When Kate Winslet takes a role, she really commits.
Just take her role in Divergent, for which Winslet did her own stunts – even as she was pregnant with her third child.
The 38-year-old actress’s hands-on approach was the topic of discussion at the film’s world premiere Tuesday in Los Angeles, where Divergent author Veronica Roth and the film’s director, Neil Burger, spoke out about the Winslet, who stars opposite Shailene Woodley.
“It’s pretty funny because she was pregnant when we were shooting, but she wanted to do her own stunt falls,” Roth told PEOPLE. “She did a couple. She’s you know, very careful about it, and then finally Neil Burger was like, ‘Okay I’m too nervous – you can’t do this anymore.’ ”
Added Roth, with a laugh: “She was like, you know, taking-charge lady – she powers through. It’s really impressive.”
Burger agreed that Winslet was unflinching about her role, even when she revealed to him the news that she was pregnant.
“We had to refit all of her wardrobe, but then there is a scene where she fights Shailene and she was like, you know, taking the falls and I’m like, ‘Stop, you’re pregnant.’ But she was still wanting to do it with as much action,” Burger told PEOPLE. “She’s a committed actress and she’s a committed mother, too. But she is just completely there, and you kind of just have to stop her.”
That moxie, he said, is why Winslet remains a down-to-earth but world-class actress.
“She really is, from my mind, the best actress of her generation, and … there’s a reason. She’s a pro. She’s completely present.”
Kate Winslet has revealed the meaning behind her new son’s grizzly and fiery name: Bear Blaze.
“We settled on Bear quite early on,” the “Divergent” star said on Tuesday’s episode of “Ellen.” “A friend of mine when I was younger was nicknamed Bear and I just had always really loved it. And he was very much a bear. He was everyone’s shoulder to cry on, he was a big bear hug, he was a great figure in my life and I just had always remembered him and so that’s where it came from.
The 14-week-old’s middle name, Blaze, came from the fact that she and husband Ned Rocknroll “met in a house fire, basically,” said Winslet, referring to the blaze that claimed Rocknroll’s uncle Richard Branson’s Virgin Islands home in 2011.
“The house burned down and we survived,” she told Ellen DeGeneres. “But we wanted something of the fire and so Blaze was the name that we came up with. Bear Blaze.”
Winslet, 38, has two older children with exes Jim Threapleton and Sam Mendes.
“I can believe it’s 10 years. I absolutely can. I was pregnant with my son when I was shooting that movie, and he’s 10 now,” Winslet told HuffPost Entertainment in a recent interview. “I have incredible memories of ‘Eternal Sunshine.’ That was what took me to New York in the first place. I went to New York to shoot that movie and didn’t leave for nine years. It occupied the beginning of a really big chapter in my life. I always remember it very fondly.”
Winslet was 28 when “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” came out on March 19, 2004, and already a three-time Oscar nominee (“Sense and Sensibility,” “Titanic” and “Iris”). Appearing in Gondry’s film, however, was a watershed moment in her career. It provided Winslet with a leading role in a very modern story that, as written by Charlie Kaufman, combined love, science-fiction and offbeat comedy into a drama about what happens to two people after their relationship falls apart. (Jim Carrey played Winslet’s onscreen partner.)
“I think creatively it opened people’s eyes to other sides of myself as a performer,” Winslet said of playing Clementine in “Eternal Sunshine,” a character notable for her no-bull attitude and changing hair color. “I think that perhaps if it hadn’t been for that, maybe I wouldn’t necessarily have been considered for something like ‘The Reader.’ I was able to show my versatility in ‘Eternal Sunshine,’ and versatility obviously expands in all kinds of different directions.”
Of that versatility, Winslet, who next stars in this weekend’s “Divergent,” recalled how “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” specifically allowed her to branch out from the potentially limiting nature of her nationality.
“I think because I am British, there’s this sort of very strange metaphorical red carpet that is rolled out for us,” Winslet said. “People kind of think that we speak a foreign language and that we’re much more intelligent than the rest of the human race. That we fall asleep with volumes of Shakespeare by our bed. That isn’t me at all. I think ‘Eternal Sunshine’ smashed through any preconceived notions that people may have had about who I actually am.”
While “Eternal Sunshine” only grossed $34 million at the North American box office, the film enjoyed great critical acclaim and awards recognition. Kaufman won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, while Winslet received her fourth nomination overall for the role, and third in the Best Actress category. (She would later win an Oscar for “The Reader.”)
“To receive an Academy Award nomination for ‘Eternal Sunshine’ was just fantastic. Because none of us really thought that was going to happen,” Winslet said. “We were doing Michel Gondry’s completely crazy movie with Charlie Kaufman. We had no idea what it was going to be like. I always had real faith that it would be something very special, but I didn’t know.”
Kate was honored today by getting a star on the Walk of Fame and I have added high quality pictures to the gallery from the event!
Public Appearances > Other Appearances > Getting Her Star on the Walk of Fame
Kate will be on Ellen on March 18!