Emma Thompson: Audrey Hepburn can’t act

By Alexandra Heilbron on August 9, 2010 | 13 Comments

Emma Thompson, whose new film Nanny McPhee Returns opens next week, Thompson is writing the screenplay for a remake of My Fair Lady. Oscar-winning actress Audrey Hepburn starred in the original as Eliza Doolittle. Thompson, who plans to give the story a feminist twist, told British newspaper The Telegraph that Hepburn, who was nominated for five Oscars in total, including for her performance in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, essentially had no talent. “I was thrilled to be asked to do it because, having a look at it, I thought that there needs to be a new version. I’m not hugely fond of the film. I find Audrey Hepburn fantastically twee,” Thompson said. “Twee is whimsy without wit. It’s mimsy-mumsy sweetness without any kind of bite. And that’s not for me. She can’t sing and she can’t really act, I’m afraid. I’m sure she was a delightful woman — and perhaps if I had known her I would have enjoyed her acting more, but I don’t and I didn’t, so that’s all there is to it, really.” She added, “It was Cecil Beaton’s designs and Rex Harrison that gave [the original film] its extraordinary quality. I don’t do Audrey Hepburn. I think that she’s a guy thing… It’s high time that the extraordinary role of Eliza was reinterpreted, because it’s a very fantastic part for a woman.”

Comments & Discussion

  1. Linda • August 9, 2010 @ 12:35 PM

    I am disappointed with her comments as I loved Audrey Hepburn but I must admit I did not like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Emma might have to eat her own words if the re-make doesn’t do well.

  2. Amanda • August 9, 2010 @ 2:12 PM

    Nasty. How did Audrey get so many nominations if she couldn’t act? Huh?

  3. Jo-Anne • August 9, 2010 @ 2:33 PM

    I find emma dull, homely and quite mannified, and can now add arrogance to the list….she’s Nanny McPhee, laa-dee-da uppity warts and all…

  4. Kim • August 9, 2010 @ 3:30 PM

    These are the kinds of opinions that she should either keep to herself or, quietly tell her equally bitchy friends (who are also jealous of Hepburn’s talent and beauty) in private, not to a newspaper. And yeah, I mean, Nanny McPhee? And has anyone seen her outrageous overacting in the Harry Potter movies? She’s embarrassing.

  5. Frank • August 9, 2010 @ 3:48 PM

    Emma, should look in the mirror.
    I honestly believe, Emma is extremely insecure, and needs to put others “down” in order to feel good about herself.
    Emma, take a good look at Audrey, she is extremely beautiful. You on the other hand can only dream about being as beautiful and talented as her.

  6. Ally • August 9, 2010 @ 8:32 PM

    I can’t beleive she said that. Audrey Hepburn is a screen legend. And Emma Thompson is known for being the ugly Nanny Mcphee, which they were boring as hell! Im sure Emma would say the same thing about Ann Margaret too, or Sophia Loren if she got the chance! She needs to keep these jealous comments to herself. And she knows Audrey Hepburn is better than her, she wouldn’t have been nominated for 5 oscars and won an oscar if she had no talent. Because you can’t win an oscar for being beautiful! You need to learn how to respect the talented screen legends, which you obviously never will be Emma!

  7. elen • August 9, 2010 @ 9:20 PM

    oh boy, she should not have said anything about these actresses. She should have just kept it to herself!! Now she is in big trouble. I never knew her except Harry Potter teacher! lol OH she played in Nanny Mcphee too? I thought one lucky granny played in it!! oh dear

  8. Anabel • August 9, 2010 @ 11:46 PM

    oops!big mouthed woman or man????

  9. Victor • August 10, 2010 @ 2:20 AM

    Wow, I can’t believe she would speak of bad things about someone who’s deceased. If it weren’t for countless women like Audrey Hepburn acting back in those days, women wouldn’t have much of a place in cinema, let alone acting.

  10. Dave • August 10, 2010 @ 9:38 AM

    Whether Emma is right or wrong in her opinion I don’t know. That being said I think she has the right to her opinion as well as the right to speak it publicly. We do it all the time on these forums speaking our opinions about movies, actors/actresses, etc. Just because she is in the public eye does not, IMO, waive her right to a voice. 🙂

  11. Jo-Anne • August 10, 2010 @ 2:58 PM

    i think that’s a moot point, Dave….she has a right, I have a right, you have a right, everyone here has a right to our opinion….

    people are reacting to her comment, horrified she would voice such an opinion and it would be incredibly naive to not expect these kind of results…

    so, keep on talking, Emma and watch your public popularity (??) keep on nose-diving…

  12. Snepts • February 6, 2019 @ 6:30 AM

    What a stupid thing for Thompson to say.

  13. CALVIN • February 8, 2019 @ 9:55 AM


    AUDREY remains one of only (15) people who have ever won Academy, Emmy, Grammy

    AUDREY devoted much of her later life to UNICEF. She had contributed to the organisation since 1954, then worked in some of the poorest communities of Africa, South America & Asia between 1988 & 1992. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in December 1992.

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