On The Box What to watch
she’s won two oscars and starred in films such as Howards End and Nanny Mcphee. now Emma Thompson stars in a modern BBC2 adaptation of King Lear. She tells us about playing Lear’s daughter goneril and what it’s like to work with anthony Hopkins again…
you’ve done Shakespeare on film before, but why were you keen to be involved in this TV adaptation? Because of anthony hopkins. it was a no brainer, – i was made up to be asked.
It’s not the first time you’ve worked with anthony, who plays King Lear. was it nice to be together again? it was joyful! We first did Howards End when we were quite young, so this time, with him nearly 80 and me nearly 60, we were fearless. it was a good creative place to be.
what’s he like to work with? he’s miraculous! even in rehearsal when he did his speeches he gave it full blast!
Tell us a little bit about King Lear… it’s a tragic mess from the beginning, really. even though it starts in a fairytale way – once upon a time there was an old king who had three daughters – you know things are going to go wrong.
goneril is a bit of a villain, isn’t she? i had great sympathy for her. she’s had a difficult childhood and her father is locked in a power structure that makes it impossible for him to show his feelings.
She still gets to vent her fury, though… Yes, and it’s great to play all that rage!
✱ King Lear is on BBC2
anthony hopkins plays king lear, father to emma thompson’s goneril