Before sparkling on the big screen at 17 as Juliet Hulme, an obsessive teenager accomplice of murder in Peter Jackson's based-on-a-true-story Heavenly Creatures, Kate Winslet had already made appearances on British television in series such as Dark Season and Get Back. Prior to the release of Heavenly Creatures, Kate accepted a role in the Disney movie A Kid In King Arthur's Court, playing Princess Sarah. The film is based on a story by Mark Twain.
In 1996, at just 19 years old, Kate received her first Academy Award nomination (Best Supporting Actress) for her performance as Marianne Dashwood in the 1995 critically-acclaimed hit film Sense And Sensibility, directed by Ang Lee and starring Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant. Based on Jane Austen's novel, it follows the story of the Dashwood family.
Jude came out that same year, starring alongside Christopher Eccleston in this adaptation of Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure" as Jude Fawley's intellectual cousin Sue Bridehead. Still in 1996, actor/director/screenwriter Kenneth Branagh offered Kate the role of Ophelia in his adaptation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, to this day still considered the best of versions. It was while filming this that Kate learned that she had been rewarded with a role for which she had campaigned diligently: Rose DeWitt Bukater in James Cameron's Titanic. The film is the most successful motion picture in history, grossing over $600 million in the United States and over $1 billion worldwide. Kate made history when she received her second Academy Award nomination (Best Actress) for Titanic. She was only 22 years old when she received the nomination in 1998, making her the youngest actor (male or female) to be nominated twice (she still holds the title).
Kate turned down several offers to star in big-budget films (Shakespeare In Love and Anna And The King) in order to play adventurous soul searchers in Hideous Kinky, based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Esther Freud and Holy Smoke. The former cast her as a young single mother traveling through 1960s Morocco with her daughters in tow; the latter, as a zealous follower of a guru tricked into a "deprogramming" session in the Australian outback, co-starring Harvey Keitel and directed by Jane Campion.
In the fall of 1999, she found herself back in period dress in Quills, in which she plays the intellectually in love with infamous author Marquis de Sade chambermaid Madeleine Le Clerc; Directed by Philip Kaufman and co-starring Geoffrey Rush, Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix.
Kate was about half-way through her first pregnancy while shooting Enigma, from April 17 to June 29 of 2000. She plays Hester Wallace, a plain but indefatigable young woman, who is asked for help by Tom Jericho (played by Dougray Scott), whose work of trying to break the Nazi's Enigma code is interrupted when his former girlfriend and Hester's classmate, Claire Romilly (Saffron Burrows), disappears. The film is based on the best-selling novel by Robert Harris and was directed by Michael Apted.
In March of 2001 she accepted the role of young Iris Murdoch in Iris, the biography of revered Irish author and philosopher who suffered from Alzheimer's Disease. Dame Judi Dench took the lead role, playing Iris in her older years. Jim Broadbent co-starred as Iris's husband, the literary critic John Bayley, who wrote the memoir "Elegy For Iris". Hugh Bonneville played the young Bayley. The film was directed by acclaimed theater director Sir Richard Eyre. Kate's work in this film earned her Golden Globe, Golden Satellite and BAFTA nominations for Best Supporting Actress, and her third Academy Award nomination.
Kate signed on to The Life Of David Gale in September of 2001. Alan Parker directed this feature, which story follows a Texas University professor, Dr. David Gale (played by Kevin Spacey), an advocate for the abolishment of capital punishment, who is convicted of the rape and murder of another activist (Laura Linney). The film is told in flashbacks with a female reporter (Winslet) interviewing Gale on death row. She then races against time to learn the truth about the murder.
In early 2004, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind hit the theatres. This project, in which Kate stars alongside Jim Carrey and that was written by Charlie Kaufman, is about a guy who is stunned to discover that his girlfriend has had her memories of their tumultuous relationship erased and, out of desperation, he contracts the inventor of the process to have her removed from his own memory as well. Her performance as Clementine Kruczynski is ranked #81 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006). This role also granted her her fourth Academy Award nomination (Best Actress).
Filmed in the summer of 2002 and released in late 2004, Finding Neverland has Kate and Johnny Depp working together. It is based on the play "The Man Who Was Peter Pan", which focuses on how Pan's author J.M. Barrie was inspired to write his story after bonding with four fatherless children who lived next door to him in 1800's London. Kate plays the children's mother, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and Julie Christie co-stars as Kate's mother. She was nominated for a BAFTA.
Romance & Cigarettes was released in 2005. James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon and Steve Buscemi star along with Kate in this "dark comic musical" written and directed by John Turturro. Kate plays "the other woman" in Gandolfini's life, described by Kate as "a brazen hussy". Production began in New York during March of 2004; Kate filmed her first scenes in the last week of April and completed principal photography of her scenes in late May.
2006 was a busy year for Kate, with four projects out. All The King's Men opened at Toronto Film Festival in September, it has Kate as Anne Stanton in this second making of the film based on Robert Penn Warren's 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by the same name. The novel is inspired by the life of Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long. Followed by the controversial Little Children, directed by Todd Field and based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, it tells the story of a group of young marrieds, whose lives intersect on the playgrounds, town pools and streets of their small community in surprising and potentially dangerous ways. Kate plays Sarah, wife of an internet porn addict and unhappy mother who begins a torrid affair with a married man.
On a brighter side, Kate lent her voice to mouse Rita in DreamWorks' CGI-animation Flushed Away, which also has the voices of Hugh Jackman and Sir Ian McKellen.
Her first romantic comedy is The Holiday. Kate plays Iris, an English woman who swap homes with Cameron Diaz's Amanda, both troubled with guy-problems. It also has Jack Black and Jude Law to fulfill the cast of this Nancy Meyers' Christmas flick.
In 2007, Kate reunites with fellow Titanic actors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kathy Bates in the adaptation of Richard Yates' acclaimed 1961 novel Revolutionary Road. The 1950s drama revolves around a suburban Connecticut couple whose relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations. Sam Mendes, Winslet's husband takes the direction.
With the end of 2008, came The Reader, directed by Stephen Daldry (The Hours) and adapted from the book by Bernhard Schlink. It opens in post-WWII Germany when teenager Michael Berg becomes ill and is helped home by Hanna, a stranger twice his age. The two quickly drawn into a passionate but secretive affair.
In early 2009, Kate began shooting Peter Farrelly's film segment Movie 43 along with Flushed Away co-star Hugh Jackman, with a release set to April 13, 2012.
As soon as 2010 began, we learned that Kate would be a part of Steven Soderbergh's latest blockbuster and star-filled Contagion, which also stars Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon and Laurence Fishburne. The film tells is an action-thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak.
In early 2011, Kate filmed in France along with Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly the new Roman Polanski's movie, Carnage. The film is an adaptation of Yasmina Reza's play God Of Carnage and tells the story of two sets of parents who decide to have a cordial meeting after their sons are involved in a schoolyard brawl.
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