Kate Winslet Details How She and Saoirse Ronan Choreographed Their Sex Scene in 'Ammonite'
By Antoinette Bueno
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Moet British Independent Film Awards
Kate Winslet is not afraid to acknowledge that her sex scene with her Ammonite co-star, Saoirse Ronan, took serious work. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 44-year-old actress candidly discusses what went into filming the scene and how proud of it she is.
Ammonite -- which debuts in November -- is set in 1840s England, and follows the intense relationship between real-life fossil hunter Mary Anning (Winslet) and a married woman (Ronan). According to THR, the love scenes between the two characters are extremely intimate, and Winslet describes the most explicit one.
"Saoirse and I choreographed the scene ourselves," Winslet says. "It's definitely not like eating a sandwich. I just think Saoirse and I, we just felt really safe. Francis [Lee, the director] was naturally very nervous. And I just said to him, 'Listen, let us work it out.' And we did. 'We'll start here. We'll do this with the kissing, boobs, you go down there, then you do this, then you climb up here.' I mean, we marked out the beats of the scene so that we were anchored in something that just supported the narrative. I felt the proudest I've ever felt doing a love scene on Ammonite. And I felt by far the least self-conscious."
Winslet is also proud of getting to act her age in the film, which included purposely not losing weight for the role.
"I'm nearly 45, and Saoirse is almost half my age," she points out. "And to have an opportunity to be my real 40-something self, post-children, you know? Women aren't really having the courage to do that. I was just excited to say, 'This is what it is, peeps. This is how I am now, and it's very much not the body I had 20 years ago.' And I also worked on maintaining that sort of heftiness to Mary. There is a grit to her, there's a weight to her. I changed up my exercise a little bit. I made sure that I didn't lose weight -- which I do a lot, actually, on films. I hate to talk about weight, but I only say it in the context of, it was a conscious effort on my part to really make sure that I didn't shrink or change myself for the sake of being naked. I did the opposite."
"It's a story about women speaking up, speaking out," she adds. "I think uncovering stories where women were repressed in such a systemic way is highlighting how history has covered up those successes. We're not going to do that anymore, world."
Later, Winslet is asked about working with multiple men who have faced sexual assault allegations, including Harvey Weinstein (2008's The Reader), Roman Polanski (2011's Carnage) and Woody Allen (2017's Wonder Wheel). Winslet says that she herself was "safe," and also praised those who have spoken out.
"It was very f**king real. Casting couches existed, yeah," she says. "All I can tell you is I was safe. I made sure I was. But this is a different time, and we're [now] protected by the stories of the brave people who have spoken out, and we have to look after one another, and we will not be disrespected, degraded, marginalized and undermined any f**king more. That's it. We're done. Boom!"
Back in 2017, Winslet told The Los Angeles Times that she deliberately did not thank Weinstein during her 2009 Oscars acceptance speech, when she won the Best Actress award for her role in The Reader.
"I remember being told, 'Make sure you thank Harvey if you win.' And I remember turning around and saying, 'No I won't. No I won't,'" she recalled. "And it was nothing to do with not being grateful. If people aren't well-behaved, why would I thank him?"
"The fact that I'm never going to have to deal with Harvey Weinstein again as long as I live is one of the best things that's ever happened and I'm sure the feeling is universal," she added.
"As women around the world and from all walks of life marched last weekend, I realized that I wouldn't be able to stand here this evening and keep to myself some bitter regrets that I have about poor decisions to work with individuals with whom I wish I had not," she told the audience. "It has become clear to me that by not saying anything, I might be adding to the anguish of many courageous women and men. I know we all stand together in hoping that this moment in history paves the way for a transformed future for generation upon generation to come."