With an impressive career that spans three decades, more than 40 movies, seven Oscar nominations and one win, Kate Winslet is the first to tell you that she doesn’t have a process as an actress.
“It’s really interesting how every single job I do I feel like it really is different each time,” Winslet says on a sweltering fall day in New York. “I think it’s kind of like staring at a really untidy room of mess and clutter. You think: ‘Oh f—! Where do I begin?’ The clutter is different every time, and the piles will be different every time. It always feels a bit like moving trash around a room.”Her latest role, as a deeply troubled housewife in Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel,” presented the actress with challenges she’s never had to face. Her character, Ginny, is an unpleasant narcissist in 1950s Coney Island, who carries on an affair with a self-absorbed lifeguard (Justin Timberlake) under the nose of her husband (Jim Belushi). Winslet wasn’t sure if she could portray the character when she first read the script. She compares the process to steering a car with broken parts: “She’s in a permanent state of falling apart.
After signing on, Winslet spent a summer rehearsing on her own. On the shoot, Allen interrupted one of her early takes — he shuffled over, looked her in the eye and told her she was “too actressy.” Most stars would have buckled under such harsh directions. “I thought it was hilarious,” Winslet says. “OK, what should I do?” As she recalls, Allen responded: “You know what to do. Don’t do anything. Do it better.”
Since 1994’s “Heavenly Creatures,” Winslet has made it her mission to reinvent herself on-screen. “One of the greatest gifts I’ve had in my life is to receive the sisterhood of Kate,” says her pal Shailene Woodley, who met her in 2013 while making “Divergent.” “It’s easy to forget the amount of courage it takes to be someone like her, to stand up and talk to young women for as many years as she has about body image, self-confidence, being your own person and loving yourself.”