Winslet and Co. become children

Kate Winslet and her co-star, Patrick Wilson, sat down with “The Temple News” to discuss their new drama “Little Children,” as well as diversifying film roles and Hollywood hype.

“The script was fantastic,” Winslet said.

“It was very real about human beings, life and parenting.”

“Little Children” focuses on Sarah(Winslet)
and Brad (Wilson) – two parents who find themselves having an affair in a nosey and judgmental New England suburb.

The film is directed by Todd Field, coming
off his 2001 Academy Award nomination for Best Director for “In the Bedroom.”

It was adapted from Tom Perrotta’s novel by the same name and the screenplay co-written by Perrotta and Field.

Winslet is described by the film’s narrator
as plain and boyish. Although audiences don’t view Winslet this way, Field begged to differ.

“You don’t think of Kate as plain because she’s a movie star,” Field said. “Kate is a beautiful human being, in terms of what comes out of her. But if she wasn’t a movie star and she walked down the street, she’d be a pleasant-looking woman. I don’t think physically you’d think of her walking down a catwalk in a fashion show.

“Casting Wilson as his male lead wasn’t difficult for Field. The actor, who is only previously known for his Emmy-nominated role in “Angels in America,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Hard Candy,” was actually recommended to Field by Winslet, who raved about his performance in “Angels.”

“I said you have to see it,” Winslet said.

“He’s absolutely perfect and, if you don’t mind me saying so, a relative unknown.”

Wilson emitted a chuckle. “Goddamn,” he said, clearly embarrassed by Winslet’s word choice. But it seemed that he was exactly
what Field was hoping for.

“His character is a boy-man of sorts, but I didn’t want to get a boy-man actor,” said Field. “We’ve got this glut of these leading men who are boys. I wanted a guy like when I grew up and was watching movies, like Newman or Redford. When I sat down with him I thought – there’s the guy.”

Apparently, being sought out was a new experience for Wilson.

“This wasn’t one of those scripts that was being bandied around Hollywood,” Wilson
said. “So many times, I get a script and they say, ‘Well, they’ve been trying to make this for a long time and here’s a list of the people who have turned it down.'”

One thing that certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by audiences is Winslet’s knack for tackling different roles. Winslet felt that she would have another new persona under her belt with Sarah.

“She’s just completely different,” Winslet
said. “She’s nothing like Clementine, she’s nothing like Marianne Dashwood and she’s certainly nothing like Rose in …”Titanic.”

And there it is – Winslet’s only mention of the film that brought her to fame and, no doubt, a spot in cinema history, during the entire interview. She’s even hesitant to speak the title. Wilson chided his co-star with a lilting, “Rose, Rose,” to which Winslet told him to “shut up.”

“I’ve played mothers before, but I’ve played mothers who have been decent mothers,”continued Winslet. “I’ve never played somebody who was struggling in that role. And I’m not like that myself. It was hard to have qualities of a parent that I did not respect at all.”

Winslet and Wilson had to double as parents and directors on-set, as their two on-screen children, played by 3-year-olds, served as one of production’s main obstacles.

“There were no doubles, and [the kids] are in 40 percent of the production,” said Field. He remarked that they were only allowed to film with the children for six hours a day, and that factor nearly doubled their production schedule.

“Anything with the kids, [Winslet and Wilson]were directing as much as I was.”

As for more flirtations with Oscar for Winslet, she’s not getting caught up in the hype.

“I don’t read reviews. It’s a sort of means of survival for me that I don’t do that,” Winslet said.

“I’m in this state of blissful ignorance at the moment, which is great.”

Jesse North can be reached at

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