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Kate Winslet interview

AN ENGLISH ENIGMA

AN ENGLISH ENIGMA


Kate Winslet has the starring role in the new blockbuster Enigma - and it is exactly the word that seems to describe her at the moment.

Until recently, her image was one of a down-to-earth actress who was very different from the usual Hollywood star. Despite her leading role in the massive hit Titanic, she seemed to thrive in her domestic roles as a wife and mother.

But a few weeks ago she announced that she had separated from her husband Jim Threapleton, father to her daughter Mia, amid reports that he had found his wife's fame and earning power hard to deal with and resented having to become a "house husband'' while she furthered her career.

The announcement of the split came just after Winslet, 25, had been pictured on the cover of a glossy magazine sporting a stunning new slimline figure - the result of shedding the four stones she had gained during her pregnancy with baby Mia - just weeks prior to the break-up.

"I wanted to fit into my leather trousers," said the actress when she unveiled her new look, in stark contrast to her attitude in the past when she seemed almost proud of her curvaceous figure.

Her separation from Threapleton was also a bolt from the blue as in the past she has waxed lyrical about her husband.

The couple met on the set of Hideous Kinky, where he was a member of the crew. They married in a low-key ceremony at Winslet's local church in Reading, Berks, in 1998. The service was followed by a reception in a country pub where Winslet dined on sausages and mash.

Winslet has said little about the split, only insisting: "This is an absolutely amicable separation and it's a mutual decision between both of us. Jim and I have great respect for each other. There is no malice at all. It is extremely sad. Jim and I are both talking constantly. Mia remains the happy child that she has always been."

Threapleton has also avoided any mud-slinging, saying: "Kate is a spectacular mother. We are in constant contact and looking to have a positive future with Mia. That's the only important thing at the moment."

But the actress has ruled out any chance of reconciliation - although she has denied speculation about a possible relationship with her co-star in Enigma, Dougray Scott.

Ever since she burst on to our screens at the age of 16 as a murderous schoolgirl in Heavenly Creatures, Winslet seemed to buck the trend for glamour with her eclectic choice of roles.

In her latest film Enigma, she dons frumpy garb to play Hester Wallace, a young woman who finds herself falling for a brilliant young Second World War code breaker at Bletchley Park.

Hester's bespectacled ugly duckling appearance would have put off most young actresses, but Winslet leapt at the chance to appear in the film.

"I was really attracted to the wartime setting of the story," she enthuses. "It's an adventure set in such a sexy time - with young people determined to live for the moment.

"In some ways I compare my character Hester to George in Enid Blyton's The Famous Five - she enjoys adventure and won't stop till she gets a result and, in the end, she helps save the day."

The actress was pregnant with Mia while filming Enigma, which called for some tricky camera work from the director Michael Apted.

"I was five-and-a-half months pregnant at the time and it was very noticeable so I was filmed mainly from the waist up or behind furniture hiding my stomach," she recalls.

Enigma had the added attraction that the executive producer was Mick Jagger. "He was wonderful. He was very involved and hands-on but in a very positive way," she says.

"He was on the set a lot more than I expected him to be. He wasn't just producing because he liked the idea of it - it was very important to him.

"It was a project he felt really passionate about and it was nice to have him there every day. It was quite funny sometimes when we were standing about in muddy fields and there was Mick Jagger in his Wellingtons, too.

"He was very sweet and what really impressed me was that to help us get into the mood of the film he made up compilation CDs of 1940s music for us. It was fantastic. I thought that was very thoughtful and helpful.

"Making Enigma was a brilliant experience and I had so much fun."

Although her marriage is at an end, it is unlikely to change her attitude to her daughter Mia. She has always been a devoted mother.

"She's absolutely gorgeous and completely changed my life. I've stopped smoking, I think I'm a calmer person, definitely not as hectic. I always wanted to be a young mum because I wanted to be able to enjoy my child when I'm young and active."

Coincidentally she has recorded a song about a doomed romance which is being tipped for a Christmas hit. The ballad What If from the soundtrack of her new movie Christmas Carol is likely to be released in November to tie in with the film.

It seems that we are going to be hearing a lot more of Ms Winslet.


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