When James Cameron’s blockbuster Titanic sailed into theaters in 1997, audiences were abuzz talking about everything from the film’s run-time, the incredible performances – specifically by up-and-comers Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet – and the infamous nude scene. While the portrait drawn of Kate Winslet’s Rose wearing nothing but the heart of the ocean diamond may be the star’s most known piece of clothing-less performance, it wasn’t her first as that experience happened in Peter Jackson’s 1994 feature, Heavenly Creatures.
In Heavenly Creatures, Kate Winslet stars as a teenager named Juliet whose family uproots their lives from England to Christchurch, New Zealand, where the young woman strikes up a fast friendship with Pauline (Melanie Lynskey). When both families begin to worry about the duo’s relationship with one another, the friends prepare themselves to go to the farthest extremes to keep their bond alive – even if that means murder.
Along with Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey, Heavenly Creatures also starred Diana Kent, Sarah Peirse, Jed Brophy, Clive Merrison, Peter Elliott, and Simon O’Connor. The film performed well during its limited theatrical run and the critics were filled with nothing but praise for the cast, crew, and direction of Jackson’s psychological drama.
The title garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and took home a whopping nine New Zealand Film and Television Awards.
Unfortunately, her experience during that specific scene in the psychological thriller was a less-than-savory one, something she recently revealed to Vanity Fair.
While the Revolutionary Road star refers to the group working alongside her and her co-star Melanie Lynskey as “a lovely crew of people,” Kate Winslet’s memory of the day in which the nude scene was shot was a traumatizing one. “We never felt exposed,” she said, before revealing that she heard one of the camera operators speaking to another member of the team saying, “‘Well, I guess it’s hard-d***s day, boys.’”
At 19 years old, Kate Winslet first appeared nude on screen in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures.
The comment was whispered when the two stars made their way onto set wearing nothing but underwear, “naked from the waist up.”
Completely new to the business, Kate Winslet, who was 19 years old at the time, said that she thought to herself that the comment “wasn’t very nice, but we’d better not say anything.” Furthermore, it’s a memory that she thinks had been “buried” up until the time of the interview as it’s not one that’s crossed her mind in the almost three decades since the film’s release.
Like many other young stars attempting to gain traction in Hollywood and make a name for themselves, Kate Winslet admits that she just let the comment fall by the wayside, adding, “When you’re younger, you do this nonsense thing of just thinking, ‘That’s what men say.’”
Delving into the inappropriate experiences that she and other women have faced on the stages and sets of productions, she went on to say, “I don’t know a single girl, actually, who hasn’t experienced some level of harassment on that level. Even if they’re just words, they’re so powerful. It’s like bullying.”
“When you’re younger, you do this nonsense thing of just thinking, ‘That’s what men say.’”Kate Winslet
As well as discussing what was both a traumatizing and eye-opening day on the set of Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, the Avatar: The Way of Water star also delved into how she now feels years after working for ostracized directors, Woody Allen and Roman Polanski.
Disgusted by the way that both filmmakers were able to continue their careers following the former’s allegations of sexual abuse and the latter’s rape conviction, Kate Winslet says, “What the f*** was I doing?” This is undoubtedly the sentiment that many other stars who have worked with two of the most notorious names in Hollywood have had over the last few decades as each allegation tossed at them is more heavy than the next.
As for the future of Kate Winslet’s critically celebrated career, the Academy, BAFTA, Grammy, Emmy, and Golden Globe Award winner will next appear on the big screen in Ellen Kuras’s biographical drama, Lee. She’ll also re-team with HBO, a pairing that has seen both the network and the star fruitful in the past, on the upcoming miniseries, The Regime, which is set to come out in 2024.