad….


  122. ch says:

    oh c mon
    its not the most difficult job in the world
    they just memorize lines, making faces
    this is Audrey Hepburn acting method: now sad! now pretty! now happy! now cry! now tweed!
    At least Thompson writes and produces a little.
    But they are not that interesting, for gods sake.

  123. k says:

    Hepburn was great in Two for the Road.

  124. poopie says:

    what about actors who don’t do their own STUNTS? let’s call them out too EMMA

  125. oh hey says:

    I wonder if all the posters clutching their pearls about not speaking ill of the dead show the dame courtesy when Lindsey Lohan dies.

  126. oh hey says:

    “Emma is entitled to her opinion about Audrey AND WE ARE ENTITLED TO OURS ABOUT EMMA!!!”

    That may well be, but posters shouldn’t say she’s “classless” when they’re equally as “classless” in their own statements. Just because you’re posting anonymously on a blog doesn’t give one a pass.

  127. e says:

    My grandmother is British and she never got over the fact that they didn’t cast Julie Andrews in the film version. I think that is one of the main reasons she never liked Hepburn much. The film version is very different from the play (this is pretty typical of Hollywood). I think in the play she marries Freddie.

    And they dub over people all the time. They did it to Natalie Wood in West Side Story. Even if the actresses are good singers they rarely have the range required for these sorts of musicals.

  128. Ashley says:

    I agree, its not like in twenty years time we will be purchasing Emma Thompson box sets…unless you count a Nanny McPhee trilogy, which does not count.
    Movies were better then, it was a nicer, sweeter time, and I’m sorry, but her redoing MFL is no different than the bullshit happening now with people rewriting Clash of the Titans, or the Karate Kid.
    There is not an original bone left in the bodies of writers nowadays and it is sad.
    So pick on my post all you wish, and call me classless on my defense of Audrey Hepburn, but I still don’t like you Emma Thompson, at all, and I think you are a pice of shit actress as well, and I won’t hide it behind the word TWEE.

  129. Juice in LA says:

    Well, to stem the diappointment I am reading this critique as applying to Audrey only in her role of Eliza Doolittle..because it in deed can be read that way.

    Otherwise Emma is spot on with her critique of the My Fair Lady story…and I adore her.

    If only she could get Tim Burton to direct….

  130. Renee says:

    It’s astonishing how defensive of Audrey Hepburn people can get.

    Personally, I love that Emma Thompson has a mind of her own and is unequivocal in voicing it. Naturally, it doesn’t hurt that I agree, utterly, aobut Hepburn’s acting and screen presence. Twee is an excellent word for it.

  131. Fae says:

    Depressing that a lot of you seem to have not seen any more of Emma’s work than the Nanny McPhee movies- a set of movies she wrote the screenplays for, produced and acted in exclusively for children. Children, you know, those tiny people who don’t really go in for thought provoking intellectual performances? I could judge Johnny Depp purely on the abysmal Charlie and the Chocolate factory if I so desired, but luckily for him I don’t.

    I’m sure if I was an actress I’d expect the adults critiquing me (as you are) to have seen the work more tailored towards their age group. Wit, for example.

  132. Jaycee says:

    Emma Thompson looks good “for her” ???
    She looks great, period.
    A lucky girl, her husband Greg Wise is gorgeous and Hugh’s smitten too!

  133. suzy says:

    I can’t remember a role with Emma T in it. Everyone says she’s a good actress but I can’t seem to recall a memorabe role. Audrey H will aways be remembered for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Who is to say one actress is better than another. If one actress makes a role memorabe isn’t she a good actress. Acting is subjective and I am surprised Emma T stooped so low as to bad mouth a dead actress. It wasn’t Audrey acting that Emma was critical off but rather of who she was as a person and that is just low. By the by, Emma T’s acting doesn’t even come close to that of Meryl Streep’s. Compared to Streep Emma seems a wee bit Twee.

  134. Charles Bayar says:

    Emerson said it (in Fable, says the squirrel to the mountain): “Talents differ: All is well and wisely put. If I cannot carry forests on my back, neither can you crack a nut.” Maybe Audrey didn’t have Emma’s acting ability (but see Two for the Road, Robin & Marian, etc.), but Emma’s whole body doesn’t have the charm & charisma of Audrey’s neck. Consider how many modern actresses have tried to emulate/re-make Audrey; no one comes close. I doubt that Emma can dance like Audrey (who had ballet training) & I’d give a nickel to know whether Emma can sing. BTW, Emma’s desire to re-write MFL isn’t a fair knock on Audrey. Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Lowe wrote MFL in the mid-50’s for the London/Broadway musical theatre, and they thought that to be successful they had to turn Shaw’s Pygmalion into a love story with a happy ending. Today, perhaps Emma’s right that there’s an audience for an MFL that is truer to the Shaw play. Talents differ — and so do Times.

  135. Ralls says:

    Marni Nixon sang in “My Fair Lady”. It was dubbed, and Emma is dumb for not knowing!

  136. bnmbjh says:

    {MY”DIS”CO”UNT”BAG} ” se-l-ls lv ha-nd ba-gs,c-ha ne1,g-u c-c i,come on

  137. Rachel says:

    For real, Emma Thompson has no room to say that. Audrey Hepburn is one of the best actresses that ever lived. She did so much for the world including a lot of volunteer and charity work. Plus, her movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s changed the way the whole world viewed women. Emma Thompson should not be saying ANYTHING about Audrey, because no one even knows who Emma is, let alone watches any of her movies. Emma doesn’t deserve a star. She is horrible

  138. mewsette says:

    i am the biggest fan of emma thompson, she’s very cleaver, indeed, maybe the most intelligent lady in hollywood nowadays. well, meryl’s got talent, jessica lange is wonderful etc. i don’t know why mrs thompson said that…i really think that is for publicity, and the invitation of mister hugh too-hope he’s going to be higgins!. all is just for marketing, the image of audrey and marilyn was just comercial thing. marilyn and audrey were very talented in a sort of way. both could sing, dance, and do acting in their unique way. is not elegant to say that about audrey, but is honest, or is just for publicity…i think julie andrews was very talented, she was a perfect singer, she got the oscar, but audrey was more popular, was more appropriate for the role- i mean, eliza. her face, her attitude, and all:”just to wait, mr. higgins”. i don’t speak english and is hard to explain what i think. julie was a princess in misery and an ordinary girl in elegant clothes, but audrey was perfect. but, audrey couldn’t be victor, victoria, she couldn’t do the sound of music etc. but audrey was perfect on screen( not in the play) for eliza, even rex didn’t like the new colleague.
    maggie gyllenhall doesn’t have charme/charma , she’s not charming at all, in my opinion. carey mulligan doesn’t have the sparkle, please,emma , put someone else in the role of eliza, the movie will be a fiasco!! i love emma ,she’s brave and strong, she’s a perfect mother and writer, i love audrey, and ladies, pls be with respect for both. good luck , emma, and pls. say audrey she was wonderfull, it’s not good for you to say bad things.that was another epoque, not in our days. audray said she’s ashamed of that role, ingrid was ashamed of casablanca too, but people loves them. well. talent is not icon, but are important both. audray had blue blood and was very modest, not arogant.emma is brittish, she’s like bronte sisters, hope she’s going to be ‘dame’. sorry for my english, i don’t know to write, god bless you in this crazy world:)
    again, pls. excuse my poor english.
    love hollywood, love london:)

  139. als says:

    i’m more worried about what’s going to happen to ‘pygmalion’ than about thompson’s standardly-bitchy remarks…
    i’m pretty sure all the turn-of-century finesse & effortless charm of shaw’s play will be flushed down in a dreadfully drab & hopelessly ‘serious’ feminist adaptation that will spell ‘farewell’ to the esprit du temps!
    and carey mulligan as eliza?! you must be kidding – ok, she DOES look working-class, but she’ll never be convincing as a ‘lady’… just the opposite of audrey!
    it’s like getting cameron diaz to play marilyn 🙂

  140. Audrey Hepburn played opposite with the best of her time including Gregory Peck, William Holden, Humphry
    Bogart, Burt Lancaster, George Peppard, Albert Finny, Fred Astair and Sean Connery to name a few. All of them are household names and most have won oscars. Would they risk their reputations playing opposite someone they didn’t think could act? I don’t think so. Who has Ms Thompson played opposite to? As for Hepburn being “a guy thing” I notice Thompson likes taking that pet pig with her all the time. Gee, does that mean she has a “swine thing”? She wouldn’t be exploiting that poor animal would she? Boy, wait till P.E.T.A. hears about this.

  141. Aleasha says:

    Audrey Hepburn was a beautiful person and would have never scooped so low as to insult a fellow film star. It’s really disappointing that Thompson felt it necessary to publicly bash a film iconic star. Audrey Hepburn had class in her roles and in real life. Hollywood lacks the class that she did.

  142. Michaela says:

    Whew! I’m surprised by Emma Thompson’s catty and gratuitous remarks about Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn’s acting ability aside (I happen to be a fan), Thompson’s remarks show a woeful lack of tact and good judgment. I don’t think AH would ever have made such comments about her fellow actors.

  143. While I’m an admiring fan of Audrey Hepburn I have to take exception to the comment that Julie Andrews got her oscar do to a pity vote. Hepburn wasn’t nominated because in My Fair Lady the principle charactor (Eliza) had to sing 6 different songs which made singing an essential part of the charactor. Ms Hepburn herself was among the first to admit that she didn’t earn an oscar nomination. It was well known at the time that Jack Warner had chosen Hepburn over Andrews for the part because Hepburn was more internationally known and Warner Bros was at the time financially flat on it’s back. If the film was a flop they would have been in real trouble. Hepburn had told Andrews “You should have gotten the part Julie. I just didn’t have the guts to turn it down”. Andrews and Hepburn did in fact compete for best actress in Golden Globe that year and Andrews won. If the AA voters thought that Warner had snubbed Andrews would they have turned around and voted him an oscar for best picture? It doesn’t make sense. In any event both Hepburn and Andrews had a lot of class and there are plenty of actors today (ET?) who could take a page out of their book.

  144. Miss.Cherry94 says:

    OMG I so do not agree with Emma T’s comment, How can you say such a thing . A REAL actress would never judge an other actor, every actor has there own way of acting!
    I thought nothing about you before, but now I have a very negative view on you!
    I hope the new “my fair lady” won’t be a success. I find it dediculous to re-do films.

  145. I can remember when My Fair Lady came out. At the time the gossips were trying surmise that there was a Fontaine/De haveland or Davis/Crawford type of fued between Andrews and Hepburn. What they got was two ladies with a lot of class who attended each others premiers and became friends. It was nice to know that the wags for once had to go home and bang their own heads against the wall.

  146. oia says:

    maybe she should watch the nun story charade two the road and wait untill dark then to see that audrey was a really great actress

  147. cindy says:

    Please please please sign Hugh Grant as henry higgins. No one could be more right and you can get a great performance out of him. I would love love love the remake I just know it!

  148. KiltedSavage says:

    Wow, I used to enjoy Thompson’s work but after reading this, it’s clear she’s a jealous hack who has to bad mouth others to make herself feel good. Hey Emma? I’ll put Hepburn’s work over your Nanny McPhee any day. She was class and an amazing actress while you’re a pathetic twat that rode her ex husband’s talent to finally break into Hollywood.

    How very very sad seeing so much envy but again, Nanny McPhee vs. Audry should cause her to tinkle in her granny panties.