Kate Winslet Shares Lessons She’s Learned Along the Way

April 22, 2017

In a recent BAFTA Guru interview, Kate Winslet spoke about several lessons she learned over the course of her career. The English actress has built a celebrated and eclectic resume for over 20 years now. In return, she has received a whopping seven Academy Award nominations, winning one for her portrayal as a former concentration camp guard in The Reader.

The star recollected a lesson she learned from her father the day before she auditioned for what would come to be her film debut. Driving to get the script of Heavenly Creatures, a 17-year-old Kate excitedly said, “‘Oh my God, Dad! It’s an audition for a film! Wow! Do you think like I might get it?’ And he just looked at me and said, ‘Yeah, you will.'” This assurance struck the aspiring actress. She continued, “I remember thinking, ‘That’s it, isn’t it? I’ve got to absolutely believe that I’m going to get this part…And I do remember thinking, ‘Okay, I’m going to go in there and I’m going to somehow give them no option but to give me this part.’ And of course a part of that is remaining incredibly calm.” So she consciously tried to appear “not too desperate.” Indeed, Winslet landed the part of the obsessive, fantasy-gripped Juliet Hulme. Kate insists she was lucky to land such a good part so early in her career especially because critics took note of her performance and her name became immediately known in the industry.

The following year, she received much praise for her portrayal as the plucky Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, but it was her role as the passionate socialite Rose DeWitt Bukater in the epic romance Titanic that thrust her into stardom.

In her many roles, Winslet has made a point of accepting everyone in the cast and crew. She admits, “Actors can be quite weird. They all have their sort of ticks and ways, and it’s such a privilege to see how odd everyone is. But at the same time, it can really affect your day and how you’re playing a role if you allow yourself to be caught up in someone else’s stuff or process.” Also, to feel like she’s part of a team, she goes out of her way to learn the names of all the crew members and makes a point to “really join in.”

Winslet’s biggest challenge on set is to stay focussed. She says, “You can rehearse, and you can plan everything, and you can think you have a framework that you want to stick with or a few ideas that you want to remember to keep in your back pocket. And sometimes the craziness of an on-set environment can be so intense that you can find yourself forgetting all of those things that you planned.” In response, she makes sure to find quiet places to check in with her thoughts amidst the hustle and bustle.

After preparing for a role, Kate insists, “It’s so important to let the preparation go because you can get stuck in this little sort of tunnel of your own.” She makes a point to “leave so many sort of blank spaces for other people to fill by way of the director, and the other actors, and the things that they think, and also what they are bringing to the project through the roles that they’re playing.”

As far as advice to aspiring actors, she says:

“I think what I would honestly say to people just starting out, you know, it is difficult. It is definitely a hard job to do. And you do have to keep working at it. You do have to keep practicing things. You have to allow yourself to make mistakes. Make them. Rehearse in your bedroom. Try not to look in the mirror too much because then you rehearse a scene in front of a mirror and you like the way you said something or done something and all you will do is keep picturing yourself doing it the way you liked rather than being completely present in the moment…And if [acting] is the thing that you really believe you want to do with your life you will get there.”

Kate Winslet Overcame Drama Teacher’s Advice to “Settle for the Fat Girl Parts”

February 27, 2016

Good thing Kate Winslet didn’t listen to her drama teacher as a teenager. The instructor told her that if she continued to be overweight, she was likely to only get roles for “cute, fat best friend role or the ugly sister parts,” she recently revealed to People. Instead of absorbing the criticism and allowing it to shape her expectations, Kate thought, “Oh, you’re so wrong!” and used the drama teacher’s words to motivate her.

Furthermore, Winslet shared with the mag that there were times she considered giving up on her acting aspirations altogether. “I was always the kid at the end of the line because my name began with W, and I always had big feet, and I was always wearing the wrong thing. I remember having a moment where I thought to myself, ‘This is so stupid. This is just a waste of my train fare getting myself into London for auditions.'” But then her inner convictions would chime in: “You’ve just got to keep going for it.”

In this video, Winslet continues to refer to her ever-so-memorable drama teacher from her teens. Just after winning her third BAFTA award for her performance as Apple executive Joanna Hoffman in Steve Jobs, Kate dedicated the moment to “all those young women who doubt themselves.” Speaking before cameras backstage, she gave the following inspiring advice:

“When I was only 14, I was told by a drama teacher that I might do okay if I was happy to settle for the fat girl parts. Look at me now! Look at me now! And so what I feel like saying in those moments is to any young woman who has ever been put down by a teacher, or a friend, or even a parent–just don’t listen to any of it because that’s what I did. I didn’t listen, and I kept on going, and I overcame all of my fears and I got over a lot of insecurity. And just keep doing it. And keep believing in yourself.”

Kate urged young women to stop doubting themselves, saying, “…You shouldn’t be doubting; you should be going for it.”

Has anyone ever discouraged you in your acting aspirations, and you too knew they were “so wrong”? Please share.

Watch Kate Winslet’s First ‘Titanic’ Screen Test

August 7, 2015

Kate’s first screen test as Titanic‘s Rose DeWitt Bukater was not with Leonardo DiCaprio, but with Jeremy Sisto. After hearing Gwyneth Paltrow, Gabrielle Anwar, and Claire Danes had passed on the part of the young socialite, Winslet eagerly lobbied for the role. That meant she sent director James Cameron notes on a daily basis from England, and her agent likewise did all she could to encourage Cameron to give Winslet a chance.

Eventually, Kate indeed was invited to audition in Hollywood. But as impressive as this first screen test was, Cameron was hesitant to cast Winslet as he was looking for someone more along the lines of Audrey Hepburn. But because she “had the thing that you look for,” according to the famous director, he continued to give Winslet a shot; when she later screen tested with Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate was so taken with DiCaprio’s performance that she advised Cameron, “He’s great. Even if you don’t pick me, pick him.” Still fighting to play Rose, Winslet sent Cameron a rose with a card signed “From Your Rose” and by calling him. One day she called his cell phone and urged him further, asserting, “You don’t understand! I am Rose! I don’t know why you’re even seeing anyone else!” Her talent and persistence eventually landed her the part.

The epic romantic film went on to be nominated for fourteen Academy Awards–and one of those nominations was for Winslet’s performance. The film was also the first to gross over a billion dollars–and eventually raked in over two billion across the globe.

The English actress and mother of three will be turning 40 in October and says she’s looking forward to it. “I’m very excited about it. The last couple of years I’ve done a lot; had the baby, creatively it’s been a really interesting, diverse, and fulfilling time for me and so I kind of feel that when I get to that 40th birthday, I will have earned it.”

Did you ever just know you were perfect for a part? How hard did you fight for it?