Kate Winslet is gracing the current cover of The Hollywood Reporter and inside, she opens up about choreographing sex scenes with Saoirse Ronan, life in the time of COVID and the Oscars.
She and Ronan star in Ammonite, a film based on the life of real-life fossil hunter Marry Anning, who lived and worked in the 19th century. She and (Ronan) develop a romance, and she tells THR that director Francis Lee trusted them to choreograph the sex scenes.
Winslet says: “It’s definitely not like eating a sandwich. I just think Saoirse and I, we just felt really safe. Francis was naturally very nervous. And I just said to him, ‘Listen, let us work it out.’ And we did. ‘We’ll start here. We’ll do this with the kissing, boobs, you go down there, then you do this, then you climb up here.’ I mean, we marked out the beats of the scene so that we were anchored in something that just supported the narrative. I felt the proudest I’ve ever felt doing a love scene on Ammonite. And I felt by far the least self-conscious.”
She did have to let go of her vanity beforehand, she says. “I’m nearly 45, and Saoirse is almost half my age. And to have an opportunity to be my real 40-something self, post-children, you know? Women aren’t really having the courage to do that,” she explains. “I was just excited to say, ‘This is what it is, peeps. This is how I am now, and it’s very much not the body I had 20 years ago. And I also worked on maintaining that sort of heftiness to Mary. There is a grit to her, there’s a weight to her. I changed up my exercise a little bit. I made sure that I didn’t lose weight — which I do a lot, actually, on films. I hate to talk about weight, but I only say it in the context of, it was a conscious effort on my part to really make sure that I didn’t shrink or change myself for the sake of being naked. I did the opposite.”
She continues: “It’s a story about women speaking up, speaking out. I think uncovering stories where women were repressed in such a systemic way is highlighting how history has covered up those successes. We’re not going to do that anymore, world.”
Winslet also discussed being in quarantine for an extended period of time, with no clear end in sight. “I think it’s the unknown element of this virus — we just don’t know how it’s going to affect any given individual — I think that was what’s so terrifying,” she explains. “I’m a very practical, straightforward person, and if I have to respond to an emergency, I just go into that zone.”
But now, she fears she’s forgotten how to do her job: “Now that I’m going to have to go back to work, I’m like, ‘Oh f**k, I’ve forgotten how to act.’ It will be with some extraordinary back-to-work protocols, which are great. But when you’re an actor in a film or a TV piece, social distancing is obviously sometimes just not possible, based on the scene.”
As Awards season kicks off, she’s ready to kick things off virtually, attending Toronto, where Ammonite will make its bow: “I can be barefoot and I don’t have to put a dress on and feel sick. So it’s awesome. I can have my glass of wine just out of frame, like that.”
Winslet also knows that Ammonite, which is being released by Neon, the indie distributor behind Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, is gunning for major awards.
She tells THR, acknowledging her Oscar for The Reader: “I have it at home. It’s awesome. The kids have fun with it. It is the stuff of dreams. And that little dream came true for me right there, and you just move on. You just go back to the hard work. It’s just a f***king Oscar at the end of the day.”