We met actress and author Emma Thompson when she was at her book publishers office in Manhattan recently. She wrote her third book, "The Spectacular Tale of Peter Rabbit." We loved meeting her and her book is so much fun.
Have you always wanted to be an actress?
No. No, I didn't know what I wanted to be. My sister did. I have a younger sister and she always knew. I liked reading books. When I was your age I liked reading . . . I didn't start acting until I was 27. I've always written things, but I never thought I would earn my living writing. So it was all rather unexpected. I like that.
Why did you decide to bring Peter Rabbit and your stories to children of the 21st century after he was brought to life in 1902 by Beatrix Potter?
I thought they were right when they wrote me that letter saying, "Would you like to go on another adventure?" He's such a fantastic character. If you could get it right and make it not sound silly, or not sound like you're trying to be Beatrix Potter, but also not sounding like you're trying to be not her. She was so brilliant, but I think it took me and Eleanor Taylor, the lady who does the drawings, that's two of us, it takes two of us to make a sort of book that's even a tiny bit good enough to hold onto the skirts of that wonderful Beatrix Potter book.
What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I have two favorite things, reading and cooking. I can't do them simultaneously obviously. I love cooking. I really do love cooking and I find it very relaxing and I like finding a recipe and give that a go. And if I'm reading, I go to bed early because if I'm just sitting in the house reading, someone could easily say to me, "Could you do this?" or "Mom could you do this?" So I go to bed very early with my book about 8 o'clock and I lie there reading for a couple of hours before I put the light out.
What do you like better -- acting or writing?
If writing is going well I like it but sometimes it doesn't go well and it's a bit like doing homework again and again. So I would say acting is more fun because you're with lots of other people and you're pretending to be somebody else. I think that's kind of more fun. But writing is very satisfying in a different way maybe because it's harder.
How did it feel to win an Oscar?
Oh, it's terribly exciting. I was with my mom and it was just really odd to be there amongst all these big stars and looking out and having to say thank you for this award. I think the best bit was going backstage afterward because everybody was so nice and the security people wanted to hold the Oscar. And when we went home the captain of the plane came down because he wanted to hold it.
What was your favorite thing to do in London when you were growing up?
One of my favorite things would have been to go to the theater because my mom and dad earned their livings by being actors in the theater. So I would go see them, my mom, in a Shakespeare play or something like that. And that was terribly exciting. There was an open-air theater in the garden part of London in a park called Regents Park, which Queen Victoria built for her husband, Albert. And it's a beautiful place and you get a blanket and a bar of chocolate.
What inspires you to write?
I think often the things I do is because I'm extremely curious, really interested in what's going on. I'm very curious about how animals behave, very curious about how people behave. So maybe I write to express that curiosity. I think it's probably a most useful quality. Because curiousness is very interested in everything, it means you're never bored. So curiosity I suppose is my inspiration. Wanting to know. Does that make sense?