I'M NOT GOING TO HIDE MY STRETCH MARKS FOR SEX SCENES ..IT SHOWS I'M A REAL MOTHER
By John Hiscock
SHE has never been shy about showing off her curves - and now Kate Winslet has proudly revealed her stretch marks for a raunchy sex scene in her latest film.
But even Kate admits to some last-minute nerves before the steamy clinch with co-star Patrick Wilson for her movie Little Children.
"It was very important for me to just be a real person and be in the position where I can stand up and say, 'Hey look, I'm normal. I have these stretch marks. I'm not perfect.'" the 32-year-old four-times Oscar nominee explains.
"The notion that women in films are perfect and beautiful and have some kind of secret beauty that nobody else has is just so ridiculous to me, because we're all normal.
"I was very, very nervous about it but it's such a huge part of the story that I was immersed in the characters.
"I just thought to myself, 'You know what, I'm playing a woman who is a mother and therefore it stands to reason that not every part of my body would be perfect - which, by the way, it's not - and who is perfect?"
To spare the actors' blushes the director Todd Field ordered the crew out of the room while the scene was filmed, operating the camera himself.
Kate says: "In the end I don't want to say it was fun but we managed to laugh about it because, as well as the nudity, those scenes are emotionally very intense and to stay focused on all that stuff is much more important than whether or not we have any clothes on.
"I actually think the scenes are quite beautiful and very tastefully done."
The film, which also stars Jennifer Connelly, centres on a handful of people whose lives cross on the playground, at the swimming pool and in the streets of their small community.
Kate plays Sarah, a "glammed down" overalls-wearing woman who is unhappy with her life, while Patrick plays a father she meets when she takes her daughter to the playground.
But even more than the sex and nudity, mother-of-two Kate found the scenes where she had to portray an uncaring mother far harder.
"My character's not a good mother. She's not very hands-on and she doesn't have a strong bond with her child, so it was very, very upsetting to have to put myself in that position and feel those emotions," she says.
"I didn't have to be mean, just cold, but that was very difficult because 11 am not that kind of parent at all and I absolutely adored the little girl who played my daughter."
Kate found herself drawing on unhappy memories from her own life - including her divorce from first husband Jim Threapleton in 2001.
She says: "I think we've all gone through something similar in the sense that we want something more from our lives even if we're not sure what it is and that was something that was very, very real about the film.
"It's no secret that I was married before and it didn't work out. When you're in a situation where something is happening to you that you never thought was going to happen it's very hard to deal with and to navigate your way through."
And it was sometimes too much for her. She reveals: "Of course there are moments when you feel suffocated and frightened, and I did have to draw on a lot of my own life and also on other people around me."
Ever since she appeared in Titanic in 1997, Kate's weight and looks have been hitting the headlines, something which used to irritate her but which she has now grown accustomed to.
"When I first became aware of people talking about my body image and whether I was fat or thin and saying I had a weight problem, it was really shocking because I didn't actually think I was overweight," she says. "I didn't feel unhappy so I thought, 'Hang on, is it me or them? OK, it's definitely them.'
"But it's very important to me to have a womanly shape and to stay normal and healthy. I have been told that people see me as something of a role model and now, more than ever, I am so grateful that people feel like that.
"I know that somewhere out there are some young girls who are saying 'Well, I'd rather be like her than not eat and be miserable like that other person.'"
Whatever her weight problems in the past, she now looks stunning, wearing a black dress with her blonde hair hanging down over her shoulders.
She flew to Toronto to film the movie, leaving husband Sam Mendes, daughter Mia, five, and son Joe, two, at their £3million home in the Cotswolds.
Kate and Sam share childcare duties so they can keep their careers going.
She says: "The two of us take it in turns to work so there's always one parent at home during the day which is such a luxury.
"Most parents are out every day five days a week for 48 weeks a year so we're blessed to be in the position we are. Our thing has always very strongly been that as long as we're with the kids they are going to be fine."
And she says that with Sam's help the children have turned out well: "They are very stable, regular, funny, affectionate kids. Sam's great - he's amazing and wonderful as always. My feeling is I just want my kids to be happy to be themselves and to feel they can be free and expressive.
"We try to have a lot of fun and do crazy, silly things together and I encourage them to be themselves.
"I mean, they absolutely know the difference between right and wrong and they don't draw on the walls or throw food at each other and they understand what to expect out of each day.
"They wake up roughly the same time and they go to bed at a decent hour and those things are important. Children really need sleep and thankfully mine usually get about 11 to 12 hours a night." And while Sam takes over the childcare chores at home, Kate is busier than ever.
She has another movie, All The King's Men - with Sean Penn and Jude Law - coming out soon. There's also a romantic comedy, Holiday, scheduled for Christmas which sees her star alongside Cameron Diaz.
And she has a very special personal project planned, too.
Kate says: "I would definitely love to have more children. We're not trying at the moment but maybe in a couple of years..."
People talking about my body was a shock at first
LITTLE Children is in cinemas on October 6