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Friday, 25 February, 2000, 08:29 GMT
Kate's Kinky new film

hideous kinky
Hideous Kinky: Kate Winslet with co-stars Carrie Mullan and Bella Riza

When Kate Winslet started work on the film Hideous Kinky, she was single and relatively unknown outside Britain.

Now the film is being released in her home country, she is one of the world's biggest film stars - and she is married to the film's assistant director.

Her sudden celebrity is down to the Hollywood blockbuster Titanic, but the film she chose to follow it with couldn't have been more different.

Hideous Kinky is based on the memoirs of writer Bella Freud, and follows a young mother's attempt to bring up two young children in early 1970s Morocco.

titanic The way she was: With Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic
Gone are the glamorous outfits of Titanic - but this was a refreshing change for the 23-year-old from Reading, Berkshire.

"I'm not saying I want to avoid Hollywood like the plague, but I don't want to be the kind of actor who does lots and lots of big films.

"I love acting and I always want to love acting and I think I can be quite destructive to just do those big things.

"I'm an English actor and just because I've done one really big film doesn't mean I don't want to keep a finger very heavily in the British film industry. That was part of the decision I made about doing Hideous Kinky."

Life before Titanic
Kate Winslet's first acting job was in an ad for Sugar Puffs breakfast cereal, dancing with Honey Monster, aged 13.
She played one of two teenage murderers in her film debut, Heavenly Creatures.
She earned an Oscar nomination for Sense And Sensibility three months after her 20th birthday.
Titanic won 11 Oscars, and the world's most expensive film shot Winslet to worldwide fame. She admits she was taken aback by the sudden attention.

"It's an extraordinary and bizarre thing, I'm as fascinated by fame as everybody is. I think, 'I'm famous' and it just seems daft. I don't quite understand it, I haven't quite got to grips with it, and I don't think I ever will because it's not really me."

Indeed, she says her favourite activities include "walking, going to the pub and visiting my family".

But fame can make living her old life harder - as can keeping out of the press spotlight.

"The privacy thing is obviously something you have to contend with. You have to think about everything you do. You have to be careful," she says.

But she managed to outwit the press when she married her husband Jim Threapleton, who was assistant director on Hideous Kinky.

kate winslet and jim threapleton Avoiding the press: Getting married to Jim Threapleton
The pair married in a private ceremony in Reading in front of around 150 family and friends - and well away from the press, thanks to a trail of subterfuge laid by the bride and her family.

She said of her husband: "When you know, you know - that's what I have been told all my life - and now I know. I knew instantly. I thought, 'I'll have that.'"

Before filming Hideous Kinky, which is being released simultaneously in the UK and US, Winslet was only too happy to travel to Morocco to join the production team to get to know the area - and to get under the skin of her character.

She says: "I really wanted to go. It was brilliant. I thought, 'God, I want to be there and I want to drive around in a dusty vehicle,' because it's what my character would have done."

She found dealing with her screen daughters, Carrie Mullan and Bella Riza, a challenge. She said: "I had to be firm with the children sometimes, and that was very, very, tricky."

kate winslet Hideous Kinky: She endeared herself to her screen daughters
But she endeared herself to them, and Carrie's mother Cathy says she still keeps in touch with her daughter.

She said: "Kate was wonderful. At the time she was not the big star she is now, and to Carrie she was just her friend Kate who played her mum."

Winslet insists that what she does is just an ordinary job. It's a vocation that runs in the family: her parents are stage actors, her grandparents managed a theatre and she is the niece of the late West End stage actor Robert Bridges.

Despite her background - she says she didn't set out to be a film star.

"I'm not one, I've never aimed to be one. I love my job too much.

"Being a film star is a label and seems to me not to be about whether you are a good actor, but about the size of your breasts, the size of your body, whether you've had a facelift or a nose job," she says.

"Frankly, none of that stuff interests me."

Hideous Kinky opens at cinemas across Britain from Friday 5 February.
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See also:
11 Jan 99 |  Entertainment
Titanic still People's Choice
22 Nov 98 |  Entertainment
Titanic star in low-key wedding
24 Mar 98 |  Oscars
Oscars under way

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