Kate Winslet Online
Nov 15
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Kate covers the new issue of Gotham Magazine where she looks absolutely fabulous in a red coat by Lanvin. In this article she talks about her film Steve Jobs and how proud she is of this film!

Why Kate Winslet Wants More Roles Like Joanna Hoffman in ‘Steve Jobs’

In Steve Jobs, Danny Boyle’s buzzy film about the legendary Apple founder, Kate Winslet tackles a role that has brought a new sense of excitement to her storied career.

We meet in early autumn, two weeks before her 40th birthday, but Kate Winslet—her noble, luminous face suffused with pure joy—is clapping her hands like a delighted child. “I love my job, I love my job, I love my job!” she sing-songs, almost throwing her almond milk cappuccino across the Music Room of England’s glorious Goodwood House in her excitement.

The reason for the Oscar-winning actress’s delight is her latest movie, Steve Jobs, in which she plays Joanna Hoffman, the “work wife” of the late Apple creator, whose unique mix of charisma and cold blood is tackled by Michael Fassbender. Written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network), directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire), and also starring Jeff Daniels and Seth Rogen, this was, on paper, a picture that had “Awards” stamped across it from the get-go. “The script was beyond brilliant,” says Winslet. “So much so that if you dropped or changed a single word, the whole thing would unravel, like a beautiful handmade jumper disintegrating into a pile of wool.” But with 23 years and some 30 films’ experience under her belt, Winslet is all too aware that a movie’s greatness is never a dead certainty. “From the beginning, I knew that I was a part of something that had the potential to be incredibly strong,” she concedes. “But watching it for the first time—and this is going to sound so stupid—I had this incredulous ‘wow’ moment. This moment where I thought, Oh my God, this film is so good and so extraordinary and I’m actually in it!”

Steve Jobs is certainly an extraordinary movie: as slick and stylized as the Apple products it pays homage to, but full of the heart and humanity that a world almost entirely powered by them can sometimes lack. Fassbender’s monstrously winning characterization is the Pentium chip that drives the story forward, but Winslet’s (at first totally unrecognizable) role as Joanna Hoffman, the company’s dark-haired, Eastern European marketing executive, is the moral compass that holds it in check.

Neatly divided into three acts, each centered on a real-life launch—of the first-ever Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT (the black cube devised by Jobs after Apple fired him) in 1988, and the iMac in 1998 (when Jobs had long since been returned to his full glory)—Steve Jobs takes us on a journey, not just through Jobs’s working life but through his living interior, too. Here is a man so profoundly disinterested in making anyone care for him that he forgets to care for the one person who actually means something to him: his daughter, Lisa. Our only real legacy in life, Sorkin seems to be saying, has to take a human form, and Winslet’s part, as the long-suffering Hoffman, is the mouthpiece through which he says it.

Just to be clear, Steve Jobs is not a biopic. Loosely based on Walter Isaacson’s definitive 2011 biography of Jobs, Sorkin’s script is first and foremost a story. “There are no invented characters,” says Winslet. “But there has been a freedom with the truth. In fact, Joanna Hoffman only appears on about three pages of the book. So, while yes, there is a Joanna Hoffman, who I spent time with, and whose crazy Polish-American dialect I tried my darndest to catch, Aaron chose to make her much more into Steve Jobs’s work wife than she actually was. She was his head of marketing, absolutely, but only for four years, and not for the 14 that the film would have us believe. What she is, in reality, is very much an amalgamation of all the women who worked at Apple over the years. What Aaron did was to pick one person who stuck out for him and channel a combination of experiences that several different women had while working for Steve Jobs.”

As soon as Winslet met Hoffman, she understood precisely why she was the character that Sorkin had chosen to hang the film’s heart on. “Aaron himself told me that, of all the people he had met whilst researching the film, Joanna had stood out for him as being a really exceptional person,” she says. “And my experience of her was certainly very similar to his. As soon as I met her, Joanna struck me as someone who has integrity in spades. She has a warmth to her. And it is through her warmth and humanity that we, the audience, are able to access Steve’s.”

While Winslet heaps praise on the real-life Hoffman, she is adamant about protecting her privacy. “I have to be sensitive because this is a woman who still lives in the world that the film centers around,” she explains.

A 5-foot-2, dark-haired Americanized Eastern European, Joanna Hoffman was not an obvious character for “the 5-foot-6, blonde, slightly busty” actress to play. “I very much threw my hat in the ring to get this part,” says Winslet, who—despite arriving for our interview dressed down in jeans and a cashmere sweater, her face bare of makeup and her blonde hair tied loosely back in a ponytail—is as English rose beautiful as she has ever been.

“It was the most fun I have ever had getting a role,” recalls the tenacious actress who, 20 years earlier, famously sent James Cameron, the director of her breakthrough movie, Titanic, a bunch of roses three days after her audition, signed “From your Rose” (the name of the character she sought to play in the movie). “I didn’t run around Hollywood knocking on doors and sending people chocolates,” says Winslet of her determination to land the role of Hoffman. “But I certainly made sure that I gave all the right people the right sort of nudge.”

So here, in brief, is how the story goes. As 2014 was drawing to a close, Winslet was in Australia completing work on the revenge comedy drama The Dressmaker. “I had been working a lot—almost constantly since Bear [her youngest child, now 2] was about 6 months old—and I was really looking forward to a break. But then, one day, I made the fatal error of asking the film’s hair and makeup artist, my friend Ivana Primorac, what she was working on next. She told me, and at first I didn’t pay much attention. Then my interest began to be piqued; Michael Fassbender was on board, they were starting rehearsals in a month, they hadn’t cast the female lead…. She told me about the part and, in a nutshell, she had me hooked. So I put the relevant call in to the agent and started pitching myself for the part. I sent Ned [her third husband and Bear’s father] out to buy some dark wigs, just to jog the producers’ imagination, and I sent photographs of myself wearing them to Scott Rudin, who I have worked with several times in the past. Two days later, I was having a 7 am meeting with Danny Boyle in Melbourne—which, by the way, was a four-hour drive from where I was working at the time.”

With time ticking against her, Winslet hit the ground running. “After all the small talk and the chitchat, I got straight to the point,” she recalls. “I said to Danny, ‘Look, here’s how I think this role needs to be played. This is what I’d like to do with it. This is who I think she is and how she fits in with the story. Oh, and one other thing, I think it’s really important that I don’t look like myself at all.’ And he just turned and looked at me and said, ‘I want you to play this part.’”

The mere memory of it makes Winslet—who has hungered to get to where she is since she took up acting classes as an overweight teenager in the unremarkable British city of Reading several lifetimes ago—laugh with joy. “It was just one of those amazing moments that hasn’t happened to me for years. I felt determined, and challenged, and that’s such a fantastically important thing to feel in life, regardless of who you are or what you’re striving for.”

The fire that has always burned bright inside Winslet has had its flames fanned by her approaching middle age. “I want to go rocketing towards 40,” she says. “I really do. I want to celebrate who I am, what I’ve learned, how hard I’ve worked, and how much more I’ve still got in me.”

Winslet—who will mark this significant coming of age in New York, the “fabulous, diverse, full-flavored” city that was her home for a number of years—has certainly lived more life in her 40 years than most. Cast in her first major film role (Juliet Hulme in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures) at 17, her CV is unmarred by failure. Sense and Sensibility, Titanic, Hideous Kinky, Holy Smoke, Enigma, Iris, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Reader, Revolutionary Road—almost everything Winslet (who has one Oscar, three Golden Globes, and two BAFTAs on show in her beachside Sussex home, on England’s south coast) touches turns to cinematic gold. This is not by any stretch a coincidence; those who have worked with her attest to a fierce work ethic.

Winslet is the first to admit just how much she expects of herself, and of those around her. “If you’re a perfectionist, nothing’s ever enough,” she concedes. Married three times in the past two decades, with a child from each union (Mia, 15, is the daughter of Jim Threapleton; Joe, 12, the son of director Sam Mendes; and Bear the product of her three-year marriage to Sir Richard Branson’s nephew, Ned Rocknroll, who changed his name from Ned Abel Smith by deed poll), Winslet is adamant that the next phase of her life will be marked by stability, both personal and professional. “I am definitely moving away from playing a certain type of character, women who were trapped, women who were stuck, women who were looking for a way out,” she says knowingly. Joanna Hoffman is certainly a case in point, a centered, balanced woman who sits comfortably in her own skin.

Winslet is extremely proud of her work on Steve Jobs, and rightly so. She worked hard—they all did—rehearsing each act for five days before filming it (rarely for film, in exact chronological order) and learning pages and pages of complex technical dialogue. “The hours and the hard work were punishing,” she recalls. “But we were all very much in it together. We felt so united, like a theater troupe, really.” It is to Michael Fassbender that Winslet—who longs for a day when it will be “logistically possible” to act on stage, but fears it won’t be while her children are young enough to need her at home every night—largely credits this sense of unity. “He doesn’t have an ego at all, and he really is the most professional actor I think I’ve ever worked with,” she says. “I tell you, that boy, he just got on with it.”

There is no doubt in Winslet’s mind that the on-screen kinship between Fassbender’s Steve Jobs and her Joanna Hoffman was facilitated by an offscreen understanding. “In a funny kind of way, Michael and I are cut from the same cloth. We have the same sensibility, fairly similar upbringings— stumbling into acting quite young, learning on the job—so we really just understood each other—just like I think Steve and Joanna did—which was very, very fortunate.” And while she and Fassbender have a lot in common now, the odds are high—although Winslet won’t admit as much—that when awards season is said and done, they will have other experiences—like acceptance speeches and shiny gold statuettes—to share as well.

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