Enacting every day delicate same-sex intimate relationship with Ronan terrified me: Kate Winslet
During one of the conversations series organized by the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the iconic fest’s executive director and co-head Joana Vicente catches up with Hollywood stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in Francis Lee directed ‘Ammonite’. The romantic drama is inspired by the life of 19th-century British paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) who was in an all-consuming same-sex love with geologist Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan).
Asha Bajaj brings you excerpts:
To Kate: Your performance is both beautiful and powerful. How did you approach the character of Mary, who was so brilliant, and yet struggled with the constraints of being a woman and a scientist in 19th century England?
Kate: Women’s purpose at that time was to only get married to a man in order to have a life and a livelihood. Being poor, Mary did not marry a man in order to lift herself out of poverty. She continued to do fossil hunting taught by her father and felt that by doing this work she was honoring her father’s memory who was long dead. Not accepted by society, and left to work alone led people to believe she was rebellious or demonstrative. I approached the situation by learning fossil hunting for about a month by working with paleontologists and also got arts training from artists since Mary was a good artist.
To Kate: What was most challenging for you during the filming?
My most challenging part was embracing Mary’s stillness. Being an animated person, I had to train myself from not moving all the time. Like Mary, I also had to keep myself aloof. The daily routine I followed was to go home, make soups, write and work scenes for the next day, and go to bed until the routine became anchored in me, which helped me to stay rooted in Mary. It also reduced my anxiety and nervousness about enacting same-sex relationships every day or being panicked thinking about people’s reactions to my accent and to my role. I kept reassuring myself that the things I had planned to do and discuss with Francis would hopefully underpin me throughout.