Kate Winslet is someone who has always been vocal about her experiences as a high-profile woman working in Hollywood. She’s never felt like she fit the mold of what the entertainment industry was looking for, but she never let that stop her from becoming a powerful force and an Academy Award winner.
Her latest film, Ammonite, about the life of British paleontologist Mary Anning, who falls in love with British geologist Charlotte Murchison, helped open her eyes to the responsibility she has as a public figure. She found that playing Anning, who made “pioneering discoveries in the fossil world,” challenged her in a way she had never experienced as an actress. Because her scientific work was done in the 1800s, Anning often had her work stolen by “men would buy her finds and claim them as their own discoveries, actually put their names on them.”
That gave Winslet pause. “There was something incredibly stoic and accepting of her lot in life,” the Oscar winner told the Los Angeles Times for its annual The Envelope Roundtable. It made her realize that even though Anning had little choice but to resign herself to her situation, Winslet does not — and she had an amazing revelation while playing the character.
“It really opened my eyes to wanting to take responsibility for this sort of shared voice that we have as women,” reveals Winslet. “To try harder to not be objectified.”
Fellow panelist Rashida Jones jumped in to support Winslet’s aha moment of clarity, adding, “But we take it for granted that things will be the way they’re supposed to be.” The On the Rocks star followed up her thought by confirming that the last few years of the #MeToo movement have shaken those societal norms even more — to question why some of these male-dominated ideas even existed in the first place.
Ever since Winslet was thrust into the spotlight after the global success of Titanic, she’s found her voice to not only support herself through the white-hot glare of fame, but to help other women do the same. It’s why Anning’s story resonated so deeply with her — the scientist had accepted her lot in life, but that’s the last thing Winslet wants to do with her own journey.
Before you go, click here to see actors who have spoken out about pressure to get naked for a role.
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