Kate Winslet debuted her latest movie, “Lee,” to instant Oscar buzz at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Oscar winner produced the film and stars as the famed World War II photographer and journalist Lee Miller. In a new Vogue cover story, Winslet details the years-long journey it took to get a movie made about Miller. She said many male executives would patronize her as she was trying to get the necessary funding together to make “Lee.”
“The men who think you want and need their help are unbelievably outraging,” Winslet said. “I’ve even had a director say to me: ‘Listen, you do my film and I’ll get your little ‘Lee’ funded…’ Little! Or we’d have potential male investors saying things like: ‘Tell me, why am I supposed to like this woman?'”
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The revelation led to a question about whether or not the #MeToo movement had created real change in Hollywood, to which Winslet enthusiastically answered yes.
“Oh, my God! This is the best part,” Winslet said. “Young actresses now — fuck me — they are unafraid. It makes me so proud. And I think, Yes, all the shit flinging, all the struggle, all the using my voice for years, often being finger-pointed at and laughed at — I don’t give a shit! It was all bloody worth it. Because the culture is changing in the way that I couldn’t in my wildest dreams have imagined in my 20s.”
On the first day of filming “Lee” in the French port of Saint-Malo, Winslet slipped while running and injured her back. “I had three massive hematomas on my spine, huge,” the actor said. “I could barely stand up.” But she refused to let the production get delayed, even paying out of pocket the cast and crew’s wages for two weeks when financing hit a speed bump. She also refused to let the injury impact scenes in the film in which she appears topless or in a bikini top. The injury prevented her from working out for the scenes.
“You know I had to be really fucking brave about letting my body be its softest version of itself and not hiding from that,” Winslet said about the film’s nude scenes. “And believe me, people amongst our own team would say, ‘You might just want to sit up a bit.’ And I’d go, ‘Why? [Because of] the bit of flesh you can see? No, that’s the way it’s going to be!’”
Winslet said she ignores media attention around her nude scenes after “having been subjected to the most awful scrutiny and judgment, and, actually, I would go so far as to say bullying, from mainstream media when I was in my 20s,” alluding to the body shaming that she battled after “Titanic” opened.
“I was consistently told I was the wrong shape,” Winslet added about her start in movies. “I was consistently told I would have to settle for less.”
“I know better than to waste precious energy on criticizing my physical self,” she added. “I think any woman is better off just saying: I believe in myself. It doesn’t matter what other people think; this is who I am — let’s get on with it.”
“Lee” is currently seeking distribution.
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