Kate Winslet is at the stage of pandemic lockdown where she’s ready to tell all when it comes to those awkward moments in a movie star’s career. Though “awkward” may be putting it mildly. With movie theatres across the country still closed in an effort to keep the coronavirus at bay, the TIFF Bell Lightbox, home of the Toronto International Film Festival, is bringing the movies to laptop screens with Stay At Home Cinema
. The series connects movie stars with interviewers for virtual chats about everything from how they’re handling social distancing to what their next, post-COVID project will be. Last night, ahead of Crave
’s screening of Sense and Sensibility
, Winslet fired up her Zoom account to speak with Canadian radio host Eleanor Wachtel about the making of that film—the actor’s first Hollywood project.Winslet admitted how she had wriggled her way into the role of the middle Dashwood sister, Marianne (her co-star Emma Thompson both wrote the screenplay for the Jane Austen adaptation and played big sister Elinor Dashwood). Asked to read for the smaller role of Lucy Steele, Winslet showed up at her audition claiming that she’d been misinformed and so she was only prepared to try out for Marianne. The gamble ended up getting her the gig.
But it wasn’t exactly a happy ending right away though. Winslet told Wachtel that she felt intimidated by the movie, which, in addition to Thompson, also starred Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, and Hugh Laurie. Her first film, Heavenly Creatures
, had gone on to huge success but had been a small, New Zealand-based production by comparison. It’s director, Peter Jackson, is a huge name now but like Winslet, he was basically unknown at the time.In an effort to boost her confidence, Winslet approached Sense and Sensibility
director Ang Lee at the end of her first day of shooting to ask him how she’d done. Winslet was expecting a few words of encouragement. That was decidedly not the case."He put his hand on my shoulder and he went, 'Ah, you'll get better,'" Winslet said. "And I went back to the hotel I was staying at and I cried and I cried and I thought... 'This is acting now—people might say horrible things and you've just got to be tough and you've just got to deal with it and just get through it. I will get better. I will get better.'"[video_embed id='1926896']RELATED: Here's what you should be binge-watching while you're stuck at home [/video_embed]Kate explained she didn’t tell anyone it had happened for an entire month and when she finally gathered up the courage to share the story with Thompson, she was mortified on her behalf. As dramatically as only Emma Thompson can, the actress grasped her sides and shouted, "My insides are going to fall out! Why didn't you tell me?"As devastating as the criticism seems, Winslet says it was actually a great learning experience for her early in her career. It also seems that responses such as that one from Lee are par for the course on one of his films. Both Grant and Thompson have said that deadpan critiques are simply his style. Thompson recalled an incident when Lee would tell her “That was a bit boring” after a particular take. “He wasn’t being mean,” said Thompson
, “he was just being honest.”The film went on to be nominated for six Oscars, winning one. So it looks as though honesty was indeed the best policy.[video_embed id='-1']BEFORE YOU GO: Kid basically falls asleep during snack time [/video_embed]