On the heels of the buzzy trailer debut for her new drama, Ammonite, Kate Winslet sat down for a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter in which the actress discusses various topics—collaborating with Ammonite co-star Saoirse Ronan to choreograph their own sex scenes, working with filmmakers ousted as sexual predators, returning to the set amid the coronavirus pandemic (“Oh fuck, I’ve forgotten how to act,” she jokes), and her role in the upcoming Avatar sequels.
There’s a point of interest for everyone in this interview with Winslet, who stars in Ammonite as Mary Anning, a real-life fossil hunter (like honestly this part is so cool you could just stop explaining the plot right there) who embarks on a romantic relationship in the 1840s with a young married woman played by Ronan. Directed by Francis Lee (God’s Own Country), the film is set to debut at the Toronto Film Festival. As intimacy coordinators have become more common on film sets in the wake of the #MeToo movement, it’s interesting to learn that Winslet and Ronan choreographed the sex scenes themselves. Winslet, whose filmography includes several notable sex scenes, says Ammonite is “the proudest I’ve ever felt doing a love scene”:
It’s definitely not like eating a sandwich. I just think Saoirse and I, we just felt really safe. Francis (Lee, the director) was naturally very nervous. And I just said to him, ‘Listen, let us work it out.’ And we did. ‘We’ll start here. We’ll do this with the kissing, boobs, you go down there, then you do this, then you climb up here.’ I mean, we marked out the beats of the scene so that we were anchored in something that just supported the narrative. I felt the proudest I’ve ever felt doing a love scene on Ammonite. And I felt by far the least self-conscious.
Okay, but let’s get to the good stuff: All those Avatar sequels (four? Five? Who can remember). The very ambitious, largely CGI films reunite Winslet with Titanic filmmaker and water-obsessive James Cameron, and while little is known of the sequels’ plots aside from “underwater stuff,” the actress was able to confirm her role—kind of. “I play a water person. I am a water person,” she says of her character, whose name is apparently “Ronal” (...McDonal?). Winslet also says she had to learn how to “free-dive” since so much of the film is set underwater. “My longest breath hold was seven minutes and 14 seconds,” says Winslet, who just moved up on our list of “actors we’d do heists with.”