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Kate Winslet: A Life in Pictures

7 December 2015

The BAFTA-winning actress gave an enthralling interview exploring her career highlights, in conversation with the British Council's Briony Hanson.

Listen to Kate Winslet's Life in Pictures interview in full

During her Life in Pictures, Kate Winslet looked back on her extraordinary career with great warmth and wit. Choosing some of her favourite performances, she gave an insight into her acting process, her motivation behind taking certain roles and why she's always looking to take on more challenges. 

Winslet vividly described the moment she found out she'd got her first major film role in Heavenly Creatures, while working at her local delicatessen in Reading. "The telephone rang, and I don’t know what it was but there was something about the way the telephone rang that day that I went, 'It’s for me'...I left the sandwich and I left work and I went home on the bus and told everybody that I’d got this part!"

 I left the sandwich and I left work and I went home on the bus and told everybody that I’d got this part!

For each of her performances, Winslet was quick to remember a humourous anecdote, such as Harvey Keitel improvising as a dying dog during Holy Smoke, or Michel Gondry waking her up in the middle of the night during Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to tell her the circus was in town.

Winslet cited Titanic and The Reader as two of the more challenging roles of her career. For the former, she remarked that "I just loved the script and I loved the part...[But] I can honestly say I wasn’t able to even really enjoy the success of Titanic because it was so frantic."

For the latter, it was the difficulty of playing a character she had no sympathy for.  "I remember thinking, I’m not going to be able to sympathise with her. I might be able to empathise, possibly. But if I can play this role as honestly as possible, and if I can get this audience to feel alarmed by the fact that they feel some degree of empathy for this woman, okay then that’s my job.” She later said that this is one of the favourite performances of her career so far. 

Winslet stressed the importance of continuing to push herself, and described her role as Joanna Hoffman in Steve Jobs as "a proper acting challenge."  When asked by an audience member about how she learns lines, Winslet shared that "first of all you have to just calm down. You have to kind of say, 'Okay, calm down here. I can do this. I can do this; And you know what, at the end of the day you have to, you just have to." It was invaluable advice to end an evening full of wonderfully insightful moments. 

Read the transcript in full >