The late golden age of cinema actress Angela Lansbury had a green pie thrown in her face by Emma Thompson during filming of hit children’s movie Nanny McPhee.
Thompson, who presented the Murder She Wrote star with an Honorary Academy Award in 2013, called Angela Lansbury a legend and cited her response to the pie throwing as just one reason why.
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Nanny McPhee was a Stitch for Angela Lansbury
Nanny McPhee is a 2005 star-studded children’s film set in Victorian England. Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) is a widower with seven children. After a series of nannies are driven away by his naughty children, Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) whips his children into shape with a stern but loving hand.
The family is financially supported by great-aunt Lady Adelaide Stitch (Angela Lansbury) who insists on Cedric remarrying as a condition of her continued financial support.
In true fairytale style, potential evil stepmother Mrs Quickly enters the story but the children sabotage the wedding, preventing her from becoming part of their family. And it was in the wedding scene Angela took a pie in the face.
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Emma Thompson was only one brave enough to pie Angela Lansbury
It wasn’t Emma Thompson’s responsibility to throw the pie but rather someone from the props team. However, Emma explained in her address at the 2013 Governors Awards she was the only one brave enough to pie a Hollywood legend.
She said: “A very large props man, the top in his field, came to me and said ‘I’ve got to throw a pie at Angela Lansbury. It’s got to hit her in the face, I can’t do it, I can’t do it.‘
“I said ‘what do you mean you can’t do it? You’re a props man for heaven’s sake, get a grip.’ And he said ‘please don’t make me.’ Finally they said you’re going to have to do it!”
Emma fearfully accepted the challenge and asked Angela whether minded. Lansbury replied: “I’d rather it were you.”
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True legend on and off screen
In good humor, Angela burst out laughing as the green pie slid down her face.
Emma continued: “[Angela] spent the rest of the afternoon throwing food at the rest of the cast – and that’s why [she’s] a legend and always will be.”
Thompson told Lansbury: “You are the same glorious, incandescent and wonderful girl you have always been.”
Angela was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2013 for lifetime achievement and exceptional contributions to film and motion picture arts and sciences. She was nominated for the Academy Award for best supporting actress three times but never won.