Emma Thompson Discusses “Alone in Berlin”, Politics, and More!

Whether she is working on a new film or campaigning for human rights, Emma Thompson is someone who loves getting out of her comfort zone!

Having won several prestigious awards for her portrayals of characters in Howard’s End and Sense and Sensibility, Thompson has certainly established a respectable acting career. While Potterheads mainly know her as the strange but sweet Professor Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter films, Thompson can also be found playing Anna Quangel in Alone in Berlin.

Set in the Second World War with characters that play significant roles in opposing the Nazi regime, Vincent Pérez’s movie adaptation finds nothing but praise from Thompson.

Sometimes, something comes along that has really a great depth and breadth of purpose. Those are the jobs that you live for as an artist. This was one of those.

Although the movie begins with loss and sadness for Thompson, it later illustrates the journey of resistance. Sound familiar?

I’ve never done it before, to have to make a huge emotional statement right at the beginning of the film.

When I got the script, I thought, ‘Bloody hell – the first time we see this woman, we don’t know anything about her. How am I going to do that?’ I had no idea until I tried it. But it was quite a challenge.

Having endured much of the Second World War during her childhood, Thompson reflects on how the movies she saw brainwashed her due to propaganda.

My grandfather had fought in both [world] wars. My parents were deeply affected by being evacuated. All of these stories I heard all the time. So the war was very much a part of my childhood.

Thompson’s interest in politics later developed after she made it to Cambridge and met Hugh Laurie and UK Harry Potter audiobook narrator Stephen Fry. However, she also displays a significant concern for climate change, having traveled twice to the Arctic with Greenpeace and her family.

You really need to find out how many billions are spent on the lies that people are telling you about the climate. It’s terrifying. Really, really terrifying. So I went to see for myself and that was amazing… you get a much more visceral understanding of what global warming actually means.

Despite her fears, Thompson proves to be a caring and compassionate human being through her efforts on developing a film about the Arctic 30, which is based on the struggles faced by Greenpeace activists for protesting drilling in the Arctic region.

Thompson is also adamant on remaining optimistic about the world – a choice that arguably shows her true character despite current global issues that reinforce the notion of deciding between “what is right and what is easy.”

I think really it’s in the service of trying to live longer. I think optimists are scientifically proven to live longer, so I’ve chosen optimism really as part of my health regime.

Have you watched Alone in Berlin? If so, what did you think of Thompson’s performance in the film? Let us know in the comments below.

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