Kate Winslet sought out smaller film projects after ‘horrible’ Titanic fame

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Titanic turned Kate Winslet into a worldwide celebrity, but media intrusion prompted her to seek out smaller indie film roles, she says.

Following the huge box office success of James Cameron’s Titanic in 1997, co-star Kate Winslet famously pursued smaller indie films rather than major Hollywood blockbusters. There was Gillies MacKinnon’s off-beat drama Hideous Kinky in 1998, Jane Campion’s Holy Smoke! in 1999, and Philip Kaufman’s Marquis de Sade opus, Quills, in 2000.

There’s a good reason why Winslet made those more left-field career choices (besides just finding the roles themselves appealing, obviously): she found the newfound fame that greeted her following Titanic’s success, particularly all the media intrusion, “horrible”.

In an interview with Net-a-Porter (via Variety), Winslet recalls her late-90s experience of being followed around and being commented on by journalists and photographers – a level of attention that got so intense that she was barely able to go out and feed some ducks in peace.

Said, Winslet, “Journalists would always say, ‘After Titanic, you could have done anything and yet you chose to do these small things’…and I was like, ‘Yeah, you bet your fucking life I did! Because, guess what, being famous was horrible. I was grateful, of course. I was in my early 20s and I was able to get a flat. But I didn’t want to be followed literally feeding the ducks.”

Elsewhere, Winslet talked a little about a topic she’s brought up before: that, post Titanic, writers and interviewers regularly commented on her appearance. “I felt like I had to look a certain way,” she said, “or be a certain thing, because media intrusion was so significant at that time, my life was quite unpleasant.”

Thankfully, Winslet didn’t what could have been the quieter route and simply quit the film business entirely – instead, she’s continued to quietly put out brilliant performance after brilliant performance, whether it’s the sapphic fossil-hunting romance of Ammonite or her spiky turn in HBO’s detective thriller, Mare Of Easttown.

Most recently, Winslet’s even returned to James Cameron’s realm of big-budget filmmaking with Avatar: The Way Of Water. It’s safe to say it all worked out in the end, then.

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