Emma Thompson Says ‘Content’ is a ‘Rude Word’: ‘It Makes Me Feel Like the Stuffing Inside a Sofa Cushion’

Emma Thompson rallied for creatives on Thursday, saying she finds the word “content” offensive.

“I think the relationship between the executives and the creative branch just has to be much, much closer,” she said during an in-conversation with CAA boss Bryan Lourd at the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge on Thursday afternoon.

“To hear people talk about ‘content’ makes me feel like the stuffing inside a sofa cushion,” Thompson continued. “It’s just a rude word for ‘creativity’.”

She went on to acknowledge that many executives are creative and that creatives can also be executives.

Thompson also expressed her love for television at the conference, saying because she didn’t go to drama school she felt she learned to act in front of television cameras.

The “Harry Potter” actor added that her experience of mentoring another young actor through BAFTA had given her another insight into the often rocky relationship between talent and executives. “You find your audience by being completely authentic,” she says. “These formulas don’t work… And then you sit there and you watch them and you wonder why at the end of it, you feel a bit ill. And I think that’s something else that we don’t talk about as creators in television and in film. How does it make us feel inside ourselves after we’ve seen something?”

Thompson also discussed the effects of the concurrent WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, particularly on craftspeople in the industry. “It’s a very, very, very hard time. People are suffering so much,” she said.