Why Kate Winslet is So Authentic

This article first appeared as a daily newsletter. To receive these direct to your inbox every morning sign up to The Industry Newsletter!

Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Kate Winslet is compelling in her latest film. Michael B. Jordan’s fantasty. Daisy Ridley digs up the dead, bad apples and shirtless Scandinavians.

Let’s go!


KATE WINSLET IS AUTHENTIC

Kate Winslet could have cruised on easy roles after Titanic.

The film ran fifteen straight weeks as box office #1, a feat not accomplished since E.T. was released 15 years earlier.

She could have taken any big-budget role, yet her next project was the virtually unseen Hideous Kinky (1998), a low-budget indie about an English woman who, dissatisfied with her life, flees to Morocco with her young children. Trailer here.

She reflected on that period in her life:

“I didn’t want to fake it, and I didn’t want to feel under pressure. And also, I didn’t want to fail. I wanted to be in a position where I could always say I’m an actress, to be 45 years old, as I am today… not to have experienced burnout and not to have given bad performances.”

Prioritizing complex characters over stardom, Winslet’s filmography boasts challenging roles, including her Academy Award-winning performance in The Reader.

Her latest role is Lee Miller in the film Lee, a true story about a New York fashion model turned war photographer who risked her life to document the injustices of World War 2. Miller’s photos of the Nazi camps being liberated are among the most historic.

The research Winslet did for the film Lee was, in her opinion, the most important preparation for any role she has ever played:

“[Lee] came from quite a flamboyant, interesting world, and so to put herself in a position, as a woman, in a dangerous environment in order to document the truth… [We] showed her as a cracked, broken, tricky, middle-aged woman who went to war.”

Winslet’s portrayal of Miller reaffirms her dedication to unveiling intricate characters.

In a world of fleeting fame, Winslet stands as a testament to the enduring power of meaningful cinema and the indomitable spirit of an artist who never stops searching for the essence of authenticity.

For More:

No release date or trailer. But here are great photos of Winslet as Miller.

Winslet excels in HBO’s Mare of EasttownTrailer here.

Winslet discusses roles that shaped her.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

It seems as if AFM is over-saturated with horror films:

U.S. and U.K. sales representatives are leaning on thrillers and horror films to attract buyers. Dylan Leiner, senior VP of production for Sony Pictures Classics, believes that:

“Given the strikes and the tough global climate, many of the top international sales agents and talent agencies are holding back from exposing too many new high-end packages and will probably wait for the first half of next year.”

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is returning to IMAX for a one-week run following its global success. The film grossed $183 million for IMAX alone, causing their profits to soar by 50% in Q3. It’s a big win for auteur cinema and audiences alike.

Amazon doubles down on fantasy. Following their $1B investment in their Lord of the Rings prequel, Rings of Powerthey’ve developed the NY Times bestselling fantasy series The Empyrean. The show centers around the adventures of a young dragon rider enrolled in a treacherous War College. Per the official TV series logline:

“If the fire-breathing beasts don’t kill her, one of her fellow riders just might.”

The series is being produced by Michael B. Jordan’s production company, Outlier Society. We hope that his vision grounds the piece with relatable characters akin to his breakout role in Fruitvale Station. But that might just be fantasy.

This may seem tacky, but these are our favorite celeb Halloween costumes:

Kendall Jenner as Marilyn Monroe

Austin Butler as Andy Warhol


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Maria Bakalova, the Oscar-nominated actress, is best known for playing the unflinchingly committed role of Borat’s sister, who has a brush with Rudy Giuliani.

Her upcoming role in the thriller God’s Country is not to be confused with the 2022 film God’s Country, starring Thandie Newton (which is excellent). In her latest role, Bakalova plays a young woman venturing to Kentucky to meet her fiancé, who stumbles upon a chilling darkness, turning her American dream into a horrifying abyss of unspeakable terror. She has a magnetic screen presence, and this role could cement her as a multi-genre actress. Bakalova did play in the horror comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies, but she didn’t get much screen time.

Daisy Ridley digs up the dead in Western Australia for We Bury the Dead. The film delves deep into sorrow, desolation, and the reanimated. Ridley plays Ava, a frantic woman searching for her husband following a catastrophic military experiment. As she joins a “body retrieval unit,” her quest becomes twisted when the bodies she buried begin to stir. The director, Zak Hilditch (1922), said:

“Having Daisy play the role of Ava is an absolute dream come true. She embodies the perfect mix of vulnerability, grit, and determination that Ava exudes throughout the film.”

From the first frames of The Force Awakens, it’s been clear that she’s destined things far beyond the galaxy, far, far away.

Tim Blake Nelson is not a household name, but he has a face you can’t forget. He stars in the Heaven’s Gate cult film The Leader.

You may have seen him in:

The movie maps the haunting true tale of Heaven’s Gate, the UFO cult responsible for America’s largest mass suicide. Chronicling the leaders Bonnie Nettles (Vera Farmiga) and Marshall Applewhite (Tim Blake Nelson) as they establish their faith, gain followers, and grapple with despair when their prophesied spaceship never appears. There’s a goofy, psychotic, groundedness to Nelson’s performances that seems to resonate with this role.

Chuck Norris is back. At 84In the sci-fi action thriller Agent Recon, he plays Alistair, the leader of an Earth Safety Squad investigating alien technology. It’s his first role in a decade. Notably, his son, Dakota, has choreographed the fight sequences. Why this film didn’t come out when Norris became a meme is a mystery.


FESTIVALS

Nine Sundance-supported documentaries to watch.

The trailer for each film is linked below:

The Black List just opened submissions for their labs. They have two tracks:

  • Writer’s Lab

If you envision pitching studios your script.

  • Project Lab

For writer/directors in the indie space.

The Black List will select twelve writers to help polish their screenplay and introduce them to the industry.

The deadline is July 2024. Sign up here.


TECH SECTION

Tom Cruise got a masterclass in capturing challenging action sequences in Top Gun: Maverick without VFX. But it wasn’t Mission Impossible. The latest BTS video from the series, Dead Reckoning Part 1, delivers us to a train track in the Swiss Alps where Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie crashed a train.

The problem with the stunt was that no one wanted to let them wreck a real locomotive. So they built a working one from scratch. And then proceeded to crash it in a single take by yoking six Z CAM E2-F6 Full Frame 6K Cinema Cameras to the sides.

The BTS is insane.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Nathan “For You” Fielder and Benny Safdie (Uncut Gems) are not cursed. They have created a series that blends their styles and uses the innocuous institution of home renovation reality TV as bait. In The Curse, Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder bandy about the Southwestern United States fixing up homes. But the propensity of distorted mirrors affixed across the homes they choose to fix in the trailer reflects something darker. The series will be available on Showtime on November 12th.

The 2018 Student Academy Award-winner Jonatan Etzler secures Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) for his English-language debut. HanWay Films (CarolShame) is set to produce.

In last ​Wednesday’s edition,​ we discussed how student Academy Awards are often springboards for early directors. We’re excited to see Etzler’s progress.

His new film, Bad Apples, centers on a teacher (Ronan) who can’t keep her classroom of unruly ten-year-olds under control. So she locks the worst “bad apple” in her home. But what was meant to be a harmless punishment backfires when the classroom flourishes, and fellow teachers and parents laud her.

Filming starts in spring 2024. In the meantime, the trailer for his Academy Award-winning student film is disturbingly delicious.

Hereditary star Alex Wolff is set to direct his second featureIf She Burns. This psychological thriller follows a fiery young woman navigating Europe with her troubled family. She entangles herself in a risky affair with her mysterious neighbor (Wolff) amidst escalating family tensions and mysterious wildfires. If Wolff channels his mastery of intense performances into directing his actors, this film is poised to mesmerize. Jay Van Hoy (The Witch, The Lighthouse) is producing. Interestingly, his former producing partner Lars Knudson produced Hereditary.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Godzilla’s 70th anniversary of destruction is punctuated with a stark return to its roots. Godzilla Minus One is directed, written, and VFX supervised by Yamazaki Takashi. It depicts a postwar Japan grappling with the emergence of a new terror, compelling its devastated inhabitants to claw back. The trailer proves that a non-Hollywood version of Godzilla is a welcome respite. Toho International will release the film on December 1st.

In the Scandinavian period drama, Stormskerry Maja fractured ice creates a sweeping romance. The trailer showcases photogenic island landscapes blistered by a brutal invasion. Yet the love between the shirtless Scandinavians doesn’t break. Releasing January 2024.

Spain’s most successful film of all time is the marriage comedy Spanish Affair. The film and its sequel brought in $96M. They play up the regional differences between men and women across Spain. The third installment, The Moroccan Affair, finds distribution at AFM. The director notes that the film explores deep-seated prejudices about foreigners:

“that leads us to judge people and places without bothering to get to know them first, something much easier to recognize in others than it is in ourselves.”

Opening in Spain by Universal International on Dec 1st.


READER SPOTLIGHT

Rahul Nair is a writer and director based in Mumbai. After graduating from New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, he assisted in several Bollywood feature films and web series from 2016-2017.

From there, he worked as an associate producer on season one of:

He then created, wrote, and directed all eight episodes of:

Most recently, Rahul was a co-writer on:

  • Made In Heaven Season 2 (2023). Amazon

www.netflix.com/title/81197473


If you’d like to be featured in our “readers spotlight,” click here for more information.

Happy Wednesday!


ON THIS DAY

1997. Titanic, directed by James Cameron, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, premieres at the Tokyo International Film Festival.



Today’s edition was written by: Gabriel Miller, Clarke Scott and Spencer Carter.

Share the Post:

Other Editions

Become a Film Industry Insider!

Sign up for The Industry!

It’s a curated newsletter read by almost 100,000 film professionals.

We synthesize the latest film & TV news and send it to your inbox every morning. 

It takes less than 5 minutes to read.

Plus it’s FREE forever.