emma thompson alec guiness
Emma Thompson has already solidified her status as one of the funniest, most brutally honest actresses around, telling salacious stories and being all-around awesome at every opportunity. Turns out, Thompson's mother is pretty great herself, revealing in a new essay that as a young girl, her daughter got an abrupt lesson about sex from an unlikely (and super-famous) source.

Phyllida Law, Thompson's mother and a fellow actress, wrote in the U.K.'s Sunday Times that she brought Thompson, then a young girl, along with her on the set of 1957's "The Bridge on the River Kwai." There, Thompson precociously asked Law's costar, an acting legend and soon-to-be-Oscar-winner, to explain sex.

"Emma, aged eight, once asked Alec Guinness about the details and he gave her a calm and accurate response: very helpful, though I felt a bit faint," Law recalled.

Law added that Thompson's sister Sophie, then 5, was also present for the exchange, and "listened gravely, fixing him with her headlamp eyes."

Law admitted that, although the encounter was strange, she wanted to teach her children that it was OK to talk about sex, and she and her husband didn't take it too seriously when they themselves brought up the subject with the girls.

"I think I drew pictures. My husband was blunt and I did the diagrams. I think we laughed," Law wrote. "Sex is ridiculous behaviour from adults who tell you not to pick your nose."

Add Thompson's mother to the list of people we'd love to get a drink with sometime. We can only imagine what other stories she has to share.

[h/t Vanity Fair]

Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
categories Movies