On the occasion of her latest collaboration with director James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (which, to no one’s surprise opened at No. 1 at the weekend box office), Kate Winslet is looking back 25 years to the last time she and Cameron worked together. On the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Winslet discussed the fat-shaming she withstood after playing Rose in Titanic.
“Apparently, I was too fat—isn’t it awful?” she told host Josh Horowitz. “Why were they so mean to me? I wasn’t even fucking fat.” She kept the “they” vague, but seemed to be referring to members of the public and media.
“If I could turn back the clock, I would have used my voice in a completely different way,” Winslet continued. “I would have said to journalists...‘Don’t you dare treat me like this. I’m a young woman. My body is changing. I’m figuring it out. I’m deeply insecure. I’m terrified. Don’t make this any harder than it already is.’ That’s bullying and actually borderline abusive, I would say.”
“And now that wouldn’t happen,” she continued. “And if it did happen, a young actor would truly respond in exactly the way I just did...This nonsense of commenting on bodies and how women look, it’s getting better, but we’ve still got such a ways to go.”
Winslet went onto say that she believes the preoccupation with the bodies of actors—even in the form of supposedly positive commentary—“feeds into young women aspiring to ideas of perfection that don’t exist.” The subject came up as a result of Horowitz asking about one of the most debated mysteries of cinema—couldn’t Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack have fit on the floating door that saved Rose’s life at the end of Titanic?
“I actually don’t believe that we would have survived if we had both gotten on that door,” said Winslet. “I think that he could have fit, but it would have tipped ... and it would not have been a sustainable idea. So you heard it here for the first time: Yes, he could have fit on that door, but it would not have stayed afloat.” Cameron recently commented on the enduring controversy, claiming that a recently conducted “forensic analysis with a hypothermia expert” using stunt people proved “there was no way they both could have survived.”
Cameron’s name, meanwhile, was left out of the discussion of Winslet’s body on the podcast, despite having referred to the actor on set as “Kate Weighs-A-Lot,” according to what Winslet said in a 1998 Rolling Stone profile. Winslet had told the Los Angeles Times in 1997, “You’d have to pay me a lot of money to work with Jim again,” in apparent reference to the hypothermia she experienced on the set of Titanic, as well as nearly drowning twice while filming the blockbuster. The following year, Rolling Stone reported that she said the quote had been “misinterpreted.” When Winslet’s participation in Avatar: The Way of Water was announced in 2017, Cameron told Deadline: “Kate and I have been looking for something to do together for 20 years, since our collaboration on Titanic, which was one of the most rewarding of my career.”
In another recent interview, Winslet recalled holding her breath for seven minutes on the set of the Avatar sequel. During her Happy Sad Confused interview, Winslet said that Cameron’s demanding directing style “comes from a place of wanting to do incredible work.”
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