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BIOGRAPHY

(Source : www.pop2you.com)

Kate Winslet was born on October 05,1975 in London UK. Kate joined the 'family-business' in 1986 at age 11 when she began acting lessons in Maidenhead and she secures her first acting role in a Sugar Puffs (breakfast cereal) advert dancing with the Honey Monster. She continued in a performing arts school and followed graduation with roles in the British television drama Shrinks (1988), followed by appearances in the television series Casualty (1989), Dark Season (1991), Get Back (1992), and Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (1993) and theatrical roles including Pandora in the musical Adrian Mole, Wendy in Peter Pan, Sarah in A Game of Soldier, and Geraldine in What the Butler Saw. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio play ill-fated lovers in this epic romance set against the backdrop of an unforgettable disaster. Their budding romance is scuttled when the luxury liner on which they are traveling strikes an iceberg and plummets to the ocean floor on April 15, 1912. This film was a huge commercial success and won 11 Academy Awards

Biography

Name Kate Winslet
Height 5' 8'' (172cm)
Occupation Model, Actress
Date of Birth October 5 , 1975
Place of Birth London, UK
Education
Contact Kate Winslet
c/o PMK 955 S. Carillo Dr. Suite 200 Los Angeles, CA 90048

Kate Winslet
c/o William Morris Agency 1325 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10019-4701 U.S.A.

Kate Winslet
31/32 Soho Square London W1V 5DF England

Kate Winslet
503 The Chambers Chelsa Harbours Lots Road London SW10 Oxford UK


















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Kate Winslet Interview
by Stephen Thompson
April, 2000

(Source : 6degrees.co.uk)

In 'Holy Smoke', Kate Winslet tackles her most challenging role yet as a headstrong girl whose family suspects she's been brainwashed by an Indian cult. 6degrees got the low-down on gurus as the actress regaled the press with tales cross-dressing, urinating contraptions and impending motherhood

Question When you saw the script what did you think?

Kate Winslet The script seemed slightly mad, confronting and very bold. But also it was full of tremendous honesty and love and all of those things made me really want to be involved in it. Actually I have to say the key things were Jane Campion and Harvey Keitel, and after that was this brilliant girl's part. I couldnt believe it; she was so "out there".

Question I know Jane was thinking of the project as far back as 1994. Was Keitel already locked in when you came on board?

KW Yes, he was. Jane says they really wrote 'Holy Smoke' for Harvey and as the writing developed she realised just how much she loved Ruth and how much there was of herself as a young woman in Ruth. She realised it was evolving more into a story about the girl's journey as opposed to PJ's [Keitels'] journey, which I find interesting.

Question Did the script change much from when you first saw it to when you finally started shooting? Were you allowed to change it?

KW Yes, Harvey and I could always improvise because it's something he's really keen on and something I haven't done since I was at school, so it was great to do that with him. A lot of the improvising we did ended up in the film but script-wise it was very much the same as the one Id initially read.

Question Did you talk to any cult members or exiters?

KW I didn't talk to any exiters. I sat with a guru for a day in India and I did meet with a lot of cult members who were all completely sane, I have to say. I didnt for one minute think they'd been brainwashed into something that was kind of beyond their control. In fact if anything they were some of the most wonderful people I'd ever met. The irony of the film is its not her who has to be de-programmed and made to think that there are problems with her life; its everybody else in the film, including her family, including PJ and everybody else who hasnt been as woken up as she has.

Question How did the guru affect you?

KW The guru affected me in an odd way. I thought Id go into this with an open mind and I was really excited to be meet this guru. I felt quite freaked out by it because he was very questioning of me as a person, not judgmental at all, but I was being questioned in a way that I didnt want to discuss. I didn't want to talk about my inner self and really deep stuff because at the time I met him I was really happy and I knew I was marrying Jim and I felt very sorted out in my life. But he as a wonderful man and I could see how for some people it would be absolutely right.

Question Its undoubtedly the bravest step in your career. I wonder how you faced up to certain scenes, like the nudity scene. How did you handle that and how did you cope when you saw it screened?

KW Nude scenes are never easy to do and I always try to pretend they'll go away and I wont have to do them. It was particularly like that with the famous urinating scene and thank God when the day came the urinating contraption that was rigged up to me was so hilarious that I was able to laugh and keep myself going in that way. Also I had to keep focussed on the fact that that scene was so disturbing that when Id first read the script it was the most powerful scene Id ever read in any film script ever. You try to stay focussed on the fact that those scenes are there for a reason and you've agreed to do them for a reason. I'm also pretty tough when it comes to scenes like that. Ill want to see everything as soon as I've shot it and say, "No, I dont think that's right" or whatever, not because I dont look nice but because sometimes they can shoot a little bit too much if they feel they can get away with it. When I finally came to see the film I was literally sitting there cringing.

Question Does having a female director help in those sorts of scenes?

KW No, I have to say it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. I always seek solace when doing scenes like that because they're difficult whoever the director is. I always seek solace in the make-up artists, who by that point have become my mates, and theyre wonderful and want to make sure youre alright and feeling comfortable.

Question Your last few roles have taken you to some exotic locations. Do you have any wanderlust yourself?

KW With 'Hideous Kinky' and 'Holy Smoke' I've been off to Morocco and India and the Australian outback. It has fulfilled a subconscious part of myself that wanted to take a year out and go travelling. Obviously I never did that because I was working. Now knowing we're having a baby I feel so lucky and so blessed that I've been to all these very exotic places and at the beginning of the year Jim and I went off to Fiji and that was lovely so it's really been very satisfying for me.

Question Have you ever been susceptible to the bad points of any of the characters you've played?

KW No I'm too cynical and I know my mind too well. When I met these cult members I was able to talk to them on a completely normal level because I was prepared to understand why they were doing it.

Question Has the fact that youre going to be a mother influenced the roles you take and things like nude scenes?

KW This baby is yet to arrive [due in September] and I'd say that since getting married nude scenes are even harder to do and I'm being much more particular about them. That's just something that comes from me because Jim is even more relaxed about it than I am. In terms of locations, I would have thought that when the baby comes along it will influence my choice of where I go, yes.

Question The character of Ruth is the most unsympathetic character you've played

KW It's interesting a man would say that. I dont mean that in an accusatory way, its just that 'Holy Smoke' has provoked such different reactions from men and women. After Jim and I first saw it I sat there and I was really chuffed. As much as there were sides of Ruth I didn't like I still understood her and sympathised with her and Jim said as a man you just hate her.

Question but I was wondering if this is a sign of your maturing as a actress and having the confidence to play a part the audience might not necessarily like?

KW Yes, you'd be right about that. I've always tried to make my characters likeable and with 'Holy Smoke' Jane Campion was pushing me and saying: "She doesnt have to be nice all the time, Kate. You might want her to be but Ruth's not like that, she really doesn't care." So I did have to give into that and it was a turning point for me as an actress.

Question How did you get on with Jane Campion?

KW Great. Jane is a really extraordinary woman and she's funny and wild. In the first week of rehearsal she said, "Kate you should really know this, I'm really mad" and I said, "Oh Jane dont be silly" and she said was so serious about it. But she's wonderfully mad, as is Anna. They sort of live in this bizarre world of heightened emotion and reality. I love Jane and I'd have to say there were very few differences in terms of working with a male director, other than that Jane always wanted to borrow my lipstick, but nothing particularly profound. She's a determined one, as well. Of all the other directors I've worked with I'd say she's probably most like James Cameron because she really goes for what she wants. There were times when she'd tell me to do a take again because I was really terrible. Sometimes that was the perfect direction, because Id panic so much and it would throw me into the correct state.

Question Will this be a hard act to follow?

KW People said that about 'Titanic' and I know what you mean in terms of it being a brilliant script and being very diverse and confronting. Yes, it will be hard to find anything like that again but I'm not one for doing anything obvious or similar to what I've done before so in a way I hope I wont find anything like that again. Last year I did 'Quills' that's coming out in October with Geoffrey Rush and Michael Caine and it's based on the Marquis de Sade not his writings but a section of his life and it's not sort of wild and sexually explicit as everyone expects it to be. While his writings are despicable the man was really quite extraordinary. In April I'm going to do 'Enigma', which is based on the Robert Harris novel and the breaking of the Enigma codes in the Second World War and next year I'm doing 'Therese Raquin'.

Question How hard was it to persuade Harvey to wear a dress?

KW Very easy! I remember the costume fitting for that dress and we were both trying on costumes that day and a red dress came in and Jane looked at Harvey and said, "I love it, youre so gorgeous!" and Harvey said "Ja-aayne! Okay, so this me and I have to wear a dress."

Question Cam you tell us a bit more about his way of working?

KW He's great. Harvey is a very driven man, incredibly professional and really dedicated to his work. I was really grateful to have Harvey because its easy for actors to go home, have a glass of wine, fall asleep, wake up and go to work the next day. Harvey would go home, exercise, not eat and he was always ready to go. He loves improvising, too, and he was so brave with that. I always wondered what he was going to do next; there was so much mystery there. But he's a lovely man and he's also very funny.

Question I think Ruth's character's more likeable than PJ, who is a pathetic man. How much thought went into what he wears, because there are certain men of a certain age who wear that stuff the cowboy boot and the shades.

KW [Whoops with glee] A lot of thought went into that. Harvey lost a lot of weight on purpose because he wanted to look trim and that kind of thing. It worked: he looked hilarious.

Question Since 'Titanic' you've made it quite clear you want to resist the blockbuster route. Have those kind of offers stopped coming in?

KW No they haven't. I'd like to think I'd never have to do one for the money. I would never say "never", its just that after 'Titanic' whatever I do will never be as big as that. I love the scripts that I've chosen to do over all the other ones I've read. I'm lucky to be able to make artistic decisions about my career.

Question Tell us more about 'Therese Raquin'.

KW I'm executive producing it next year, which has come about purely because Id heard somebody had written a script for it and no-one was doing anything about it, which I thought was crazy. Id read the novel when I was 17 and loved it and have always wanted to play that role. I got in touch with the director David Levaux (who is a theatre director and this will be his first feature) and we decided to go for it. He asked me to do it and I said Id love to.

Question How else are you preparing for motherhood?

KW At the moment it's still early days and I just want to get the first couple of scans out of the way.

Question Are you sorting out the books of names and pretending to involve Jim in this and then you'll make the decision for him anyway?

KW [Laughs] We haven't even started thinking about that yet!
















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Awards


1994
"Heavenly Creatures":

U.S. Writers' Guild nominee: Best Original Screenplay (Peter Jackson & Frances Walsh)
Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay (Peter Jackson & Frances Walsh)
Silver Lion Award winner - Venice Film Festival
Critics' Prize winner - Toronto Film Festival

1995


Kate:

New Zealand Film Award winner: Best Foreign Actress (H.C.)

"Heavenly Creatures":

New Zealand Film Award wins: Best Director (Jackson), Best Actress (Melanie Lynskey), Best Supporting Actress (Peirse), Best Screenplay (Walsh and Jackson), Best Cinematography (Bollinger), Best Film Score (Dasent), Best Editing (Selkirk), Best Soundtrack (Hopkins, Bell, Hedges), Best Design (Major), Best Contribution to Design (Taylor, Port)

1996
Kate:

Golden Globe nominee: Best Supporting Actress ("Sense and Sensibility")
Academy Award nominee: Best Supporting Actress (S&S)
BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Awards) winner: Best Supporting Actress (S&S)
Screen Actors Guild winner: Best Supporting Actress (S&S)
Premiere magazine Award nominee: Best Supporting Actress (S&S)
Also chosen as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People In The World

"Sense and Sensibility":

Golden Globe wins: Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Screenplay (Emma Thompson)
Golden Globe nominee: Best Actress (Emma Thompson)
Golden Globe nominee: Best Director (Ang Lee)
New York Film Critics Circle Award winner: Best Director (Ang Lee)
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award winner: Best Screenplay (Emma Thompson)
Academy Award winner: Best Adapted Screenplay (Emma Thompson)
Academy Award nominee: Best Picture
Academy Award nominee: Best Actress (Emma Thompson)
Academy Award nominee: Best Cinematography (Michael Coulter)
Academy Award nominee: Best Costume Design (Jenny Beavan, John Bright)
Academy Award nominee: Best Original Dramatic Score (Patrick Doyle)
BAFTA winner: Best Actress (Emma Thompson)
Golden Berlin Bear Award winner - Berlin Film Festival

1997
Kate:

London Evening Standard Film Award winner: Best Actress/Supporting Actress (jointly for "Jude" and "Hamlet")

"Hamlet":

Academy Award nominee: Best Adapted Screenplay (Kenneth Branagh)
Academy Award nominee: Best Costume Design (Alexandra Byrne)
Academy Award nominee: Best Original Dramatic Score (Patrick Doyle)
Academy Award nominee: Best Art Direction/Set Direction (Tim Harvey)

1998
Kate:

Golden Globe nominee: Best Actress ("Titanic")
Academy Award nominee: Best Actress ("Titanic")
Screen Actors Guild nominee: Best Actress ("Titanic")
Blockbuster Entertainment Award winner: Best Female - Drama ("Titanic")
'98 Ms. Showbiz Pageant winner
Empire Magazine Award winner: Best British Actress ("Hamlet," oddly enough.)
MTV Movie Award nominee: Best Female Performance ("Titanic")

"Titanic":

Golden Globe wins: Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director (James Cameron), Best Original Score (James Horner), Best Original Song ("My Heart Will Go On," sung by Celine Dion)
Golden Globe nominee: Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio)
Golden Globe nominee: Best Supporting Actress (Gloria Stuart)
Academy Award wins: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Art Direction, Best Costumes, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Editing, Best Dramatic Score, Best Original Song ("My Heart Will Go On")
Academy Award nominee: Best Supporting Actress (Gloria Stuart)
Academy Award nominee: Best Makeup
Screen Actors Guild nominee: Best Motion Picture Ensemble
Screen Actors Guild winner: Best Supporting Actress (Gloria Stuart)
Directors Guild of America winner: Best Director (James Cameron)
Blockbuster Entertainment Award wins: Best Male - Drama (Leonardo), Best Supporting Actor - Drama (Billy Zane), Best Supporting Actress - Drama (Kathy Bates).
MTV Movie Award wins: Best Movie, Best Male Performance (Leonardo)

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Kate Winslet Interview

(Source : www.toppics4u.com)

Mention Kate Winslet's name to your average moviegoer, and the image he or she is likely to think of is her grand entrance in James Cameron's Titanic, emerging from a car dressed to the nines and--most memorably of all--wearing a really big hat. The sight of the real-life Winslet is just about the opposite of that seemingly inaccessible vision of cool elegance; she bounds into the conference room at the Four Seasons Hotel, an affable bundle of energy casually bedecked in a simple shirt and pants, lit cigarette in her right hand. However, there's one key similarity between Winslet and Rose Dewitt Bukater: both are impossibly gorgeous, and as such the first question to come from the press roundtable concerns her beauty secrets.

"You know what? I don't have any," Winslet replies with a laugh. "I'm afraid I'm not a really good example because I smoke; I half the time fall asleep with my makeup on because I can't bother to take it off. I don't use a whole heap of products. One thing I don't believe in is all these bloody products. I'm just a believer in simple, simple everything. I take some herbal stuff--a herbal hormone balancer called Mexican Wild Yam. That's it; I don't do anything else."

Titanic was many viewers' first glimpse of Winslet and her hormonally-balanced complexion, and for just as many, it was their only glimpse. Following her turn in that record-shattering blockbuster (for which she earned her second Academy Award nomination), the 24-year-old Winslet returned to the far-from-mainstream career path that initially earned her favor among critics and arthouse audiences. Her taste for unconventional roles undoubtedly accounts in part for her fairly infrequent screen appearances, but most of it is simply due to a conscious choice to not work. "I really don't work all the time because I don't believe in it. I think if did work all the time, I wouldn't love my job anymore, and I'd get really sick of it. I don't want to ever feel like that, 'cause as soon as I feel like that, I stop."

Playing Ruth Barron, a reckless young woman who falls into an obsessive affair with a much older cult deprogrammer (Harvey Keitel) in her latest film, Jane Campion's curious but fascinating erotic comedy-drama Holy Smoke, certainly did not dampen her love for her job. "When I read the script, I just totally loved it. I just thought it was absolutely brilliant and so daring and shocking and profound and moving. And the fact that Jane Campion wanted me to do it was so incredible to me. And Harvey Keitel--I grew up on his stuff and always had been a huge admirer of his work. It was wonderful; it was a real team, the three of us absolutely holding hands going through the whole thing together. It was really amazing, and I really learned at lot; I learned more, I think, on that job about myself as an actress than I have on any other."

As with any learning experience, Winslet's lessons on Holy Smoke came while being pushed beyond her personal limits. "I have never been so open as an actress as I was on Holy Smoke. There's always a part of yourself that you like to keep back; you sort of layer the character on top of your own character. But with Holy Smoke it was like, 'I've got to really become this girl,' because there's nothing about her that is anything like me at all. I had to be that open to be Ruth because she's so fearless and she's so driven and so honest, and I just couldn't be afraid of anything as an actress; I had to just give everything I had, and that's why it drained me so much. It was so exhausting; it was the ultimate challenge."

Much of the challenge--and resulting exhaustion--came from an intense rehearsal period between Winslet, Keitel, and Campion. "The rehearsal period. Fuck me. We had two weeks of rehearsal that were extraordinary. And at the end of this two weeks, I remember going home thinking, 'Please, God, don't let the shoot be as hard as that rehearsal period was 'cause I just won't survive.' We would just rehearse flat-out, flat-out, flat-out the whole entire day; sometimes we would not even leave the room until about 8 o'clock at night. It was just me, Jane, and Harvey--that's three people with totally different ideas, totally different characters, playing totally different roles. It was just really difficult, but it was brilliant because we have this foundation of where we stood, who these characters were, and what they were all about."

Yet not even the strongest foundation, literal or figurative, could fully prepare Winslet for watching her much-remarked-about scene of full nudity. "It's like watching a horror film! You know that everyone is watching it too, and you think, 'This is really embarrassing!' It's like me saying to you, 'Get naked and stand on the table in front of all these people.' It's horrible!" Even so, she sees the embarrassment as a small and necessary tradeoff for its effect in the film. "Those things are there for a reason. When I read that scene, I thought it was everything--it was moving; it was sort of scary; it was weird; and it was mad. [The nudity is] incidental to the scene; she's more naked emotionally. I think that's why Jane wanted it to be naked because she is stripped of everything."

Winslet, on the other hand, doesn't look to lose anything anytime soon. This summer she will be seen in Quills, Philip Kaufman's film about the Marquis de Sade starring Geoffrey Rush; and following that is a project close to her heart, an adaptation of Emile Zola's novel Thérèse Raquin. Not only will the project mark the directorial debut of stage director David Levoe, it will be Winslet's first effort as an executive producer. "I've resisted it for a long time," she says of taking a behind-the-scenes involvement. "When you do something like Titanic, on one hand you can go, 'Wow, I've got all this power,' and you could to whatever you wanted to do. But I really didn't want to abuse that. And I actually didn't really feel the need to do anything more than what I believed in and what I loved to do. But the reason why I'm executive producing [Thérèse] is precisely because I just love this story and I want to see it done properly."

Despite her desire to take on a power position in that project, Winslet has no intention of leaving the job for which she is in such demand. "I do get sent a lot of scripts; a huge variety. I do get sent blockbuster type things, and I do get sent tiny, tiny little independents; and I get sent things that haven't got any funding--just a massive variety: period stuff, modern stuff, horror films; all kinds of things. I love that; I love reading scripts. I just always think it's incredible that I have this ability to choose now what I can do."

She may not be much of an example for beauty care (yeah, right), but Winslet is certainly a good example for those looking to carve out a successful and varied acting career, and if she practices what she preaches, aspiring actors should heed her advice. "My advice [to up-and-coming actors] would be never give up and just stay passionate because you will get there in the end. You really will get there in the end--if you believe you'll get there."

"It's Tempting To Take The Money, But You Can't Sell Your Private Life Down The Drain" -- Andrew Duncan meets Kate Winslet

(Source : www.layla.org.uk)



She expected to be a jobbing actor in the theatre, but instead has had Titanic film success. As her latest, Quills, opens, she talks about babies bullying and remembering what's normal.

If there is vanity here in the converted pumping station by the Thames in Weybridge, Surrey, where the actress - already, at 25, nominated for two Oscars (Sense and Sensibility when she was 20, and Titanic) - has lived for four months with husband Jim Threapleton and their three-month-old daughter Mia, it is well hidden. She curls on a sofa in the living room wearing brown slippers, floppy grey parachute pants, a loose-fitting beige sweater, no make-up, blond hair awry, and sips peppermint tea. "I'm trying to diet. It's so insane and bloody boring. I despise myself for it, and feel I'm letting a lot of people down. I constantly wave the flag of, 'Don't go on diets because they're rubbish', but I'd like to get a bit of the baby weight off or I won't work. What annoys me most is that the more terribly thin and fit actresses we have, the less real our films become, which is sad. Thank God for British ones. They don't care what shape you are."

Some visitors are drinking coffee at the kitchen table, and when Mia begins to cry she tells Threapleton there's freshly expressed breast milk in the fridge. "She's a real fun baby. Some are well fed up with life from the beginning, but she's delighted to be here. Motherhood beats anything hands down." She is so chatty (swearing is her only apparent problem, but maternal responsibility is helping her overcome that), it's tempting to suggest artifice when she claims to be bored by herself. "It's true. I churn out the same old stuff and can't tell lies. I'm relaxed, open-minded, and have no agenda other than working well and enjoying myself. People expect me to be actressy and prim, yet I'm the opposite. Friends say I'm too open and honest, buy why not? It's not as if talking to you I'm selling myself to OK! or Hello!"

So she won't invite them into her "lovely home"? "Never. People who think they're celebrities appear in those magazines. I suppose I am one now, which I find strange. What is celebrity? It's fake and I'm suspicious of it. If you're a soap star, weathergirl, newsreader, you're a 'celebrity'. We had offers for our wedding and, boy, is it tempting to take the money, but we sat down over a cup of tea and told ourselves not to be ridiculous. You can't sell your private life down the drain. I'd hate to sound a bitch saying that because some people genuinely need the money, and that's fine. When you're clearly rolling, it's appalling."

Like Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose wedding snaps were sold to OK! for a reported 1 million? "I don't know her, but I read her reasons, and I kind of understand. However, if you're doing it, donate the money to charity. I'll say this once: if ever we appear in any of those magazines you'll know we have serious money problems."

Her 1998 wedding reception took place in her favourite Reading pub with bangers and mash followed by Bakewell tart and custard. "I can't stand showbiz stuff. Admittedly sometimes it's fun at an award show or premiere with endless champagne, limos and great frocks, but it would drive me mad to do it constantly. There are moments to indulge and enjoy, but I always know when it's time to go home and wash my own knickers. Threapleton and I hate being fussed over. It makes us feel claustrophobic."

The no-nonsense approach is a result of a background in which the unpredictability of theatrical success was prominent. Her father, Roger, and two sisters, Anna, 28, and Beth, 22, are actors, as were her maternal grandparents, who ran the Reading Repertory Theatre. "We're a pack of nutters really, otherwise why would we do it? It's a mad profession - no guarantee of work, and when you are employed you run around pretending to be someone else. It started early for me. At five I remember distinctly sitting in school assembly, praying the teacher casting the Nativity play would pick me for Mary. I was so excited when she did. I knew from then I'd end up acting. I so love it. It's at the centre of my centre. Does that make any sense of do I sound like a naff luvvie? I'd hate that because I'm not.

"Dad tried to talk me out of it, desperately. I wanted to go to theatre school at 11 [Redroofs, in Maidenhead], but he wouldn't make a decision. Finally when we were on holiday in Norfolk I straddled his big belly, threw sand in his face, pinned him down and said, 'Dad, please let me,' and through gritted teeth he said, 'Go on then.' I thank my lucky stars I'm a strong character, never easily led, because you're so impressionable at that age.

She had her first job when she was 12, in an ad for Sugar Puffs cereal. "I was a total exhibitionist in those days and when we went to music festivals with my parents I'd be the one sitting on the grass as near to the stage as possible, dancing back and forth so everyone could see me. As a teenager, I became shy because I was overweight - 13 stone at 16 - and called 'Blubber'. I couldn't wear jeans because I looked like the back end of a bus, always had the wrong clothes and shoes, and nothing fitted. I was never a weird teenager, but I was miserable. All the girls were prettier than me and had boyfriends."

She met an actor and writer, Stephen Tredre, when she was 15. He was 12 years older than her. "There was a gradual build-up to the throes of a big relationship and we lived together for two years after I was 17. It was probably a good thing for me to have an older person as a first boyfriend, but ultimately that was the reason it didn't work. He'd done things I was still desperate to do, and I never realised how much that was the case until we split up and I was having adventures." Tredre died of cancer shortly after she met Threapleton.

At school she was teased, and once when she was away ill for a week, the ringleader invented an unpleasant story about her and moved her desk into a corner, away from the others. "It was pathetic and childish, but girls are so catty. I was deeply hurt because I was made out to be a monster, and yet I was the only one who instinctively couldn't be nasty. Looking back, maybe she was jealous not physically, because I've never been much of a pretty picture, but I was grown up."

A few years later, after Titanic, she was shopping in the department store John Lewis with her mother, and saw the girl, looking embarrassed, selling perfume. She confronted her and said, "I want to say thanks for being such a bitch, because you made me much stronger." She smiles at the recollection. "It was one of the more satisfying moments of my entire life."

Heavenly Creatures was the first film she made, age 17. "It's my favourite. I had an amazing time, in New Zealand, being my own boss for four months. It never entered my head I'd make a film. I assumed I'd be a jobbing actor in the theatre because that's what I'd grown up around. I didn't want to be a movie star, nor imagined I might become famous." Indeed after making the film she fell back into obscurity, worked in a north London deli and signed on, but only for a couple of months. "I decided it wasn't fair. The homeless need money more than me." Heavenly Creatures wasn't released for two years, during which she had few offers of work, although she played a medical secretary in Joe Orton's What The Butler Saw, at the Manchester Roy Exchange Theater. Later, newspaper pictures emerged of her wearing scanty underwear with the headline, "What Kate Winslet Kept Secret from the Rest of Us for Five Years." "I was annoyed they talked about my 'hidden' past. I was so damned proud to be in it."

Then came the mammoth success of Titanic, in which she was classy Rose who falls in love with steerage passenger Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. "Leo's still funny old Leo, silly, goofing around, being a lad. He might have an entourage, but then he just had a bunch of mates who went everywhere with him keeping him straight and his mind ticking over." She's pestered director Cameron for the part. "I wouldn't say I was pushy, just fiercely passionate. He took a big risk on me. No one knew who I was, and I was so overwhelmed when I saw the film I sat with my mouth wide open, and couldn't believe it. I thought, 'How did I come to be in this huge film the world is talking about?'

"Suddenly I wasn't just a domestically known actress. It turned things upside down and I was going, 'Hang on a minute. It's only a film.' I could have ridden the crest of the wave, but decided not to. It's too frightening and easy to get sucked into the roller coaster of working constantly, earning more and more, spending less time at home, losing touch with your emotions and those of people around you. Emma Thompson told me years ago, 'As an actor, it's terribly important not to work.' That's all right for us to say - half of my friends are out of work and have to make corporate videos and commercials - but when you're as lucky as me you need to stop and lead a normal life, otherwise you won't have new inspiration. I know with Mia it's going to be a tremendous shock to the system when I return to work, but I'm also a different person with new emotions."

After Titanic she declined to move to Los Angeles ("Toy Town, no centre, claustrophobic"). "The offers were huge but not so ridiculous as some think. I'm not marketable like Meg Ryan or Julia Roberts, who make romantic comedies that guarantee massive audiences. I don't do those obvious type of films. I knew it was important to remember why I was acting in the first place, so I made a film totally for myself - Hideous Kinky [Esther Freud's memoir of life as a child in Morocco in which she played a hippy mum, and where she met Threapleton who was third assistant director] - that I loved and didn't get paid much for. The part was really like me: calm and motherly. I've always looked after people. I'm the first to make cups of tea when I go on a film set, which is another way of grounding myself. I want people to feel comfortable around me. I couldn't stand it if they thought, 'My God, I'm in a room with Kate Winslet.'"
"It's Tempting To Take The Money, But You Can't Sell Your Private Life Down The Drain" -- Andrew Duncan meets Kate Winslet

She expected to be a jobbing actor in the theatre, but instead has had Titanic film success. As her latest, Quills, opens, she talks about babies bullying and remembering what's normal.

If there is vanity here in the converted pumping station by the Thames in Weybridge, Surrey, where the actress - already, at 25, nominated for two Oscars (Sense and Sensibility when she was 20, and Titanic) - has lived for four months with husband Jim Threapleton and their three-month-old daughter Mia, it is well hidden. She curls on a sofa in the living room wearing brown slippers, floppy grey parachute pants, a loose-fitting beige sweater, no make-up, blond hair awry, and sips peppermint tea. "I'm trying to diet. It's so insane and bloody boring. I despise myself for it, and feel I'm letting a lot of people down. I constantly wave the flag of, 'Don't go on diets because they're rubbish', but I'd like to get a bit of the baby weight off or I won't work. What annoys me most is that the more terribly thin and fit actresses we have, the less real our films become, which is sad. Thank God for British ones. They don't care what shape you are."


Some visitors are drinking coffee at the kitchen table, and when Mia begins to cry she tells Threapleton there's freshly expressed breast milk in the fridge. "She's a real fun baby. Some are well fed up with life from the beginning, but she's delighted to be here. Motherhood beats anything hands down." She is so chatty (swearing is her only apparent problem, but maternal responsibility is helping her overcome that), it's tempting to suggest artifice when she claims to be bored by herself. "It's true. I churn out the same old stuff and can't tell lies. I'm relaxed, open-minded, and have no agenda other than working well and enjoying myself. People expect me to be actressy and prim, yet I'm the opposite. Friends say I'm too open and honest, buy why not? It's not as if talking to you I'm selling myself to OK! or Hello!"

So she won't invite them into her "lovely home"? "Never. People who think they're celebrities appear in those magazines. I suppose I am one now, which I find strange. What is celebrity? It's fake and I'm suspicious of it. If you're a soap star, weathergirl, newsreader, you're a 'celebrity'. We had offers for our wedding and, boy, is it tempting to take the money, but we sat down over a cup of tea and told ourselves not to be ridiculous. You can't sell your private life down the drain. I'd hate to sound a bitch saying that because some people genuinely need the money, and that's fine. When you're clearly rolling, it's appalling."

Like Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose wedding snaps were sold to OK! for a reported 1 million? "I don't know her, but I read her reasons, and I kind of understand. However, if you're doing it, donate the money to charity. I'll say this once: if ever we appear in any of those magazines you'll know we have serious money problems."

Her 1998 wedding reception took place in her favourite Reading pub with bangers and mash followed by Bakewell tart and custard. "I can't stand showbiz stuff. Admittedly sometimes it's fun at an award show or premiere with endless champagne, limos and great frocks, but it would drive me mad to do it constantly. There are moments to indulge and enjoy, but I always know when it's time to go home and wash my own knickers. Threapleton and I hate being fussed over. It makes us feel claustrophobic."

The no-nonsense approach is a result of a background in which the unpredictability of theatrical success was prominent. Her father, Roger, and two sisters, Anna, 28, and Beth, 22, are actors, as were her maternal grandparents, who ran the Reading Repertory Theatre. "We're a pack of nutters really, otherwise why would we do it? It's a mad profession - no guarantee of work, and when you are employed you run around pretending to be someone else. It started early for me. At five I remember distinctly sitting in school assembly, praying the teacher casting the Nativity play would pick me for Mary. I was so excited when she did. I knew from then I'd end up acting. I so love it. It's at the centre of my centre. Does that make any sense of do I sound like a naff luvvie? I'd hate that because I'm not.

"Dad tried to talk me out of it, desperately. I wanted to go to theatre school at 11 [Redroofs, in Maidenhead], but he wouldn't make a decision. Finally when we were on holiday in Norfolk I straddled his big belly, threw sand in his face, pinned him down and said, 'Dad, please let me,' and through gritted teeth he said, 'Go on then.' I thank my lucky stars I'm a strong character, never easily led, because you're so impressionable at that age.

She had her first job when she was 12, in an ad for Sugar Puffs cereal. "I was a total exhibitionist in those days and when we went to music festivals with my parents I'd be the one sitting on the grass as near to the stage as possible, dancing back and forth so everyone could see me. As a teenager, I became shy because I was overweight - 13 stone at 16 - and called 'Blubber'. I couldn't wear jeans because I looked like the back end of a bus, always had the wrong clothes and shoes, and nothing fitted. I was never a weird teenager, but I was miserable. All the girls were prettier than me and had boyfriends."

She met an actor and writer, Stephen Tredre, when she was 15. He was 12 years older than her. "There was a gradual build-up to the throes of a big relationship and we lived together for two years after I was 17. It was probably a good thing for me to have an older person as a first boyfriend, but ultimately that was the reason it didn't work. He'd done things I was still desperate to do, and I never realised how much that was the case until we split up and I was having adventures." Tredre died of cancer shortly after she met Threapleton.

At school she was teased, and once when she was away ill for a week, the ringleader invented an unpleasant story about her and moved her desk into a corner, away from the others. "It was pathetic and childish, but girls are so catty. I was deeply hurt because I was made out to be a monster, and yet I was the only one who instinctively couldn't be nasty. Looking back, maybe she was jealous not physically, because I've never been much of a pretty picture, but I was grown up."

A few years later, after Titanic, she was shopping in the department store John Lewis with her mother, and saw the girl, looking embarrassed, selling perfume. She confronted her and said, "I want to say thanks for being such a bitch, because you made me much stronger." She smiles at the recollection. "It was one of the more satisfying moments of my entire life."

Heavenly Creatures was the first film she made, age 17. "It's my favourite. I had an amazing time, in New Zealand, being my own boss for four months. It never entered my head I'd make a film. I assumed I'd be a jobbing actor in the theatre because that's what I'd grown up around. I didn't want to be a movie star, nor imagined I might become famous." Indeed after making the film she fell back into obscurity, worked in a north London deli and signed on, but only for a couple of months. "I decided it wasn't fair. The homeless need money more than me." Heavenly Creatures wasn't released for two years, during which she had few offers of work, although she played a medical secretary in Joe Orton's What The Butler Saw, at the Manchester Roy Exchange Theater. Later, newspaper pictures emerged of her wearing scanty underwear with the headline, "What Kate Winslet Kept Secret from the Rest of Us for Five Years." "I was annoyed they talked about my 'hidden' past. I was so damned proud to be in it."

Then came the mammoth success of Titanic, in which she was classy Rose who falls in love with steerage passenger Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. "Leo's still funny old Leo, silly, goofing around, being a lad. He might have an entourage, but then he just had a bunch of mates who went everywhere with him keeping him straight and his mind ticking over." She's pestered director Cameron for the part. "I wouldn't say I was pushy, just fiercely passionate. He took a big risk on me. No one knew who I was, and I was so overwhelmed when I saw the film I sat with my mouth wide open, and couldn't believe it. I thought, 'How did I come to be in this huge film the world is talking about?'

"Suddenly I wasn't just a domestically known actress. It turned things upside down and I was going, 'Hang on a minute. It's only a film.' I could have ridden the crest of the wave, but decided not to. It's too frightening and easy to get sucked into the roller coaster of working constantly, earning more and more, spending less time at home, losing touch with your emotions and those of people around you. Emma Thompson told me years ago, 'As an actor, it's terribly important not to work.' That's all right for us to say - half of my friends are out of work and have to make corporate videos and commercials - but when you're as lucky as me you need to stop and lead a normal life, otherwise you won't have new inspiration. I know with Mia it's going to be a tremendous shock to the system when I return to work, but I'm also a different person with new emotions."

After Titanic she declined to move to Los Angeles ("Toy Town, no centre, claustrophobic"). "The offers were huge but not so ridiculous as some think. I'm not marketable like Meg Ryan or Julia Roberts, who make romantic comedies that guarantee massive audiences. I don't do those obvious type of films. I knew it was important to remember why I was acting in the first place, so I made a film totally for myself - Hideous Kinky [Esther Freud's memoir of life as a child in Morocco in which she played a hippy mum, and where she met Threapleton who was third assistant director] - that I loved and didn't get paid much for. The part was really like me: calm and motherly. I've always looked after people. I'm the first to make cups of tea when I go on a film set, which is another way of grounding myself. I want people to feel comfortable around me. I couldn't stand it if they thought, 'My God, I'm in a room with Kate Winslet.'"
In her new film, Quills, adapted from a stage play by Doug Wright about the Marquis de Sade, with Michael Caine and Geoffrey Rush, she plays a virginal cockney washerwoman, Madeleine, in the asylum where the Marquis is incarcerated. "I'm aware how odd it might be for the audience to see me as a down-market girl, and knew I had to make the cockney accent believable. No offense to her, but I felt like Barbara Windsor, and Geoffrey [as the Marquis] said, 'I'm Sid James.' We'd joke to remind us if we were going too far and making it Carry on Camping. There's a fine line.

"Sade's mind is more outrageous than anything I've seen, heard or read. When I received the script I expected a sexually explicit film that would require me to run around with no clothes on, but I laughed so much, and loved it. If it wasn't funny, you'd have a weird black film on your hands. I shouldn't say this, because I'm told off, but I never like anything I do, except perhaps Holy Smoke [Jane Campion's film in which she is sent to be deprogrammed by an exit counselor, and in the course of which she is filmed naked, urinating in the sand, and simulating oral sex]. Opinions vary. Art? Ludicrous? Her own view is: "It's the only film I've watched where I've gone, 'Is that really me?' I was dead chuffed at portraying a character so dramatically different from me."

She's been naked in a lot of her films. "That's funny because as a teenager I was physically paranoid and constantly crucifying my own image. Now I don't give a damn although, believe me, I'm not, 'Ooh goody, there's a nude scene.' I'm rigid about the way it's shot." Maybe now she has a daughter she'll do less. "I'm producing Therese Raquin [from the Emile Zola novel] in the new year, and playing the lead. There's nudity and I know when I come to do it I'll hate it as usual. It's horrendous taking your clothes off in front of a load of people you don't know, like someone saying in a crowded restaurant, 'Stand on that table and strip off.' Film crews are sensitive, but it doesn't alter the fact I have to act out something that feels to me the most unnatural thing in the world. I come out the other side and say, 'Why did I put myself through that?' The reason is I think the decisions I made have always been justified. I can say, hand on heart, I've never done anything gratuitous."

Threapleton comes in to see if we want more peppermint tea, and I wonder if it's a problem that he's less well known than her. "No. He didn't know who I was when we met, which was fantastic. He'd never seen anything I'd done because I had only appeared in period films. Why would an extremely funky 20-year-old guy see Sense and Sensibility? That's why Titanic was such a shock. It happened a few months after we met and suddenly he realised he was going out with one of the ten most talked about women of the year. It was bizarre. We sat down and discussed whether we were going for it, or still deciding how we felt about each other. We decided to go for it. We're lucky because I see how sometimes relationships are ruined by success. We're very honest with each other, which helps keep us grounded, and I absolutely will not change. I'm a very happy chappy."

Quills opens in London on Friday 19 January and in cinemas nationally from Friday 2 February. Kate Winslet will be a guest on BBC1's Clive Anderson Now on Friday 26 January.


Source: Radio Times, 13-19 January 2001



Interview with Kate


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Back From the Abyss
Making 'Titanic,' actress Kate Winslet was a world away from the drawing rooms of Jane Austen. One woman's education in the James Cameron school of filmmaking.
By DAVID GRITTEN

LONDON--For English actress Kate Winslet, playing the female lead in writer-director James Cameron's monumental movie "Titanic" could have been worse. After all, she could have been one of the passengers on the original 1912 maiden voyage of the luxury liner, which hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank, causing the deaths of some 1,500 people. News reports have suggested that the "Titanic" shoot, during six long months in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, was strenuous for everyone involved. Winslet, 21, puts it more succinctly. "An ordeal," she says. And though actors are known to exaggerate the hardships of their working conditions, it appears she has a point. As she tells it, during the course of production she nearly drowned, contracted influenza and suffered extreme chill from being immersed in cold water. "I chipped a small bone in my elbow," Winslet says, "and at one point I had deep bruises all over my arms. I looked like a battered wife." She lifts her long black skirt to reveal an ugly gash on her right knee, only now
starting to heal. "I just slipped on the deck," she says with a shrug.

Winslet relates all this one afternoon in her private club, a dark three-story building with a bohemian feel, in the heart of London's Soho district. She is sprawled on a piece of furniture resembling an open sofa bed covered in floor carpet, with cushions scattered around her. She often lays her head back and seems on the verge of dozing off; two weeks after "Titanic" wrapped, she still feels deeply exhausted. "The first day started at 5 a.m. and went on to 1 a.m." she says. "Nothing could have prepared me for it. There were quite a few 20-hour days. And two-thirds of it was night shooting--because the 'Titanic' sunk at night. It was every man for himself on the set--you had to ensure that you snatched some sleep during the day, with a black eye mask on. Sometimes you'd find yourself having lunch at 2 a.m. or breakfast at 4 p.m. It was very disorienting."

Then there was the famously driven James Cameron, about whom Winslet can talk endlessly. "He's a nice guy, but the problem was that his vision for the film was as clear as it was," she says. "He has a temper like you wouldn't believe.. . . As it was, the actors got off lightly. I think Jim knew he couldn't shout at us the way he did to his crew because our performances would be no good." Winslet characterized Cameron as "a really tough nut to crack--there were times I was genuinely frightened of him." Yet, oddly, she also felt both sympathy and admiration for the writer-director: "I did like him, and I did come to understand him," she stresses. "There were times he was very understanding. A couple of times I felt he was someone I could take a country walk with, and enjoy it. "And logistically it was a very tough film for him as much as anyone. By the end I was existing on about four hours' sleep a day, but Jim was existing on three."Cameron understands Winslet's feeling drained. As he explains: "She's not a knee-jerk actor. Whatever she does on Take 1, we'll talk about, we'll add to it, and it constantly gets better and better. It's seductive to a director because you want to keep going. There was always something new."

The near-drowning incident? Winslet and her co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, were dashing along the deck of the ship, pursued by a giant rushing wave, only to find themselves trapped by a closed gate. They opened it, but a long, heavy coat she was wearing snagged on the gate, and she was submerged beneath the rising waters. "I had to sort of shimmy out of the coat to get free," she recalls. "I had no breath left. I thought I'd burst. And Jim just said, 'OK, let's go again.' That was his attitude. I didn't want to be a wimp so I didn't complain." Cameron agrees that Winslet didn't complain. "At the point we did that scene," he says, "I knew Kate was pretty stoic--she never expressed to me that she didn't want to continue. It didn't come to me until about 10 minutes later that she was actually really shaken. It would not be unusual for Kate, after a really big emotional scene, to go and cry for an hour, just as part of the process. [In this scene] she was never in physical danger, but she perceived that she was. "If you have a spill on a horse, you just get right back on the horse; this was [a close-up shot and] not a situation where she could be doubled. If I had it to do over again, I would probably do the same thing." The very last day of the shoot called for a scene in which Winslet and DiCaprio were flailing in the Atlantic waters--actually in a giant tank built for the purpose. "For my close-up shots, I was actually weighted down 12 feet under water, so I'd stay in a fixed position," she says. "Looking back, I can't believe I allowed that to be done to me." She had a problem using an air regulator to inhale air and swallowed mouthfuls of water while unable to kick her way to the surface. "After three takes, I simply said I couldn't do any more," Winslet says. She found it odd that no one asked her before embarking on shooting "Titanic" if she could even swim: "As it happens, I'm a strong swimmer. I swim a mile a day. But not to be asked. . . ." Cameron replies: "I think the opposite is true. It would be odd for someone who couldn't swim to go into this shoot of six months in the water. In fact, she has to do very little swimming in the film. And the fact is that she is a strong swimmer. I have to let actors who are adults take a certain responsibility for their preparation." Despite all her problems on the set, Winslet will be able to dine out for a long time on her "Titanic" experiences: "It really was a remarkable set," she says enthusiastically. "There was a replica of the Titanic built which was 700 feet long, as opposed to the 882 feet of the real ship. And you could see it driving along the main road at Rosarito. It looked as if it was really sitting on the sea--but it was actually built within a giant tank, which could be filled with millions of gallons of water. I've never seen anything quite like it." Scenes with passengers floundering in the icy waves were filmed in this tank, with water pumped in directly from the ocean off the coast at Rosarito. "The water was filthy, dirt blew into it, and actors splashing around in it got kidney infections," Winslet says. "But at least it was heated to 72 degrees. It still felt cold. I only got to wear a wetsuit for a wide shot in the big tank, where the water was about 60 degrees. And that felt absolutely freezing."

In "Titanic" she plays Rose, an upper-class girl from Philadelphia, traveling on the doomed liner with her fiance (Billy Zane), an older man. Feeling suffocated in the polite, formal world in which she lives, Rose contemplates suicide. She is saved by a young passenger named Jack (DiCaprio), with whom she strikes up a romance. After the ship hits the iceberg and starts sinking, Rose secures a place in a lifeboat. "But she steps off it and back onto the ship to be with Jack," Winslet says. "It's terribly moving. I was in floods of tears even when I read the treatment and accepted the role there and then." It's a role Cameron says she was born to play: "I worked with her face, her image, her voice, 17 hours a day," he says, "and I don't want to diminish her potential by calling it a performance of a lifetime, but it's one of the most amazing performances I've ever been a party to."

Winslet herself so far has seen little of the film--only the trailer shown at ShoWest, the Las Vegas convention of theater exhibitors. "I have to say it looked remarkable, beyond what I could ever have expected," Winslet says. "Even though it's the
longest shoot Jim's ever done, and even though it's probably the most expensive film ever made. "I normally don't even think about things like budgets, but everyone on set was talking about it. I believe in the end it was in excess of $160 million. It makes you think, doesn't it? How many houses could you build for that money? How many people could you feed?"

"Titanic" is a film with a knack for surrounding itself with controversy--though Winslet is happy to distance herself from two rumors. "There was no romance with Leo," she says firmly, referring to co-star DiCaprio. "I've seen myself described as his girlfriend, and yes, he's gorgeous. But nothing happened. We did become great mates, though." Nor was Winslet within 3,000 miles when, at a pre-shoot wrap party in Nova Scotia, Canada, for a brief contemporary section of the film, the cast and crew (Cameron included) consumed lobster chowder that had been spiked with PCP. "Not me," she says. "I was at home in London at the time."

Given all this, Winslet has a swift answer when asked how long it will be before she makes another movie in which water plays a major part. "Never," she says firmly. In fact, after the marathon "Titanic" shoot, she is determined to take some time off. Unsurprisingly, she has no desire to start work until early fall; "Titanic" was the culmination of two hectic years for the young actress. After first emerging in the 1995 film "Heavenly Creatures," Winslet worked constantly--as the younger, naive sister in "Sense and Sensibility," then as the female lead in "Jude," and lastly as Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet." "Since finishing 'Titanic,' I've turned down seven offers," she says. "I don't want to work at the moment, which is a new feeling and a nice feeling. I want to travel. I bought a flat in London, which I've hardly lived in, so I want to spend time there. I want to buy some wheels, visit the dentist, do some ordinary stuff." That "ordinary stuff" included spending a week in Scotland with her family immediately after the film wrapped. "One evening I fell asleep and stayed asleep for 13 solid hours," she recalls. "I'd have slept longer if someone hadn't awakened me."

Still, her presence in "Titanic" should do Winslet's career no harm. She will not turn 22 until October but already has an Oscar nomination (for "Sense and Sensibility") and has now starred in a major studio movie. But given what she knows of "Titanic," would she still have done it? She flashes a sharp sideways glance, then relapses into silence. "Kate's pensive," she says finally. "I'm glad I did it, but I'd never do a shoot for that length of time again. It's hard to hang on to your integrity, your train of thought, what you feel about your character. And for the first time in my life on a film set I was thinking, 'I wish I wasn't here.' Some days I'd wake up and think, 'Please, God, let me die.'