KATE WINSLET SHOWS OFF HER COMICALLY VULNERABLE SIDE.
Interview by Paul Fischer in Los Angeles
It has been quite the busy year for Kate Winslet, from an animated rat in Flushed Away to a mother dealing with her inner demons and fidelity in the acclaimed Little Children. Now, despite her ten year plus career, Kate Winslet shows off her more comedically romantic side opposite Jack Black, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law in The Holiday. Presumably tired of doing a plethora of interviews for her recent films, it seemed that Kate Winslet was not in a holiday mood arriving to do interviews for this one. Beautifully attired in a simple black pants suit, she was coolly responsive but appropriately professional. Kate Winslet conceded, matter-of-factly, that making The Holiday only brought out her romantic side as a viewer. "The experience of making it is very difficult to get any kind of overview on what the film is actually going to be like," explained the 30-year old actress. "I mean it was wonderful working with Jack, with these little romantic moments between us having been incredibly sweet, enjoyable and also nice for me."
Surprisingly, as the actress further adds, romantic comedy is a whole new cinematic world for the star of over 2 dozen films. "Id never made a film like this before, really embraced it and enjoyed every moment of working with Jack and playing this sweet, lovely, charming, grounded and honest woman." The actress concedes that stepping into her first romantic comedy was tougher than she thought. "I mean making films is such a joy but its always tough. I certainly didnt go into it thinking, oh this is going to be so much easier because I havent got an accent or its comedy, but I definitely didnt think that because you know it had its own specific set of challenges. Yet at the same time it definitely took me a while to get over my own fear around playing that part and theres always that level of fear around any character. But I suppose I was surprised about how nervous I was playing an English woman."
In the Xmas-themed romantic comedy, two women troubled with guy-problems (Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet) swap homes in each other's countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love. In the latters case, she is suffering from unrequited love with a pompous writer, plays with devilish charm by Rufus Sewell, who happens to be Kate Winslets ex-boyfriend. Initially offering a wry "no comment" when asked about working with Sewell, she then says "it was completely fine. I mean I hadnt seen him for a very, very long time, but you know wed remained friends, so it was really not a big deal."
She had nothing to do, it seems, with casting Sewell as her romantic antagonist, but the irony is deliciously apparent. "It was purely coincidence that he was in the film, but I was thrilled by the suggestion, because hes a wonderful actor and I couldnt think of anyone more perfect for Jasper," Kate Winslet adds with an almost sly grin. And Kate Winslet is equally coy when asked if she could relate to this character. "I think I relate to all the characters, both men and the women to be honest with you, because the subject of love, is endless, and it can be the most glorious thing in the world. But at the same time, it can also be the most shattering thing when youre in a situation like the one Iris is in when you love someone who doesnt love you back."
While The Holiday is the antithesis of much of Kate Winslets previous film work, the same cannot be said of Little Children, which is receiving considerable Oscar buzz, not to mention rave reviews. Kate Winslets performance in particular has stood out to critics for her portrayal of the red-bathing-suited housewife and mother Sarah Pierce, who feels isolated from the snootier mothers who gather at the local community park with their kids, from her husband (who's become an Internet porn addict) and even from her own daughter, all of which leads to an affair with a neighbouring father and husband. Kate Winslet says that as far as the rave reviews concerned, she never reads reviews, so remains "blissfully unaware so its just a part of how I go about life."
Yet she is far more aware of the Oscar buzz surrounding her performance and says she takes it seriously. "Im an actress trying to do the best job I possibly can and when you get that kind of pat on the back and acknowledgement from the industry, thats huge, since its the biggest awards ceremony in the world. Im very proud to have been nominated before and when you really put your heart and soul into something as I certainly did with Little Children, so of course I take it seriously, as Im human after all." If she is nominated for Little Children, it will be her fifth nomination, but the actress is philosophical on the subject. "This isnt something that I feel like Im aiming for and its not a goal of mine, I just feel so incredibly lucky that Ive had that acknowledgement and that experience. Its just something that if youre really lucky, you get that pat on the back and Ive had that pat on the back which is incredible and it feels amazing. But the truth is, every time I have been nominated and Ive attended the Academy Awards I have instinctively known that I wasnt going to win and so its been nice because Ive just been able to go along and really just enjoy the whole experience."
While Kate Winslet and Little Children are already receiving those pats on the back, the same cannot be said for All the Kings Men, slammed by the critics and a commercial failure. Yet for the actress, what happens after a film is shot has little to do with the experience of making it. "I honestly I think that Im always quite relaxed about how films are received, because to me its about the work, about the moment, the making of the film and what that feels like. I genuinely dont know what All The Kings Men did in the Box Office or how it was reviewed and I promise you I dont know because I dont look at that information. I feel as if I did start absorbing that information then I suddenly would be taken out of myself and I wouldnt just be concentrating on my job anymore."
Kate Winslet constantly refers to this profession of hers as a job, getting the next job, or the first job. Perhaps coming from a family of actors, presented Kate Winslet with a work ethic. She always knew, instinctively, that this is what she would do, but fame and Hollywood were the farthest things from her mind. "There was absolutely in my mind never any question that this is what I wanted to be, but I never thought I was going to be in films, because thats not what acting was about in my family, but about struggle and doing theatre. Even getting an episode of a TV series was a big job, and something that we would all celebrate. So the fact that I have ended up being in movies is something that Im constantly amazed by and constantly questioning, because it wasnt something that I really knew anything about when I was a child."
So Kate Winslet is genuinely surprised that she has become so successful. "And Im also genuinely grateful and really appreciative that I get to do the thing I love to do and play so many different parts. Thats the tremendous privilege that its such a challenge and remains entirely inspiring to me because of the different characters that Ive been allowed to play, Certainly in the last four or five years since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind it kind of really opened up a whole other doorway of opportunity and I still feel that Im experiencing the benefits of that film in particular because I think people saw me in a more contemporary light to put it completely plainly." Asked if there is a character she yearns to play, Kate Winslet offers a slight smile. "Yeah I mean there are, definitely, but I dont want to tell you, because acting is about mystery as well."