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Kate Winslet Discusses "The Holiday"

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Kate Winslet Discusses

Kate Winslet stars in "The Holiday."

© Sony Pictures

Four-time Oscar nominee Kate Winslet tackles her first starring role in a romantic comedy with The Holiday, co-starring romcom veterans Cameron Diaz and Jude Law, and musician/actor Jack Black.

Kate Winslet on Taking the Lead in a Romantic Comedy: Winslet may be new to the genre but she’s absolutely sure of one thing: The Holiday is not a chick flick. “I don’t feel like this is a chick flick. …That’s not me trying to sort of plug or sell the movie in a whole other way, but I don’t because you know it really is about relationships. It’s about two separate relationships that happen with women and men. And actually there are more men in the film than there are women, which was something that Nancy [Meyers] pointed out to me a couple of days ago - even though I was aware of that.

You know, it’s just a whole new genre to me, romantic comedy. I’ve never done a romantic comedy or something that is labelled as that before. I was so excited to do something new and also nervous you know? The worry of, ‘Can I be funny?’ It’s a terrible thing to be concerned about. And Jude [Law] and I would speak on the telephone a lot before we started shooting. ‘Oh my god, they’re going to fire us! They’re going to recast. What if we don’t make them laugh?’ You know, very nervous about the whole thing.

Also, I haven’t played a contemporary English woman in a film either before. I’ve done a lot of period English films, but never a contemporary person. I’ve done it in American, but this was new to me. And actually I did not like the feeling initially. I thought, ’Well what do you mean I can’t hide behind something? What do you mean I don’t have a wig or an accent or a strange costume?’ It was me and my hair and my voice and clothes that I would choose to wear, and there was something oddly intimidating about that. It took a little bit of getting used to.”

Kate Winslet admits starring in a romantic comedy was harder than she thought it would be. “I mean making films is such a joy but it’s always tough. I certainly didn’t go into it thinking, ‘Oh this is going to be so much easier because I haven’t got an accent or its comedy.’ I definitely didn’t think that because it had its own specific set of challenges. But at the same time, it definitely took me a while to get over my own sort of fear around playing that part. There’s always that level of fear around any character. But I suppose I was surprised about how nervous I was playing an English woman.”

Relating to Her Character in The Holiday: “I think I relate to all the characters, both men and the women to be honest with you, because the subject of love, it’s endless. It’s absolutely endless and it can be the most glorious thing in the world, but it can also be the most shattering thing when you’re in a situation like the one Iris is in - when you love someone who doesn’t love you back. So I mean, in a way, I sort of relate to all of them. That’s what Nancy Meyers does brilliantly is that she constructs these stories that have characters in them that we feel as though we know, you know? We feel as though we’ve either been that person or we’re friends with that person.”

Doing a Happy Dance: When Kate Winslet as Iris first sees the LA home she’ll be vacationing in for two weeks, she does a cute little happy dance throughout the house. Winslet says her dancing act was totally improvised. “It was improvised in the sense that Nancy had scripted the rooms that she wanted Iris to visit on that sort of little joy dance. But everything that I did, yeah, it was pretty much improvised.”

Winslet’s done versions of the happy dance in her personal life. “Oh yeah,” laughed Winslet. “You get a piece of good news, you do something like that. But also staying in certain hotels it’s like… I mean I still get really thrilled by the whole hotel experience, just because the majority of the time if we travel anywhere with the children we’ll tend to try and actually find a home to live in. So the experience of staying in a hotel doesn’t happen all that often. I still get really kind of like you know, ‘Oh look! Oh god the pillows are so fluffy and the cute little things in the bathroom.’ And, ‘Wow, look at the lovely room service!’ I still do really get delighted by those things, and thank god I do because I would never want to take that stuff for granted.”

Shooting in a Video Store: When Winslet and Jack Black visit a video store in The Holiday, don’t look for any films starring either actor anywhere on the shelves. Winslet recalls, “I remember in the middle of shooting that scene, ‘Oh god, we’re in a video store. I wonder if any of the films that I’m in are on the shelves?’ And they had been deliberately removed, both mine and Jack’s, because Nancy didn’t want them to be distracting for us. Which, actually, I was so grateful for because I would have been distracted. I don’t really have know all my movies proudly displayed on a shelf or anything like that, so it would have been pretty weird just because I don’t look at the covers that often. I was very pleased that they weren’t there.”

Page 2: Kate Winslet on Working with Jack Black and Eli Wallach, and the Possibility of Starring in Another Romantic Comedy

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