When Emma is asked to write a screenplay, she says one of the first questions she asks is, "How many years do you have?" Though she writes four hours a day, Emma says she goes through hundreds of drafts before her scripts are ready for production. Emma also doesn't like using computers—she writes everything long hand with a pen her late father gave her years ago. "It's like my magic pen," she says. "I've written all my scripts with it."
It took Emma five years to complete the award-winning screenplay for Sense and Sensibility, and she spent nine years working on her most recent film, Nanny McPhee. Not only did Emma write the film, she also took on the snaggle-toothed title role!
As Nanny McPhee, Emma uses magical powers to wrangle seven unruly children into shape, but in real life, she has to rely on old-fashioned parenting methods to teach her daughter proper manners. "I'm strict about manners," she says. "I think that kids have a horrible time [with other people] if they have bad manners. ... The one thing you've got to be prepared to do as a parent is not to be liked from time to time."