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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 07:51 GMT 08:51 UK
Winslet takes on suburban life
By Manoush Zomorodi
BBC News, New York

Kate Winslet in Little Children
Kate Winslet is receiving praise for her role in Little Children
Kate Winslet stars in the drama Little Children, which is being shown as part of the 50th London Film Festival. It's one of four films starring the actress coming to cinemas this autumn.

Winslet also appears in the remake of the political drama All The King's Men, lends her voice to the animated Flushed Away, and stars opposite Cameron Diaz in her first romantic comedy, The Holiday.

But critics predict only one role will merit an Oscar nomination: Winslet's portrayal of an unsatisfied American housewife in Little Children.

The 31-year-old plays Sarah Pierce, a young mother who feels trapped by suburbia and embarks on an affair with a young father she meets at the playground.

Winslet's performance in Little Children has quickly won back the critics' love after she disappointed them with All the King's Men.

Over the past decade Winslet has collected four Oscar nominations but has never taken home Hollywood's top prize.

I don't believe that actors and actresses should look perfect in movies - I'm very proud of the marks and the scars that I have
Kate Winslet

She refuses to speculate on her chances this year and says she pays no mind to the critics' opinions of any of her films.

"I'm sort of blissfully ignorant about what people say about movies. I don't read reviews of movies I'm in," she says.

"I think it's destructive and pointless to worry about the success of a movie or worry what people will say about it - or whether it gets Academy Award nominations, which is an enormous honour and I'm grateful to have been in that position in the past.

"But you can't pin your hopes on those things because no one is going to absolutely love a movie that you're in 100% across the board."

Reality check

Winslet does admit to being mystified by all the attention the media has paid to the nudity (and stretch marks) she exhibits in Little Children.

She has a reputation for not giving in to industry pressures regarding weight and appearance.

Winslet says that both she and her character are mothers and so she had no intention of ever disguising any anatomical flaws.

Kate Winslet in Little Children
Kate Winslet's co-star in Little Children is Patrick Wilson

"I don't believe that actors and actresses should look perfect in movies. I'm very proud of the marks and the scars that I have," Winslet explains.

"And I actually think it's quite important to hang on to the sense of reality in making films.

"I certainly don't want teenage girls in movies looking absolutely perfect all the time with flawless skin and a flawless body. It's just not reality."

But Winslet talks openly about how much she enjoys family life and motherhood and therefore struggled to relate to the character of Sarah Pierce at times.

"She's nothing like me. I found it hard respecting her choices as a parent," Winslet says.

"This is a woman who didn't have a bond with her child, didn't know how to love her and be everything she needed her to be - so that was very hard for me to act because that's not at all what I'm like as a parent. Nor as a wife, thank God."

Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes
Kate Winslet and director Sam Mendes married in June 2003

Despite being happily married to director Sam Mendes, Winslet acknowledges that she has felt trapped in her personal life in the past.

"There were things about Sarah I very much identified with. This place in her life where she's feeling very stuck and lost and doesn't know how to move on and to desperately figure out who she is.

"These are things I've absolutely gone through in various stages in my life when I was younger."

Winslet has proved she can play an everyday American mother in Little Children.

Her next role in The Holiday proved equally challenging. She plays a contemporary English woman but without any really transforming costume or make-up, leading her to exclaim to one New York newspaper, "Damn! I can't hide behind anything. It's just me!"

Little Children is released in the UK and US on 3 November. The Holiday and Flushed Away are out in the UK in December.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Kate Winslet on her role in Little Children



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