WEIGH TO GO KATE; Director John Turturro Just Loved Kate Winslet's Curvy Figure after Her Baby. and Talked Her out of Getting Skinny for His New Movie

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), March 24, 2006 | Go to article overview

WEIGH TO GO KATE; Director John Turturro Just Loved Kate Winslet's Curvy Figure after Her Baby. and Talked Her out of Getting Skinny for His New Movie


Byline: By Maria Croce

KATE WINSLET proudly shows off her sexy figure in her latest movie - and it's all thanks to her having a baby.

In the film Romance & Cigarettes the British star plays the red-headed voluptuous mistress to Sopranos star James Gandolfini.

And writer/director John Turturro admits when he met the actress before she fell pregnant he thought she was too skinny for the role of Tula.

But by the time filming started she'd just had her baby son, Joe, and was breastfeeding, so John reckoned she had the perfect curvy shape and wanted to thank her husband, the Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes.

Kate threw herself into the role, which involved raunchy scenes, dancing, singing and a bit of dirty talking.

John, who's better known for acting in films such as Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski, went behind the camera to film his own script of the quirky Romance & Cigarettes.

It stars James Gandolfini as a man torn between his wife, played by Susan Sarandon, and his mistress, Kate. There are some funny and touching moments and some fantasy singing routines.

John decided Kate was perfect for the role when he saw her in Holy Smoke.

He said: "I thought, 'Wow, this girl is really brave'. I needed someone who could be raw and uninhibited and sexy and funny. And I needed someone who could flip that on its head and show the other side.

"When I met her she was very thin. She'd read the script and she liked it, but I thought, 'There's nothing here, she's so small'.

"Then she got pregnant and she was upset. But I said, 'No it's perfect!' We starting filming after she'd had the baby. She tried to get in shape a little bit - but I said 'Don't worry, it'll be really appropriate for the film'.

"I'd imagined her as someone I had a childhood crush on - I wanted her to look like a fantasy."

And even though Kate wanted to get her old figure back, John thought the pregnancy had made her look better than before.

He said: "Even though she was battling to find the middle ground for herself, it was good fortune and I'm thankful to Mr Mendes!"

But sometimes filming had to pause while Kate expressed milk to store to take home for her baby at the end of the day.

John said: "We'd discuss whether she should pump before or after a scene. She'd be saying, 'I'm hurting,' but I'd say, 'just give me three minutes!'

"Another actress on the film, Mary Louise Parker, was also breastfeeding.

"So it was a crazy set!

"Most of the time Kate would pump milk and take it home because it was hard for her to have the babies there. I have kids too so I didn't mind. But it was hard for her."

And it's probably just as well that there weren't young ears on set as Kate didn't need to stick to the script when it came to talking dirty with her co-star James, which she does with a Sheffield accent.

John said: "We did rehearsals and some improvs and a few exercises so they wouldn't be embarrassed. She was very brave and contributed."

And when it came down to talking dirty, Kate got to throw in some of her own lines.

"It wasn't all mine!" said John, laughing. "She ad-libbed. I said, 'I wrote so much for you but if you want to, just go'. She did add some very funny things. She wasn't afraid."

John also had to persuade the actors to sing.

He said: "When the actors read the script, everybody liked it. They were excited. We rehearsed and I was able to demonstrate things and make a fool of myself so they didn't feel they were being made a fool of.

"It's hard to make actors go back to their amateur beginnings and just be free. I didn't want it to be too choreographed or slick. It's about regular people in this situation, using music to escape their surroundings or to achieve privacy in a world with very little privacy when they go home. …

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