Compiled by: Jack Foley
Kate Winslets professional and personal life could not
be on a better track currently. She is earning some of the best
reviews of her career for her role as crazy-haired romantic, Clementine
Kruczynski, opposite Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless
Q. How are you managing to juggle motherhood and your very
hot current movie career?
A. I frankly would like to ask the majority of mothers who
have 9 to 5 jobs how the hell they do it because Ive never
had to do that. Admittedly, when Im working, its on
a film set and Im up at 5.30am and gone from the house at
6am, and, more often than not, you get back around dinner/bath-time.
But honestly, the way I do it is, I dont do it that much.
From the outside looking in, when a movie comes out, you imagine
that person has been working back to back. Ive got two films
coming out this year, the other is Neverland, which I did last
year, and, from the outside looking in, it seems shes
been so busy, but, in actual fact, thats not the case
and I really stick to this thing of doing one film a year. Maybe
two, if the shooting schedule is very short.
Q. Do you ever feel that you dont work enough?
A. Absolutely not. I love it because when I go to work, Im
really excited about it and it means I have lots of time to prepare
and to chill out afterwards. Its so exhausting and incredibly
hard work. You dont just turn up on day one and it all comes
I always prepare myself as well as I possibly can, which takes
up time and energy. Im so lucky that I can choose not to
do it all the time, and lucky to have the choice in terms of the
roles I play. So that makes me appreciate it all the more.
Q. Was making Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind especially
A. I swear to God some days I felt like John Cleese. Id
be like, just stop moving. You know, when you watch
him in Fawlty Towers, and you just want to grab him and force
him to keep his feet on the ground and stay still. And Clementine
was a little like that.
She was exhausting, maybe because she has so many layers and emotional
levels that she hits at different points in the film, but also
because of the unorthodox way in which the story is told. You
very much had to know what you were doing every single day, and
sometimes wed have really long pages of dialogue, a scene
of 11 or 12 pages long, which is virtually unheard of in a movie
Thats a lot of hard work. You have to learn all those lines
way in advance, so that when you get to the take, you dont
blow one because youve forgotten what your next line is.
So it was quite exhausting, but so much fun I was happy to be
Q. Your director, Michel Gondry, says that, like Clementine,
youre headstrong, passionate and unpredictable. Are you?
A. Yep. I am most definitely passionate and headstrong. My
dad loves telling us stories, over and over again, about what
our childbirth experiences were like for him and my mother, and,
apparently, I came shooting out, cord round the neck, screaming
my head off, ready for action.
So I guess Im both of those things. And, I suppose, Im
a bit unpredictable, too. I dont like planning too much.
Normally, actors who are asked what theyre doing next say,
Well, next Im doing so and so and after that Im
doing blah. Im just not like that. I dont know
whats going to be happening in my life in a years
time, and that always for me comes first. I like to keep it like
that. Its fun and does make life more exciting.
Q. Clementines kind of punky; dying her hair a different
colour every day. Did you ever go through that kind of phase?
A. Oh yeah. I mean, who didnt go through that, you know?
It wasnt necessarily a punk phase, but I definitely went
through periods of wanting to shave my head or dye my hair. I
never shaved my head, but I definitely mixed my own packets of
peroxide, and put big fat streaks of blonde in my hair. And you
experiment with crazy clothes when you are younger. Its
all part of kind of self-exploration and expression. And, to me,
thats what Clementine had that was so much fun. It was almost
like she was going through her teenage rebellion ten years too
late, so it was great to sort of re-visit a bit of that for me.
Q. Did you improvise much on set?
A. We did a lot of improvising in rehearsal. Charlie Kaufman,
the writer, and Michel were in the rehearsal room with Jim and
I, and theyd often send us off on these crazy improvisational
tangents - Do an improv that Clementine is moving into Joels
apartment and see where that takes you.
And Charlie would say, I love that thought, or I
love that line, and hed go off and write a new scene.
There was a bit of ad-libbing, but hardly any, because the brilliant
thing about Charlie, as a writer, is that you just feel as if
those are simply the words these people are saying.
Every single, I...er...I dont know (pause). Fuck.
(She sits down. sighs....), everything kind of made sense.
To say that it came naturally is almost the wrong _expression,
but it felt really natural, because it was just brilliantly crafted
and that was a real luxury for us to have.
Q. You have great chemistry with Jim Carrey and it seems you
have had innate chemistry with all your leading men. Is there
anything you attribute that to?
A. I dont know if its a skill, but I have been
really lucky. Ive always got on with every actor Ive
had to work opposite. I just always try and be as accepting of
that person as I possibly can, and remain non-judgmental about
their process, because every actor works in a different way.
I would never criticise an actor for the way they create that
performance. Jim and I just really got on. I was amazed at how
normal he is, and hes very, very professional and very funny
too, and a brilliant impressionist. He did a Jack Nicholson impersonation
that was so uncanny.
Q. What about the premise of rubbing out memories of a past
relationship? Can you relate to that?
A. I can relate to it, in the sense that some people would
wish to do that, but I just never would. Weve all been through
good and bad times in our lives, and just for me, personally,
Ive always felt that those things have made me stronger,
even if it was just being bullied as a kid at school. Im
kind of grateful for all those things, even though that sounds
a bit twisted. I just wouldnt erase anything.
Q. Do you still feel overshadowed by Titanic in any sense?
A. Im now able to be far more grateful than ever for
the Titanic experience. Id love for my daughter Mia to be
able to see it, but shes still too young. I heard that one
of her little friends, whos five, was watching it at Christmas.
And, apparently, she said: "Look, Mias Mummy is hanging
off the boat."
To me, that is a great thing. I just loved the fact that I was
Mias Mummy. and she wasnt remotely interested in the
character names or anything like that. It was just Mias
Mummy playing dress-up and pretending to be somebody else!