There wasn't very much time between wrapping Revolutionary Road and starting The Reader. It was about five and a half months, which, for me, isn't that long. Some actors are very good at just going from one thing to another but I've always been a bit useless at that. The preparation time is important for me.
I knew it was going to be important that if I had an audience understand who she was, then all those things had to come from a place that was grounded, as opposed to being tics and manners and twitches. I didn't think it was going to be as rich, perhaps, as if I was going to make it more emotional.
More than ever now, I believe it's so important to look as real and true to life as possible, because nobody's perfect. I seem to be on a mission, but I don't want the next generation, your daughters and mine, growing up thinking that you have to be thin to look beautiful in certain clothes. It's terrifying right now. It's out of control. It's beyond out of control.
He's brilliant. At first, I thought, 'Oh, is he going to be Hollywood stud-like?' But he's a really kind, wonderful person. He said to me one day early in the making of the movie, 'You know, I was kind of worried about you'. He thought I was going to be a perfect skin, which I am certainly not. It didn't take long for Leo to crack and see who I really am, and we became very close. but, I must say, he is absolutely gorgeous.
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I believe it is important to go on insisting that normality is not what we are exposed to. Honestly, among my acquaintances there is no woman wearing XS. No, sorry, there is one: my daughter. The point is that Mia is 11 years old. It's true that you need much time to get rid of the fat girl you once were, but you know I am sincerely grateful for my buttocks.
After Titanic it would have been completely foolish for me to go and try and top that. I'm an English girl, I've always loved England, I've never felt the desire to leave it for any particular reason. And whilst I'm ambitious and care very much about what I do, I'm not competitive. I also don't want to act every day of my life. () So it was important to me after Titanic to just remind myself of why it was that I was acting in the first place, which is of course because I love it.
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Just coming to terms with the fact that I got to play April Wheeler [Revolutionary Road] and Hanna Schmitz [The Reader] in one year, let alone in my lifetime. I'm very, very aware of how rare that is as an opportunity for any one person. I can't tell you how much I've been able to take away from these experiences creatively. I really, really learned so much about acting, about myself... all of those things. It's difficult to talk about the actor's process without sounding like an arrogant asshole but they really were very challenging.
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I'm really happy in my own skin. There's a lot of judgment that can come from outside sometimes, and there's media scrutiny that is placed on a lot of women in the public eye, and I just couldn't care less. I really couldn't care less. 'I would sometimes say in my twenties, 'oh, I couldn't care less', but I think I probably did. Now I genuinely don't and that's a lovely, liberating thing to experience.
I like the diversity that my children are exposed to every day. I love the way their brains work. Joe [her son] turns to me the other day and says, 'One day, I will have a girlfriend. But I might have a boyfriend. If I'm gay.' He's 7! And I said, 'You might have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, darling.' And he said, 'Which would you prefer?' And I said, 'My love, that would be entirely up to you, and it doesn't make any difference to me.' But that he knows! It's a real privilege. Talk about the best education.
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I was on the tube just before Christmas. and this girl turned round to me and said, 'Are you Kate Winslet?'. And I said, 'Well, yes. I am actually'. And she said, 'And you're getting the tube?' And I said, 'Yes'. And she said, 'Don't you have a big car that drives you around?' And I said, 'No'. And she was absolutely stunned that I wasn't being driven round in some flash car all the time. It was ludicrous.
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Very thorough in the rehearsal process but more in terms of just understanding the characters, understanding where the actors are at with discovering those characters for themselves, and just setting an overall emotional tone for the piece as opposed to necessarily getting things up on their feet or staging scenes.
With The Reader, I'd just be shattered at the end of every day really. I wouldn't really want to talk. We kept saying, because we were in Berlin: "If we get back at a decent hour, let's go and have a glass of wine." We'd always think it would be a great idea, but then get to the end of the day and then go [acts drowsy and blabs]. It was very difficult for everybody.
My dad was an actor, and my older sister is an actress, and so I very much remember thinking, "Well, of course I'll do that as well." But I never imagined myself as an actor who would be in films. I always only thought of myself being in a play or a musical and maybe the odd episode of [U.K. '80s TV drama] Casualty. My backup plan was to do something with children, to start a nursery school or work with underprivileged kids. And I still dream of maybe doing that in some way. I've always got children in my house, always.
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People say to me, 'You seem to have made this conscious decision to do independent films'. In reality, I haven't. After each movie, I always think, 'how different can I possibly be? Is this going to challenge me, is this going to inspire me, and is this going to make me love my job more than I already do?'
For my own children, I do want for them to look back and remember that it was me in the kitchen, that I was doing the packed lunches, that we were there on the school run, that we did take a bus. I want them to remember those things, because those are the things that I remember from my own childhood and that have been incredibly important to me.
I simply couldn't conceive of how devastating it would be not to be able to hear my children's voices. Not to be able to communicate with them, to hear them learn, grow, and express themselves verbally. How fortunate, how blessed I am. This overwhelmed me. I can talk to my children, I can respond to their needs and comfort them when they tell me they are unwell. I can tell them stories and hear them tell theirs.
Also for me, I don't make endless movies back to back all the time, I really sort of come to understand and love the characters that I play. And with April and Hanna you sort of go through a weird period of feeling sad about letting them go. Sometimes that takes me a week and sometimes it takes me a couple of months, just so that I can feel I can realign my own thoughts again. I do feel really, really blessed that I've had these opportunities.
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As a young girl, I never felt attractive. I was fat and unhappy at times, and that kind of thinking stays with you your entire life. There's always going to be a part of me that worries about not looking as slim as other actresses. But at a certain point, when you achieve a lot of your goals and you can be proud of your work, you start to relax more about who you are. And that includes your appearance and self-image - I don't think I look too bad for a mother of two. But women shouldn't have to feel the pressure to compare themselves to actresses or models.
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I have a crumble baby belly, boobs are worse for wear after two kids...I'm doing all right. I'm 33. I don't look in the mirror and go, "Oh, I look fantastic!". Of course I don't. Nobody is perfect. I just don't believe in perfection. But I do believe in saying, "This is who I am and look at me not being perfect!". I'm proud of that.
I've never worked with prosthetics before in that sort of capacity. I did a bit of prosthetic work when I had to give birth in Jude, which is quite a different set of prosthetics. But I had so much admiration for the hair and make-up department and the prosthetics team, who are actually based at Shepperton, and who put together that look for Hanna. I
I'm incredibly proud to have been nominated in the past and it really means a lot to me because I do work very hard when I'm making a film and I do really do absolutely give my all. To get that kind of pat on the back, it's really amazing and also never something that I anticipated would possibly happen to me, ever. So I am very, very proud to have been there before. And, you know, the nice thing about nominations is that, same as awards, no one can actually take them away from you and I'm proud of that.