NYMag‘s culture-blog Vulture has an interview with a much more attractive self-promoter than Tod Kincannon, channeling a woman whose genius rose beyond the limits of her circumstances:
If you want to know how Emma Thompson came about writing her new series of authorized Peter Rabbit sequels, based on the Beatrix Potter series, well, it’s simple: The rabbit asked her to do it. “Do you know: I got a little box, and inside it there was a letter … from Peter Rabbit!” she said, emphatically. The two-time Oscar winner, clad in a billowy white dress printed with black leaves, was standing in front of an audience of squirming children and their rapt parents in the kids section of Barnes & Noble Tribeca, about to read from her latest book, The Spectacular Tale of Peter Rabbit. “And do you know what he sent? I have to show you this … ”…
“I don’t write for children,” said Thompson when Vulture spoke with her at the bookstore before the reading, squatting on miniature wooden chairs in a corner of the kids’ section. “I just write for myself, really, I suppose, to make sure that I’m pleased by it. Perhaps you’re writing for the child inside you, or whatever it is. It’s a curious thing, because it’s got to be something that you can relate to. It’s not like I’m writing something for these other people that are different than me. So yes, the language is perhaps crafted in a slightly different way and you’re not including themes that will be too disturbing … although you can also not afford to shy away from the darkness, and Beatrix Potter never did. Children know perfectly well that life’s very difficult, sometimes.”.
Thompson came about her love of children, and her love of children’s books, honestly: Her father was the writer and narrator for the popular British children’s TV show The Magic Roundabout, and she grew up with the sense that children were fundamentally no different than adults — which might be why some of Thompson’s most iconic roles, at least in recent years, have been in films for young people. “I heard [my father] talk to children in the same way as he would talk to some of his adult friends,” she explained. Like many English children, Thompson grew up reading Alice in Wonderland and The Wind in the Willows, but was captivated particularly by the intricate woodland world of Beatrix Potter. “I daresay it’s what captivated everybody: It’s that combination of the language and the art,” she said of Potter’s work. “I mean, this woman was a genius and would of course, had she been allowed, been a scientist,” she said. “I think there’s a great deal in those stories that we’re not aware of, particularly because it’s buried, but it’s like Einstein writing a children’s book. You just go, I wonder what that would be like. It’s layered and profound. And it’s sort of informed by a very fine brain.”…
I will also take this opportunity to recommend the movie Miss Potter, if you haven’t already seen it.
Apart from rising above the small-minded and venal, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?