KATE WINSLET. HOLY SMOKE. November 30, 1999 (negative)
  • Golden Globe Awards

Oral History: Kate Winslet on Emma Thompson

Kate Winslet plays 19th-century British paleontologist Mary Anning in Ammonite, written and directed by Francis Lee, her mother is played by Gemma Jones, who had also played her mother in Sense and Sensibility (1995) directed by from the novel by Jane Austen. She spoke to HFPA journalists back then about working with Emma Thompson, who had written the screenplay adaptation of that film and was playing her older sister.

“I knew that Emma was adapting Sense and Sensibility and had always wanted to work with her because I remember watching The Tall Guy with my younger sister Beth when I was about ten-years-old and thinking, ‘My God, this is such a ballsy, brilliant actress. I’d love to work with her one day.’ So that was the driving force behind it really.”

“It was absolutely totally and utterly overwhelming and honestly there was not a day that went by when we were filming Sense and Sensibility that I didn’t sit there and think, ‘What on earth am I doing here?’I wanted to be on the phone to my mother. ‘Mum, come and get me. I shouldn’t be here. They’ve cast the wrong person, I’m sure.’ I mean, there’s Emma Thompson, there’s Hugh Grant, Imelda Staunton, Imogen Stubbs, Alan Rickman, all these wonderful actors that I always respected and admired and suddenly I’m working with them and I’m thinking, ‘Something has gone wrong here.’”

“The thing about Emma is that she’s a wonderful actress, but as a person, she is just extraordinary, and she’s absolutely herself, you know, there’s none of this film star glitzy stuff. She’s very much part of the team and somehow just that presence that she had did make everybody feel so relaxed and so comfortable. Em and I did become very much like sisters and, in fact, still now we really are.”

“Every morning Emma and I and Ang Lee would do meditation together, Tai Chi, deep breathing exercises, and massage as well, because Ang’s theory behind massage is that you’re not just releasing somebody else’s stress but you’re actually putting something of yourself into that person.So Emma and I would do this a lot, because, obviously, it was very important that we were joined and connected spiritually for these characters and for their relationship as sisters. Emma and I, we would often sit down and say, ‘God, we’re so happy.’ Working on that film with Emma was a wonderful thing, it was a real blessing.”