Extracts from Emma Thompson’s diaries while shooting Sense and Sensibility, from ‘The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries,’ a rather wonderful book I just happened to find - in English - at the back of a second-hand shop near Rorschach.
Okay I know it’s possibly my favourite book and movie ever but still…
TUESDAY 18 APRIL: We discussed the ‘novelisation’ question. This is where the studio pay someone to novelise my script and sell it as Sense and Sensibility. I’ve said if this happens I will hang myself. Beyond revolting.
Lindsay said that the executive she had discussed it with had said ‘as a human being I agree with you - but …’ I laughed until my porridge was cool enough to swallow.
WEDNESDAY 19 APRIL: Paparazzi arrived for Hugh [Grant]. We had to stand under a tree and smile for them.
Photographer: ‘Hugh, could you look less - um - ‘
MONDAY 1 MAY: Incipient thrush, me. Luckily Kate [Winslet] had some live goat’s yoghurt which I’ve applied with middling resuts. Ang [Lee] told us about his early sex life today. ‘So painful,’ he said, then laughed a lot.
SATURDAY 13 MAY: Overheard later:
Kate: ‘Oh God, my knickers have gone up my arse.’
Alan [Rickman]: ‘Ah. Feminine mystique strikes again.’
SUNDAY 14 MAY: The party on Saturday was wild. Everyone fell on the opportunity to let go and was drunk before having drunk anything. Alan nearly killed me, whirling me about the place. Everyone was under the table by midnight except Greg [Wise], who was on the ceiling.
Home at 3.30 am in a taxi, arseholed. I stumbled into my bedroom where Harriet Walter (who’d come down specially and was sharing my room) was already asleep. She sat bolt upright.
‘Help me!’ I wailed.
‘Oh, God,’ she said. ‘Why don’t you try throwing up?’
A good line in that cut-glass accent, I thought, even as I threw myself at the loo bowl.
TUESDAY 16 MAY: This was the day a very sodden Greg bounded up to Alan and asked, with all his usual ebullience, how he was. Long pause as Alan surveyed him through half-closed eyes from beneath a huge golfing umbrella. Then - ‘I’m dry.’ Sometimes Alan reminds me of the owl in Beatrix Potter’s Squirrel Nutkin. If you took too many liberties with him I’m sure he’d have your tail off in a trice.
10.20 pm In bed with a herbal cushion from Kate. She fainted at 6pm - so cold, so wet for so long. Alan found Ang sitting on a box, his head low, his fists clenched.
‘I tortured her,’ he moaned.
‘Don’t worry,’ said Alan. ‘You’ll have the opportunity to do it to me soon.’
SATURDAY 3 JUNE: Very nice lady served us drinks in hotel and was followed in by a cat. We all crooned at it. Alan to cat (very low and meaning it): ‘Fuck off.’ The nice lady didn’t turn a hair. The cat looked slightly embarrassed but stayed.
SATURDAY 17 JUNE: Weather dull and we’re all a trifle confused because the scene numbers keep changing. Hugh [Laurie] and Greg are playing the blues on their guitars.
Raining, of course, so I am doing bastard close-ups on camera with the hangover from hell. Fine but weary and giggly. Later in my trailer, the boys are in to watch the rugby - wild with excitement and very apologetic. South Africa v. France. Apparently it’s very important. Telly dodgy so Hugh has to hold it above his head at a 45-degree angle. They take turns to watch and yell. Tremendous business, sport. I wish I could get that worked up about it. Do you have to grow up with it? The boys’ faces lit up with pleasure and excitement, it’s really very inspiring, she said, sounding a hundred and four.
TUESDAY 20 JUNE: Alan was very moving. He’s played Machiavellian types so effectively that it’s a thrill to see him expose the extraordinary sweetness in his nature. Sad, vulnerable but weighty presence.
THURSDAY 22 JUNE: Noon. Finish scene with Alan.
Me: ‘Oh! I’ve just ovulated.’
Alan (long pause): ‘Thank you for that.’