Kate Winslet is set to return to the big screen this week as she stars in Alan Rickman's period drama A Little Chaos.
The movie will see Winslet reunite with Rickman as actors and it will be the first time that she has worked with him as a director. Winslet and Rickman are joined on the cast list by Matthias Schoenaerts, Helen McCrory, Stanley Tucci, and Steven Waddington.
We caught up with Kate in London for an exclusive chat about the film, tackling the role of Sabine, and working with Rickman once again.
- You take on the role of Sabine De Barra in A Little Chaos, so what was about this role and the script that was the major draw?
When I first read the script for A Little Chaos, I just loved reading it, as it is a really lovely, accessible, contemporary period film. At the heart of it is this beautiful love story. I hadn't been in a period film for a long time and I hadn't played a character with an English accent for a very long time. So, for me, I was very excited about that.
I love the character of Sabine as she is very very strong, she is a very determined woman, she is very joyful and positive, and I don't think we often see that these days in films.
She is extremely open hearted, bohemian, and none conforming in the way that she thinks and the way that she functions in her life. I have huge admiration for her as a character and I was really looking forward to the experience of playing her.
- As you say she is very bohemian and free-spirted, and yet she has overcome so much personally.
Yes, she has. She overcomes a great deal, as you say, and she has suffered some grief in her life, which she has somehow managed to move beyond enough that she is able to function, exist, and still be that positive person.
I did really admire the fact that she is not wallowing in that grief, she isn't depressed, she is moving on, and she has learnt to live and cope with it. Also, to still pour creativity and positivity into her life and the job that she does and to be so self-sufficient, which I really admired as well.
- A Little Chaos sees you reunite with Alan Rickman as an actor and directed by him for the first time. How did you find the experience of working with him as both an actor and a director?
I loved it. He was very very collaborative. He is a really kind and calm man; similarly as a director, he is kind and calm, which as an actor you need because we all get a little bit frightened from time to time. As an actor, he is just so skilled that it is absurd really. I just loved spending time with him and learning from him.
He really steered the ship and was the team leader and everyone adored the experience of being a part of the film.
- There was clear enthusiasm for the work and the material in the words that Alan Rickman said at the premiere last night and in every frame of this film. How infectious was that enthusiasm from the director as an actor?
It is everything. We always say this on film sets - actually, it was just said on the film set I have come from with Danny Boyle - it does absolutely start at the top and the director sets the tone. If the director is an unpleasant person to be around, everyone is miserable, no one wants to be there, and no one wants to try their best.
A smart director will acknowledge those things and do their best to be a good person. Alan really did set the tone for all of us and everyone was so happy to be there, wanted to be there every day, and wanted to give him their best.
- I believe that you spent some time with landscape consultant Lesley Moors prior to starting filming. How useful was that in the development of the character?
It was incredibly useful. I don't know much about gardening but, if there is one thing that I do know, you have roll up your sleeves and get dirty. I knew that that was going to be the most important thing for me when playing this character.
And so, I was constantly shoving my sleeves up and getting myself as muddy as I could. In fact, I would say to the other actors 'your trousers look way too clean, go and roll in that puddle. Get on your knees and rub the mud in.' Everyone was trashing their costumes because I told them to, which was quite funny.
Working with Lesley was tremendously helpful because she was able to say 'actually, you look too studied pruning that plant in that way, it would be more like this.' It was very helpful to have her around for those tips.