Speaking | Kate Winslet
an emily blunt interview
speaking? Thespian extraordinaire Kate Winslet is just a fabulous all around gal.
She's talented and beautiful and full of life.
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
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.
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.
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.
met recently to talk about her nominated role, life and so forth
In Eternal Sunshine your Clementine is a bit of a nutter. How did you "keep
[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
Is it your goal to defy what people would want to cast you as?
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.
Do you relate more to this real-life styled character than the idealized romantic
[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.
Were you at all nervous about doing "comedy" aside Jim Carrey? I mean,
really you had the "Jim Carrey Role" here.
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
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."
Is Clementine like you
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]
I was into the blue hair myself.
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.
Do you seek out characters? Or scripts?
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.
So is that a kind of philosophy towards your career?
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.
How was it working with Jim Carrey?
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.
What would you say to aspiring actors - advice if you will?
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!"
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.