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Kate WinslettBluntly Speaking | Kate Winslet
an emily blunt interview

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Bluntly speaking? Thespian extraordinaire Kate Winslet is just a fabulous all around gal. She's talented and beautiful and full of life.

British born Kate hails from what one would call a theater-immersed family, yet began her professional acting career at the age of eleven dancing aside a large box in a breakfast cereal commercial. After a few acting lessons, her breakout role came in the form of a weird teen in the creepy Heavenly Creatures (1994). This role was followed by a plethora of roles in eclectic stories. But, none is more infamously remembered than her spin as wide-eyed Rose in James Cameron's mega-hit Titanic (1997). Oscar and the lot, took notice and now this beautiful woman is considered one of the acting profession's most versatile and brilliant stars.

As Kate comes in dressed in casual jeans and a smart and elegant blousy top, you can't help but notice there is indeed an other-era look about her. And most viewers probably expect to see her break out into a waltz, sporting a corset while balancing a cup of tea.

Ironically, the real Kate is more like her 2004 Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar© nominated role as Clementine Kruzinski in Charlie Kaufman's coveted Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, of course with a bit less flighty flamboyance and sans the deglo hair hues.

And the "real" Kate is a humble lady that relishes in taking chances, slipping off from the daily planner of life and enjoying herself en route through this charmed (earned) life.

We met recently to talk about her nominated role, life and so forth…

EMILY: In Eternal Sunshine your Clementine is a bit of a nutter. How did you "keep her real?"

KATE: [laughter] Well, I have to be prepared to let people dislike her at times...because let's face it she's a bit of a bitch! [laughter] But at the same time she's gorgeous and she's silly and she's funny and you feel for her. You kind of sense her confusion about who she is. She very vulnerable I think. I just had to work hard - sometimes I would say to Michel [Gondry the director], "Let me know if I'm not doing enough. Or let me know if I;m going too far. I was so tempted to being over-the top. I had concerns about being too over-the-top. He'd say, "No more more more." I'd say, "Really!" And he would say, "Yes, yes. I doesn't matter try it!" That was fantastically liberating. You know when you do classical theater or something you don't have the option to do that...it 's a more subtle approach.

EMILY: Is it your goal to defy what people would want to cast you as?

KATE: Well, it's not my goal per say. It's really fun to take risks - but it's not my goal. Clementine (Eternal Sunshine) was the most eccentric part that I've ever played. I just had so much fun. I also liked the pairing! You'd never have imagined Jim Carrey and I would do a film together. And when I was sent the script I said there's no way I'm not going to do it! I knew it was going to be great fun and charming and different for me - and it was all those things.

EMILY: Do you relate more to this real-life styled character than the idealized romantic hoopla?

KATE: [laughter] I do actually. To me the relationship between Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine is incredibility real. What Charlie Kaufman (screenwriter) does, which is incredibly brilliant, it to actually create these very simple stories, but tells them in a very unorthodox way. But yet to me their relationship was profoundly honest and true to life. In no relationship can you possibly live at that fever pitch as the first day you met. Reality isn't like that. And the best relationships in the world are precisely that because you take the rough with the smooth -and be honest with your partner and confront things. That is why I loved these people.

EMILY: Were you at all nervous about doing "comedy" aside Jim Carrey? I mean, really you had the "Jim Carrey Role" here.

KATE: Absolutely. I really did have the Jim Carrey part and that was terrifying! At first I was like, "Oh, so yes, I've got to be the funny one! How on earth am I going to do that?" Yes, at first I was very nervous walking into it. But I like that feeling! Stage fright is often one of the best things. And I didn't pre-plan much of it either. You know? With more of the more romanticized parts, the period pieces I've done - the classical parts - you really have to prepare. You have to concentrate on the period and for example in Enigma

EMILY: Which I loved…

KATE: Yes, I know you did - and I appreciated that by the way! In Enigma I had to look as if I knew how to actually use an enigma machine. There's so much preparation that goes into those types of films. Here I thought, "Oh my god, I have to leave it all to chance. I just have to know who she is."

EMILY: Is Clementine like you

KATE: I'm a relatively impulsive person - yes. Not when it comes to relationships but certainly in terms of day-to-day life. For example, I might wake up in the morning unknowing I've got a couple of meetings and have to get my daughter off to nursery school. And I might turn around and say to my little girl, " Look let's just go to the beach!" or, "Let's just go to the aquarium." Just change things at the last minute like that. Or even just say, " Hell, we're not doing much for the next week! Let's go to the coast" or where ever it might be. So, yes, there was a lot of me in Clementine. I mean hell, I don't wear corsets every day I wear jeans. It was a lot more comfortable in her skin. In fact I had so much fun being her, that at the end of the day, I'd think, "Oh, back to being boring old me again!" I really seriously considered dying my hair red after the shoot because it was just so much fun to be wild. [laughter]

EMILY: I was into the blue hair myself.

KATE: They were beautiful wigs! A film is shot out of sequence, as you know so we had to use wigs. I might be red in the morning and have blue hair by lunch and then greenish by the end of the day! It was very exciting.

EMILY: Do you seek out characters? Or scripts?

KATE: No. You know actually I'm completely instinctive and totally impulsive about it. I reactive from the hip. I'm not premeditative - or planned. I don't have a whole career map. I don't think, " I'll do this year and next year I'll do this." I leave a lot to chance - to what ever excites me, and inspires me.

EMILY: So is that a kind of philosophy towards your career?

KATE: Hmm. Yes. I like to take risks. I don't walk into a film thinking, "This is going to be a hit." That's the totally wrong thing to do. Because as soon as you start to do that that kind of competition kicks in and I'm not really a completive person. I really love my job and I want to do it as best as I can - but I don't want to be "the best." I very much enjoy watching other actress play parts way better than I ever would have been able to. It's very inspiring.

EMILY: How was it working with Jim Carrey?

KATE: Ah, Jim. He's a great guy. We have such a great friendship. You know you can't "act" chemistry - you can't make that happen. Honestly, I really just hoped to god we were going to get on well, and thankfully we didn't hate each other! [Laughter]. He's just great. And yes, he's silly and goofy and pulls crazy faces - and my god he is a master impersonator! But he also has this kind of quiet side too. I'm use to taking myself off into quiet corners and preparing myself for the next scene. He was much more like that than you'd think Jim would be. He had to play shy quiet Joel - so he did kind of keep himself to himself sometimes. I could see that and I loved seeing that. I love being able to accept another actor's process - how ever different it may be from mine. But, Jim and I actually had a quite similar process.

EMILY: What would you say to aspiring actors - advice if you will?

KATE: I always try and give as much as can, rather than take as much as I can. You're very lucky if you're working with a brilliant actor who's giving you a lot to work with. That's why I try to do that myself. Sometimes if I am doing off-camera dialog - and this happened during Sunshine - Jim was facing full camera, I would be off acting my arse off- otherwise he wouldn't have anything o react to. You've got to commit to it and continue to be that character off. The only time I have been accepting of an actor not ding that for me? I was doing Quills and there was a scene with Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine and myself and it was one the very few scenes we were all in together. We shot everything on Joaquin, everything on Geoffrey and when it came to me. Michael Caine said, " Darling do mind if I slip out of costume? I've got to be somewhere to be." I thought he was going to just remove his wig or something. Nope. He left and got completely into street clothes and returned to shoot. But, he still acted his heart out for me! How can you not forgive Michael Caine for something like that? He's so charming and so funny! I thought, "what the hell!"

END

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Kate's performance, is a remarkable. If you yet to see it? Buy it or run over to your local rentatorium and give a peek. It may be - dare I say - this reviewer's favorite film...oh I just can not commit to that. But, it's on the stuck-on-a-desert-island list to be sure.

 

 

 

 


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