Kate Winslet talks new challenges and portraying a fragile character in Jason Reitman's 'Labor Day'
It was clear this morning that there was an opportunity in the Golden Globes category of Best Actress in a Drama for some lucky actress to step up to the plate. With the usual suspects in the lead actress field being split off and Meryl Streep finding herself in the comedy/musical field, who was going to land the recognition? Would it be critical darling Adèle Exarchopoulos? Indie hopeful Brie Larson? Or someone else entirely?
In the end, it was Kate Winslet who showed up, receiving her first awards recognition of the season for her performance in Jason Reitman's "Labor Day." In the process, the Oscar-winning actress picked up her tenth Globe nomination to date and finds herself in the thick of a talented group of women. Some time ago I talked with Winslet about tackling the role of the fragile, emotionally cut-off Adele in the love story, which was adapted from Joyce Maynard's novel. Read through our back and forth below.
HitFix: You've done so much at this point in your career, I'm curious what kind of opportunity "Labor Day" represented for you that was new or exciting.
Kate Winslet: Well, that's such an interesting thing to say and an interesting question because I always feel like I haven't done that much. (Laughs.) I always feel like but I've got so much to do! So for me it didn't sort of strike me as hard. The script came my way and was just, I thought, so different to everything I've done before. And I'm an enormous admirer of Jason's work. And the same with Josh, who was already attached by the time the script came to me. And it just represented an opportunity to play an incredibly interesting character with two very, very interesting men whom I have so much respect for. I just felt very lucky. You know, it's always such a blessing. It doesn't matter how long I've been doing this, and it's 20 years now, but it's always just such a blessing and such a thrill when a really great piece of writing comes along and represents a new opportunity to try something else and try and play a different character. I mean, that's what acting is. It's about playing, playing a role, playing a part. And to me Adele was very much a woman whose skin I really hadn't been in before, and I knew that would bring up some stuff for me that would be challenging. And I also knew that there would be sides of it that I would find uncomfortable as well. And so yeah, I guess it was a combination of all of the above really.
There's such a specificity to the role, too, due to the character's sort of shut-in neurosis. Is that specificity, for lack of a better word, "fun" to you as an actor?
Well, it was. Yes, it absolutely was because I'm used to playing characters who are more obviously one thing or another. And certainly I'm used to playing characters who are always quite passionate and quite full-blooded. And to me I felt as though Adele was the opposite of that. I felt that she was very, very thinly veined. You know, she almost reminded me of an empty vein, you know, when you press the vein of somebody who's really pumping, that beautiful purple vein just sort of pops right back up and I sort of felt that Adele's veins were all just sad and tired and a bit empty. And so yes, for me, it really was a challenge to play somebody who on the one hand is very obviously fragmented and emotionally fractured, you know? But at the same time, she did have a passionate side to herself. She did have a big heart and was capable of great active love I think. And there were many sides of her that she had simply let go and forgotten about in her past with all her sadness. She had left behind the glorious sides of who she once was. And I really appreciated the journey that she does go on in the sense that when you meet her at the beginning of the story, and certainly this is the case in the novel, you know, I wanted for her to feel uncomfortable to be around because of how nervy and uneasy she is with herself and with the world. And as a story goes on, of course, and as this love develops between herself and Frank, I really loved the fact that you do actually see her literally come to life again and shift and change. I thought it was quite special how Joyce managed to write that into her book and make that happen in the space of a few days and actually make it believable. I really always believed the love story very much. It was interesting. Someone actually said to me not so long ago, "Do you think this really could have happened?" Well, the answer is I don't know. But I was absolutely taken by the story. And I think is an actor, you absolutely have to believe in what's happening to your character and the characters themselves to be able to put your full self behind it. And that was never a challenge for me. I really do believe that you can actually meet somebody and really fall in love with them very quickly. I do believe that. And I also think that because the ending of the film is such, we really do know that this was true love. This wasn't some random crazy, you know, sweaty four days. It really was very, very real for both of them.
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
Let Streaming Genie help you.