Kate's floating Leo and Ken's boat... as she reunites with two of her most dashing leading men
Kate Winslet is reuniting with two of her most dashing leading men — Leonardo DiCaprio and Kenneth Branagh.
The Oscar-winning actress will work with DiCaprio this spring, promoting the spectacular 3D version of James Cameron’s Titantic, which was first released 15 years ago. Then she will work on a new movie with Branagh.
She played Ophelia on Branagh’s screen version of Hamlet back in 1996. The two have remained friends, and now Branagh has recruited her to star in a film based on Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows’s best-selling novel The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society, which will start filming in mid-March.
Purple patch: Kate Winslet as Rose in Titanic
Kate will play writer Juliet Ashton, who penned columns for a magazine during World War II. After the war, she is contacted by Channel Islander Dawsey Adams and, as their correspondence continues, the story unfolds of how a book society was established on Nazi-occupied Guernsey to fool curfew patrols.
Branagh has been involved in the film’s pre-production in between enjoying awards season heat thanks to his portrait of Laurence Olivier in Simon Curtis’s movie My Week With Marilyn.
The film’s up for three Golden Globe statuettes this Sunday for best film (comedy or musical); best actress (in a comedy or musical) for Michelle Williams; and best supporting actor for Branagh (who’s also in the running for Bafta and Oscar nominations).
Kate could also taste Golden Globe glory. She flies out to Los Angeles later today to prepare for Sunday’s ceremony, where she’s up for the best actress honour for the film Carnage and best actress in a mini-series for HBO’s Mildred Pierce.
Kate saw Titantic 3D footage on Wednesday afternoon and she’s likely to attend the movie’s London premiere in late March.
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Titanic producer Jon Landau showed DiCaprio footage late last year and, by all accounts, the actor was knocked out, all over again, by his leading lady. ‘He watched the scene where Kate arrives at the dock and steps out the car and he said to me: “She’s so beautiful,” ’ Landau told me.
He added: ‘Leo’s right, but screen beauty goes beyond the physicality. It’s what the actor brings to the character, and she embodies the character of Rose.’
Landau also revealed that when Kate originally auditioned for the role, she sent director Cameron a note along with a single rose. ‘She signed it “Rose Winslet”,’ he said. She got the part.
Titantic 3D will have one-off showings at 60 screens around the country on Valentine’s Day evening. It’s main release will be on April 6.
It will make a fortune at the box office all over again. The stars could reap a percentage of that bounty under the terms of their original contracts, although the $18 million 3D costs and mammoth marketing charges will have to be recouped first.
A pillar of strength for War Horse
Emily Watson at the War Horse premiere last weekend
Steven SpiElberg called War Horse actress Emily Watson his Mother Courage.
‘She’s the strength in the story,’ the director told me.
Emily (pictured) said that when you’ve been through hell, as her screen son (Jeremy Irvine) has, along with Joey the horse, the place you want to get back to is ‘home and your mum’.
Emily saw the play at the National when she was eight months pregnant and wasn’t sure if she could sit through it, as she was in constant floods of tears.
The play, by the way, has an advance at the New London Theatre of a whopping £8 million. It took £1 million last week alone.
‘Slyly, War Horse is an anti-war film,’ said Emily, as we discussed a line that she tells her son about how hard it must be for his father not to be proud of killing during the Boer War.
The actress is flying out for the Golden Globes, where she’s a contender for her performance in Appropriate Adult in the best tv movie and mini-series category — up against other British actresses Kate Winslet, Romola Garai and honorary Brit Elizabeth McGovern.
David Tennant, who has just joined the Royal Shakespeare Company board, is on the panel charged with selecting a new artistic director to take over from Michael Boyd, who is stepping down after a decade.
The new AD will be announced early in the spring. I understand Sam Mendes was among those asked to consider applying, but there’s no word on whether he put the application in the post.
But will Sam have time for the RSC? He’s shooting Bond and next year he’s directing a musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is pencilled in for the London Palladium.
The Iron Lady's box office gold
The Iron Lady: Meryl Streep plays the former PM in a film which shows some of the chauvinism Thatcher faced
Meryl Streep and The Iron Lady has been hand-bagging the big action boys at the box office all this week.
The film, which stars Oscar and Bafta contender Meryl as Margaret Thatcher, was the number three film on Sunday behind Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.
By Monday, it had zoomed ahead with its lead increasing on Tuesday. Wednesday’s take was £535,000 compared with the Sherlock Holmes sequel’s £364,000 and MI4’s £337,000.
The Iron Lady took a total of £3,318,522 over six days, and will end the week today at number one.
The film follows three days in the former Prime Minister’s life as she reflects on some highlights of her career as she decides what to do with the belongings of her late husband Denis. It’s a haunting portrait of ageing more than it is a political drama.
Meryl’s title performance is one you have to see — no matter what your political persuasion.
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