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Emma Thompson: 'Audrey Hepburn couldn't act'

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Classic Viewer this thread was not about pitting Emma Thompson's against Audrey Hepburn (or Emma Thompson's version of My Fair Lady against George Cukor's).

 

It is about Emma Thompson putting down Audrey Hepburn. And it seems she wasn't just putting her down for her role in My Fair Lady but as an actor in general.

 

And while I don't necessarily think My Fair Lady has to be remade, I like Emma Thompson's work so I am interested in what she will bring to the story. I didn't think she needed to put down Audrey Hepburn though.

 

Edited by: Kinokima on Aug 10, 2010 2:22 PM

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As a fan of Audrey, and of Ms. Thompson, I don't take exception to this. Audrey had an almost mystical beauty, and a personality that exploded in front of you. If ever there was a star whose presence ignited the screen...She was a credible actress, adapting the role to her persona rather than the other way around. She was entertaining. Was she the multi-faceted thespian Thompson is? No. Is that the point of this discussion? You tell me. I'm still working on Lincoln and Patton!

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=johnm_001 wrote:}{quote}

> >

> > I took it to mean, have an actress who can both act and sing the role, this time.

> >

>

> Sounds great to me!

>

> opera-singer.jpg

 

Is she doing the Thompson film? LOL

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> {quote:title=johnm_001 wrote:}{quote}

> Is she doing the Thompson film? LOL

 

Yes, that's her. Great singer and a great actress.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=johnm_001 wrote:}{quote}

> > Is she doing the Thompson film? LOL

>

> Yes, that's her. Great singer and a great actress.

 

And her Embassy Ball gown will be memorable!

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You are correct. Casting Audrey had nothing to do with Julie not getting the role. People may have known who Julie was, but she was an unknown commodity in films. Jack Warner wanted one star in the lead to assure box office (after paying a hefty fee for the rights) and sinking a ton of money into what was going to be an expensive production. (wasnt it 18 million in '64 dollars?) When they decided to go with Harrison (after Cary Grant and Peter O'Toole took a pass), Julie was out of the running. I remember in an interview Audrey did with Barbara Walters she said she felt Julie should have done the role, but if she turned down the role, they were going to give it to another actress, so she accepted. She didnt say who the actress was, but I assume it was Elizabeth Taylor.

 

 

You are also right about the dubbing, although they didnt promise Audrey they would use her voice, they let her believe until the very last minute they would (after singing lessons and recording the whole soundtrack) I think dubbing her was a mistake, but it was standard practice back in those days and Harrison was no singer either......

 

Edited by: Hibi on Aug 10, 2010 3:14 PM

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Of course she is . . . Free to be stupidly arrogant and careless to the point of simply alienating herself from millions of people who will remember Audrey and everything that was worthwhile to a career that for Thompson will take a very, very long way to achieving.

 

Only thing is does Thompson really care what people like you would say in return to her comments about Hepburn. I do not think she would care.

 

As far as I am concerned, it is refreshing to see someone in today's world of entertainment taking the stand Thompson has taken. Most people in the public spotlight tend to shy away from making brash statements like Thompson did.

 

Must be the fact that she is from Britain has something to do with it.

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Boy, sounds like someone has an axe to grind.

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Emma, Emma, Emma, what WAS the point of putting down Audrey Hepburn??? To get attention to your project I guess. Seems a distinctly unclassy way to do it, reflects badly on you.

 

I enjoy Emma, sort of. She can be annoying with her big-eyed stare when "listening" to another actor. Also, Emma whispered all her lines in S&S which was bothersome to the nth! That said, she's a heck of an interview because of her massive intelligence and wit.

 

Audrey - one of a kind. Never was one like her, ever. Yeah she was miscast in MFL, but she tried her best and I think the strain of doing that movie unfortunately showed on her face and body. She seemed thinner than usual to the point of almost looking gaunt.

 

Audrey will always hold a place in my heart for her performance as Sister Luke.

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AGREE. She didnt have to trash Audrey to make her point. I really think less of her now. Smug and arrogant......

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Would she say that if Audrey was alive? I dont have an axe to grind. I've seen many of Emma's movies. But I'll think twice before I pay to see another one. Will HER version be an audience favorite? We'll see............I wont be paying money to see it. I might watch it if it's on tv.......

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Once saw Thompson In *Sense and Sensiblity* on a plane ride. Kept falling asleep--but Thompson was still up there on the screen when I woke up. Must have been a nightmare. She wouldn't go away.

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I adore Sense and Sensibility, and to me is the best Austen film, and I think Emma is a brilliant actress, but I must say Audrey is better, and as someone who is still popular and a cultural icon, I see no reason for Emma to put her down in public. Sheesh!

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Not to be forgotten also--Audrey was one of Astaire's most accomplished dance partners.

 

Edited by: cujas on Aug 10, 2010 5:05 PM

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Re--Singing in *My Fair Lady*. Let's remember that both Andrews and Harrison originated these roles on Broadway. Andrews role called for a soprano of several octaves and Harrison's called for a literate acting voice. Don't confuse the two.

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First thing I was taught about being American: "This is the land of free speech. I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to make an **** out of yourself by saying it."

 

I have seen several movies listed for Emma Thompson. I found them nice. I would not recognize picture of her. She is obviously competent actress and perhaps celebrity.

 

As Hibi said Audrey was actress and star.

 

The difference is very large.

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I'm NOT. So you're saying Higgins songs cant really be sung by someone with a voice?

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Of course They can be sung if you wanted to, Andy Williams had a perfectly fine albun of the music--But for the sole purpose of the musical they're not meant to be sung but spoken with music--like a poem. Higgins isn't a singing role--Haven't you noticed.

 

Edited by: cujas on Aug 10, 2010 5:53 PM

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Alright, now I will be fair and say that Julie Andrews, who created the role on stage, would have probably done a better job- she was a trained soprano, and I adore her.

But I LOVE Audrey Hepburn too. And I'm not the only one.

Though Audrey might not have done her own singing, she was charming in the role of Eliza Doolittle, and the 1960's film "My Fair Lady" is a CLASSIC and should be respected as one.

 

Emma Thompson, I love your Sense and Sensibility screenplay, but even if your new My Fair Lady screenplay is amazing, and even if i love that too, i still believe that Audrey did amazing with what character she was given. Keep in mind that she herself knew Julie Andrews deserved the film part and declined the role at first, but then after she found out Warner didn't want Andrews and offered the role to other famous actresses, she then took the part-Which just goes to show you that Audrey was a fair and square kind of girl=)

 

Peace, Zani

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Remember when Elizabeth Hurley called Marilyn Monroe fat, or something like that?

 

That caused a lot of commotion as well. Is this just more British snobbery towards Hollywood legends?

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> {quote:title=Hibi wrote:}{quote}

> Are you kidding. Emma Thompson a screen legend???? ****. She's a good actress, yes. She's not in Audrey's league and never will be..............I find her catty comments very beneath someone like her. I can understand not liking Audrey in MFL but saying she cant act is ridiculous. NOT a class act, which Audrey was in every respect...........

 

As far as acting ability, I'd say that Audrey wasn't in Emma's league.Fxreyman made a reasonable comparative list of their better films, which I think demonstrates that. Of course Audrey was a 'star,' a product of the old Hollywood studio system, which Emma can never be. As to "screen legend," only time will tell. But, I'd bet that in 50 years, Emma is better known, and more well regarded than Audrey.

 

Now, to the meat of this ornery cat fight. It would be helpful if someone could find a transcript of the entire interview. From my reading of the few short quotes linked in the original post, Emma's comments seemed more aimed at Audrey's performance in that particular film. And it seems that lots of people, now and in the past, agree with her. I don't think it was wrong of Emma to express her opinion. As to how tactful she was, we can't really tell from a few snippets of an interview that was obviously edited and presented in a manner designed to gin up controversy.

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Emma Thompson might be a good actress and writer but I highly doubt she will ever reach the status of Audrey Hepburn.

 

And for the record it isn't just Audrey Hepburn's fans who think what Emma Thompson said was complete nonsense but people who worked with Audrey. Here is a great piece by Frederic Raphael who wrote the screenplay for Two for the Road (and also won an Oscar for it).

 

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/7935455/Why-Audrey-Hepburn-was-a-real-star.html

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As I pointed out, we only have a few little snippets of what Emma said, so we don't know exactly what she really said.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> As I pointed out, we only have a few little snippets of what Emma said, so we don't know exactly what she really said.

 

Sorry we have a whole lot of what she said.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1300986/Audrey-Hepburn-twee-mumsy-really-act-Emma-Thompsons-scathing-appraisal-My-Fair-Lady-star.html

 

I don't think we are missing anything here! And if we are let Emma Thompson speak up for herself. This is not the first time she has made controversial remarks.

 

Edited by: Kinokima on Aug 10, 2010 7:19 PM

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