Phase9 Entertainment

THE HOLIDAY - Q&A with Kate Winslet

KATE WINSLET plays Iris Simpkins in THE HOLIDAY

Please begin by describing your character in THE HOLIDAY?

KW: My character in THE HOLIDAY, her name is Iris Simpkins and she is basically a good person. She is a very good natured, friendly, kind, heart warming woman and she just wants what a lot of people want at the age of 30, which is to find her life partner. And she thinks she's found the one but he turns out to be not the one at all and she has her heart broken very badly. So what happens is that these two women do a house swap over the internet. She goes online and is introduced to Amanda, played by Cameron Diaz, and they swap houses, swap lives. It is set at Christmas, so it has this wonderful holiday feel to it and Iris goes to Los Angeles and spends two weeks in the lap of luxury in this glorious house and she meets Miles, played by Jack Black, and she meets Arthur, played by Eli Wallach, and she finds herself again and rediscovers the things that are important to her and does she or does she not find love...that's the question.

The film suggests that nowadays it can be harder for a young woman to find true and lasting romance.

KW: I think that it is probably true. I think it is hard for men and women. It is what we all ultimately want and sometimes you find it when you are not looking for it and that is I think when it is the real thing. When it jumps up and hits you in the face. We all want to settle down eventually, don't we! Maybe not get married necessarily but I think that most people want to have children and have that civility in their lives. Women now in their thirties who don't have that sort of relationship I think there is definitely a sense of panic surrounding it because there is a biological clock that is going to start ticking, I suppose, at some point. I think that women now are more career driven in their twenties and they are more focused on their work as opposed to their love lives and they put that on hold a little bit. So when they want to find it [love] in their thirties it is not the easiest thing to find.

What reaction have you had from women of all races and ages to this film?

KW: There have been such positive reactions across the board...of all ages. Some of the women who have seen it are in their seventies. This woman said...'It just reminded me of myself when I was that age and I still feel that I am that person somewhere inside.' It was very sweet. So it does have this universal appeal for men and women.

Eli Wallach is 90 and a Hollywood legend, so what was it like to work with him in THE HOLIDAY?

KW: It was incredible. Working with Eli was such a gift and an experience that I will always cherish and always remember and feel blessed to have had that time with him. He is an absolutely incredible man. He is a wonderful actor. He is very professional. You would think that at the age of 90 that he would be a bit doddery and wouldn't remember his lines, wouldn't know where he was all the time...not at all, he is sharp as a razor. He tells stories all the time. Endless stories about people he worked with. He told me glorious things about working with Marilyn Monroe. It was just endless and I really loved it.

Your leading men in THE HOLIDAY, Rufus Sewell and Jude Law are old friends.

KW: Yes that's right. When Jude was cast as Graham, my brother in the film, I thought that was great because there was no homework required because we are friends. That was fantastic to work with Jude again, even though I didn't really in this because he plays my brother and most of his scenes are with Cameron. And Jack Black, he is so wonderful. He is very funny, obviously, but he is also a very sweet, quite sensitive soul and I think it was nice for him to use some of his own qualities in playing this part. It is kind of an unexpected performance because we are used to him doing the big, loud funny stuff. And he's not [doing that], he's playing a romantic lead. He does it absolutely brilliantly and I just loved working alongside him. Rufus is absolutely an old pal. I have known him for 12 years, so that was great. We had never really worked together. We worked together briefly on Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, so this was really good to have this time with him. He is just great, he's just hysterical.

Astonishingly since you seen to have been entertaining us forever, this is your first romantic comedy?

KW: It is my first romantic comedy and it is also the first contemporary English person that I have ever played in a film. And it did have it's own set of challenges, I was very nervous about doing comedy. I thought...oh God, what if I'm not funny! How do you be funny and make people laugh? Jude and I were both quite tense about it but the script was so good that you just have to focus on that and make it as honest as you can, so that the laughs are coming from a genuine place as opposed to trying to do something funny. Playing this contemporary Englishwoman was also quite scary. I'm used to being able to hide myself in a character, with a wig or an accent or strange costumes. And I had nothing to hide behind at all and it really took some getting used to. I felt very vulnerable.

Question & Answer Text Copyright Universal Pictures UK