Thursday, Apr. 30, 2009

Kate Winslet

I worked with Kate on her first movie, Heavenly Creatures, in 1993. She was 17 years old, and people are always asking me, "Did you have any idea she'd become a movie star?" To be truthful, I did. It was evident to everyone who worked on the movie that Kate was going to have a huge career.

When we cast Kate, she had been making sandwiches in a London lunch bar in between auditions for film and TV work. Kate instantly impressed us with her fierce intelligence, her mature view of the world (which was way beyond her years) and, above all, her courage as an actor. Kate is fearless; her willingness to take risks, unflinching honesty and ability to slip inside the skin of a character and bring flawed and real people to life onscreen are rare talents. She commits 110% to a role. You cannot ask for more.

My family and I have seen Kate, 33, socially over the years, and I'm always delighted to find her unchanged by all the nuttiness that surrounds movie actors. She's always been the Kate we know and love, a down-to-earth person with a wicked sense of humor who will happily lie on the floor playing with the kids.

Back in 1993, we had a strong sense of what was in store for Kate, but it took a while. Miramax delayed the release of Heavenly Creatures for almost a year, and we had no choice but to wait for the film's premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Kate was right on the cusp of a wonderful career, but for a few months, she couldn't get work and had to return to her job at the lunch bar. It must have been terribly frustrating for her, but Kate never does anything she doesn't believe in, and I bet they were fantastic sandwiches!

Jackson's next film, The Lovely Bones, will be released Dec. 11