Week of May 6-12
Mr. Showbiz has a page devoted to ‘Quills’ which features links to reviews and bios of the stars.
Excerpt from the DVD review: Geoffrey Rush prowls and preens with the lusty conviction of a male Mae West; he's clearly aware that this is the role of a lifetime, and he squeezes every last drop of dirty innuendo out of his dialogue. Kate Winslet's a little long in the tooth to play a 17-year-old virgin, but in her spirited, vital performance, it's easy to see how she's stolen the affections of both a priest and a pervert. The real Coulmier was actually a 4-foot hunchback, but the smolderingly handsome Joaquin Phoenix expertly captures his tortured, divided heart. Michael Caine's blindly evil doctor is light-years away from the role of the kindly Cider House Rules abortionist for which he won an Oscar last year. Also terrific are Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Malahide, Jane Menelaus (Geoffrey Rush's real-life wife, playing de Sade's betrothed), and a host of British character actors as the asylum inmates.
The Sacramento Bee also has a brief review of the ‘Quills’ DVD/video:
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine
Director: Philip Kaufman
This is maverick filmmaker Kaufman's elegantly madcap tribute to the Marquis de Sade, pornography and free speech. Rush is a marvel as the Marquis. Here's an actor so shameless and so inventive that when he jumps on a long dining table and struts down it, he turns it into a veritable catwalk. You can't keep him -- or the Marquis -- down.
I found a photo that I hadn’t seen before of Kate with Ken Branagh at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. Here’s the link to that page -- Carlton.com
I found a brief mention of ‘Iris’ in an article about a new direction for the BBC:
"BBC aims to woo directors back to their British roots"
The BBC is teaming up with a Hollywood production company to make big-budget films in an attempt to woo British directors back from Hollywood. BBC head of film, David Thompson, has drawn up a wish list of directors including Ridley Scott (Gladiator), John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) and Jon Amiel (Entrapment). Other Hollywood-based British directors will also be approached by Mr Thompson. Nearly all the Brits now used by the big Hollywood studios started their careers with the BBC.
The move was made possible by an extraordinary deal engineered by the senior BBC executive, Alan Yentob, with the Beverly Hills production company Cobalt Media. The American company is putting about pounds 90m into the partnership and BBC Films about pounds 3m. Yet the BBC will retain 50 per cent of the profits because it will supply the expertise. This not only means the BBC can make big- budget films, it also means the corporation can make big money...
The BBC has already tried to get American co-producers for its latest slate of films. Iris, the forthcoming film about Iris Murdoch starring Dame Judi Dench, and Kate Winslet as Ms Murdoch when she was young, has an American co-producer.
Kate gets a mention in an article about Intermedia’s finances. It is another indication that ‘Enigma’ will be released in the last half of 2001:
IM Internationalmedia AG said first quarter net profit fell to 551,000 eur from 2.273 mln a year earlier, because the company did not release any films in the quarter. The company said the results reflect the industry's typical delivery cycle. First quarter sales fell to 10.256 mln eur compared to 35.997 mln in the same period in 2000, with revenues generated from the film library, shareholdings and interest.
Nine films are currently in production, with actors including Harrison Ford, Nicolas Cage and Kate Winslet, and these are expected to generate revenues in the second half of the year.
I found a nice review of the 'Quills' video in USA Today:
Quills (out of four) (2000, Fox, rated R, $105 range; DVD, $30): No one can accuse the Marquis de Sade of writer's block in Philip Kaufman's admirably fluid adaptation of Doug Wright's Obie-winning play, a movie that triumphs over potentially claustrophobic material. Matter of fact, several scenes deal with fluids, unconventional ones the scandalous Marquis (Oscar-nominated Geoffrey Rush) employs as ink after authorities confiscate quills and other writing instruments in France's Charenton asylum for the insane. Undeniably aimed at specialized audiences and perhaps a tad too schematic, the movie nonetheless mounts a pertinent attack on the frequent hypocrisy of those who'd stifle free speech. Asylum supervisor Abbe de Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix) has allowed the Marquis to write for therapeutic value, but a facility chambermaid (Kate Winslet) is smuggling the sexually scandalous prose out to a publisher. The general populace can't wait to turn the pages, but official France is aghast. Enter Dr. Royer-Collard (Michael Caine), the asylum's newly employed expert in torture devices — an old wrinkly just wed to the hottest innocent in the convent (Amanda Warner). Once she starts reading, her eyes start to roam; suddenly, this cuckold-in-the-making is doling out more severe punishments. Kaufman has directed everything from The Right Stuff to The Unbearable Lightness of Being to the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This movie is more deliriously deviant than any of those as it races toward a mad climactic encounter that, let's just say, makes a strong argument for closed caskets.
The Daily Mail has a wonderful feature on Kate today (May 11):
and Mia Have Family Fun in the Sun"
Little Mia Threapleton almost had a toddle-on part of her own when she visited her mother, Kate Winslet, on the set of her latest film. But at seven months of age, she is only just able to stand unsteadily on her feet and needs her parents there to support her...
I contacted a friend in London, requesting a scan of the article. It - and the great pics - are posted on a separate page. GO!
Here are excerpts from the GQ Magazine editorial (May issue). Thanks to Rebecca for the tip!
"Kate Winslet, Please Save Us," by Terrence Rafferty, GQ’s critic-at-large
It’s not ropy muscles or fake boobs but a woman’s attitude toward her body that makes her sexy.
When I go to the movies these days, I sometimes find myself griped by a very peculiar sort of nostalgia: I miss flesh. I see skin, I see bones, I see many rocklike outcroppings of muscles, but I rarely see, in the angular bodies up there on the screen - either the hard, sculpted ones or the brittle, anorexic ones - anything extra, not even a hint of the soft layer of fatty tissue that was once an essential component of the movies’ romantic fantasy, the cushion that made the encounters between the sexes seem like pleasant, sensual experiences rather than teeth-rattling, head-on collisions...
Comfort in one’s own skin is always appealing, which is probably why, in this sweating, striving, aggressively self-improving era, I find bodies as diverse as Kate Moss’s and Kate Winslet’s mighty attractive. It’s not the body type per se - neither the frail Kate nor the ampler one precisely conforms to my Riggian ideal [Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel in The Avengers] - but a woman’s attitude toward her body that makes her sexy...
The three-page article features a large photo of Kate as Madeleine in Quills (standing by window). The photo caption is: A Woman in Full - Kate Winslet, in a scene from Quills, shows ample self-confidence.
More reviews of the ‘Quills’ DVD:
From the Los Angeles Times:
Rush received Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award nominations for
his gusty turn as the nefarious writer, the Marquis de Sade, in director Philip
Kaufman's controversial drama, "Quills." Set in the French madhouse
where Sade was sentenced to live, the drama deals with Sade's battle with a
conservative doctor (Michael Caine) who is determined to stop Sade's sexually
explicit writings. Kate Winslet plays the laundry maid who smuggles out his
writings, and Joaquin Phoenix is the asylum's resident priest, who lusts after
The DVD features the wide-screen edition of the film, three better-than-average behind-the-scenes featurettes, talent files, a still-photo gallery and two trailers and TV spots.
Screenwriter Doug Wright, who penned the play on which the film is based, supplies the serviceable commentary. He admits he did a bit of embellishing on the facts. In real life, Winslet's character had an affair with Sade, and the priest was not a handsome young man, but a hunchback approximately 4 feet tall. Wright also points out that he didn't have the rights to the English translations of Sade's work, so he wrote all the "excerpts" from Sade's novels heard in the film.
From the Boston Phoenix:
"Now On Video"
"Quills" -- Philip Kaufman’s screen adaptation of Doug Wright’s Off Broadway play about the Marquis de Sade’s last days in an asylum remains audacious. Opening up his chamber drama, Wright doesn’t stint on the juicy banter and malevolent monologues, but Kaufman chooses too often to underline the obvious. Powdered and wigged like an decrepit fop, Geoffrey Rush brings lip-smacking relish to the marquis, who even under lock and key has enough fancy quills to produce blasphemous accounts of mutilated wives and deflowered nuns. Kate Winslet is the admiring laundress Madeleine, who eats up every naughty word; Michael Caine the cruel doctor who’s been dispatched by Napoleon to stop Sade from writing again. He’s doomed to fail: whispered from cell to cell, the marquis’s final story brings to a boil the simmering brutality in his fellow inmates, and the innocent Madeleine pays the price. As Wright’s play argues, true artistic freedom is dangerous and sometimes comes at a painful personal cost.
I have transcribed some of 'Quills' screenwriter Doug Wright's interesting commentary from the 'Quills' DVD. Following are a comments about a couple of Kate's memorable scenes. More commentary will be posted periodically. Spoiler alert!
"We were fond of teasing Kate. We told her that in ‘Titanic’ she survived the entire Atlantic Ocean, but in my film she couldn’t even survive the laundry vat. This shot [Abbe finds Madeleine in laundry vat] was extraordinarily difficult to get. We worked ‘til way past midnight to achieve it. There was a giant motor at the base of the vat, which was elevating Kate’s body from beneath. She actually had on snorkeling gear, which she had to lose the moment before she hit the surface. When we saw Joaquin act the scene, we suddenly realized that no amount of machinery could equal the volcanic emotion he brought to the moment. And Phil simplified the sequence, and we got it in one or two takes."
[Abbe’s fantasy] "This sequence was perhaps the most provocative in the film. We had to find a chapel which had been deconsecrated. There was no church that wanted us to film this particular scene on hallowed ground. The set was closed, it was just the cinematographer, Phil, the assistant director, and our two actors to ensure their comfort in what is admittedly a very challenging scene. The studio was obviously quite anxious about the content of this scene, and given Phil’s unprecedented reputation for eroticism in the movies, they were unsure just how extreme the scene would ultimately be. Phil, I think, filmed it quite tastefully. When we were done, he turned to me and said, ‘well, all things considered, given the subject, I think it’s quite discreet.’ I remember saying, ‘Phil, he’s a priest and she’s dead. I think we’re still in trouble.’ There was a point when the studio asked me to cut this sequence from the existing script. They ultimately missed it and asked me to restore it. They felt it actually was the most thematically true scene to Sade’s spirit in the film.
"There was one line in the scene originally. It was something that Kate uttered to Joaquin to give him permission to kiss her. But, I remember before we shot the scene Kate came up to me and said, ‘I wouldn’t want to say a word against your writing, Doug, but I don’t need that line. I can convey that thought with my eyes.’ And I think Miss Winslet can convey virtually any thought with her eyes. She didn’t need my puny words to do it.
..."I think what’s truly subversive about this scene is we watch these two for the entire film, repressing feelings that they have for one another, the tender feelings and erotic ones, and perversely, we want them to get together. We’re rooting for the scene to happen even though we know it’s completely inappropriate."
Thanks to Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for sending me this item from the Edinburgh News. The article about moviegoers' love of World War II films contains a brief mention of 'Enigma'. It mentions an 'autumn' release (UK):
Got War in its Sights," by Sandy Strang
Oh what a lovely war, they whoop. The battle blockbuster is back. It’s revival time for the genre. Gung-ho Second World War heroics, ripping yarns of love and courage are once more fashionable. We’re awash in a red sea of celluloid conflict.
Saving Private Ryan started the resurrection, as we sat riveted with Tom Hanks and that terrifyingly authentic set-piece D-Day carnage on the Normandy beaches. We then gawped at that bleak siege of Stalingrad, the city that refused to die before the 1942 Third Reich onslaught in Enemy at the Gates. More recently, we’ve gazed at Malena, Sicilian widow Monica Bellucci, ravishing eye candy, inspiring a young lad’s courage and pursuit of honour in war-torn Italy. And this very week, thousands are flocking to see maverick Italian commander Nicolas Cage, aka Captain Corelli, strumming his mandolin on an occupied Greek island and winning the heart of melancholy martyr Penélope Cruz. And the really big one’s yet to come. The grandest, splashiest war pageant of all time. Cue, in June 2001, £135 million of Affleck, Beckinsale and Hartnett enacting their tragic love triangle against the backdrop of Pearl Harbor.
The box office evidence is incontrovertible. War sells. It has serious financial firepower, especially when it’s the Second World War - with America valiantly winning it - and especially when it’s pitched at both genders. War ’n’ romance, love among the shells. Yet most folk today are virgins when it comes to real war, and only about a sixth of us alive just now are old enough to remember the Second World War. So where’s the magnetic appeal? Why do we have this insatiably voracious appetite for silver screen conflict? Why is there this insistent, warnographic, voyeuristic lust for virtual war, for combat as a spectator sport?
The answer lies partly in our love of large-scale exciting spectacle. The Second World War had it in spades, and Hollywood’s got the capacity and the desire to deliver - big-screen conflict pyrotechnics as troops are dive-bombed in their landing craft, towering infernos of exploding battleships, manic human mayhem amidst blitzed and desecrated cities.
But there's a deeper, more insistent impulse reaching far further into our human psyche. Those in war are living in extremis, on the edge. There’s a compelling, life-enhancing immediacy to every action. All human experience, the big universal themes to which we can all relate - sadness, death, comradeship, happiness and love, especially love - is heightened, sharpened, rendered more acute by war’s all too insistent emphasis that mortality is ephemeral. The stark likelihood that tomorrow will never come - it touches a primeval nerve close to the core of all our identities.
The patriotic factor in war flicks is another significant attraction. Most of us respond to their appeal to national self-affirmation even more in an age which all too often denounces our basic instinct for collective identity - even if much of the current jingoistic crop is tiresomely pro-Yank.
And there’s a further platoon of war films on the march. By autumn, when the distant drone of the last bomber has receded into the Pearl Harbor distance, and the spark has gone out on the film’s "beacon of life" Kate Beckinsale, look out for Enigma romance among the Bletchley Park codebreakers with Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet. And spot Cate Blanchett, French Resistance fighter, in Charlotte Gray. Real war may be hell on earth, but the film variant is blissful heaven to Hollywood. Our craving for Love Story - with guns - will assuredly be satisfied. Shoot on.
I found a small Kate item in the May 4 issue of OK! Magazine about "Winslet Place". It features a small pic (head shot) of Kate at the BAFTA ceremony.
"Kate Winslet Has Street Named After Her" -- Kate Winslet was said to be "honored" but "embarrassed" to have a road named after her in her home town of Reading, Berkshire. Deputy Mayor Tony Jones thought Winslet Place was a great name for the cul-de-sac of 50 houses, which each sell for around £130,000.
Ian M. has kindly provided me with more info on Winslet Place; here's what I can share here: "I've now seen Winslet Place and it's a handsome development, still far from complete, offering two-bedroom apartments in a perfectly respectable area. Reading Council have made an appropriate and long overdue gesture."
I also found in the May issue of Empire Magazine a lovely, full-page advertisement for the Holy Smoke DVD and video. The UK poster was used for the ad, along with this tagline at the bottom of the page: "Journey into temptation, but be sure you know your way back. Out now on DVD and VHS." Included in the ad are the comments, "The performance of Kate Winslet's career... Fierce, passionate and brilliant" - Vogue. "Kate Winslet in her sexiest role to date" - Company.
Site News: I scanned a photo of Judi Dench in costume on the "Iris" set, found another pic of Kate on the set, and created a gallery for my "Iris" film section.
I found more reviews of the 'Quills' video/DVD:
From the May 11 issue of Entertainment Weekly:
Since Philip Kaufman fashioned himself (Henry & June) an auteur of complicated sexuality, he's found a compatible subject in the Marquis de Sade. Both believe their silly, feverish, unpleasant erotic scenarios to be revolutionary. Rush and Winslet are in fine literary/sensual collusion as the leering nobleman and the freethinking laundress who smuggles his smut to the seedy masses, but Joaquin Phoenix gives a shudderingly bad performance as a titillated priest. Quills is typical Kaufman: lurid and two-dimensional, a heavy brocade tapesty of a film. Grade: C; review by Arion Berger
A nice 1/3 page advertisement for the DVD also appears in Entertainment Weekly.
From The Record:
Quills (Fox) - Surprisingly, director Philip Kaufman offers less decadence in his story of the Marquis de Sade than he did in his portrayal of Henry Miller in Henry & June. Still, this is hardly an after-school special in its presentation of de Sade as a sort of 18th century Larry Flynt.
Geoffrey Rush is justifiable in chewing up the scenery as the imprisoned writer who must use his charm on a nubile chambermaid (Titanic's Kate Winslet) to smuggle his popular erotic tales out of prison where he writes them first in ink, then after they take away his quills, in his own blood and finally, yup, fecal matter.
The ‘Quills’ video/DVD section of the 20th Century Fox site is up today (May 8). GO! (The page takes a while to load.) The site includes a sweepstakes to win a trip to France. Here’s the bio they’ve posted of Kate:
The ravishing young laundress who inspires the affections of both the Marquis De Sade and his priestly captor is played by two-time Academy Award nominee Kate Winslet. After making an auspicious debut in Peter Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures," Winslet came to the fore starring with Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman in Ang Lee's "Sense and Sensibility," garnering an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Then Winslet won hearts all over the world starring opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the mammoth romantic epic "Titanic." She received both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her performance.
Winslet has also starred with Christopher Eccleston in Michael Winterbottom's screen adaptation of Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure" and Kenneth Branagh chose her as his Ophelia in his full-length version of "Hamlet." Following "Titanic," she starred in the more intimate drama "Hideous Kinky," based on Esther Freud's semi-autobiographical story of women caught up in the hippie trail to Morocco. She most recently starred in Jane Campion's "Holy Smoke."
Eve Ensler’s "The Vagina Monologues" has opened in London, and almost every article about the play mentions Kate’s past involvement. Here's one example:
A five-year global run is the kind of statistic better suited to an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, not a piece of archly feminist performance art. Ensler admits that the celebrity readings held in London, New York and LA starring Oscar-calibre names such as Glenn Close, Cate Blanchett, Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg and Kate Winslet, have not only served to hype the show but taken the sting out of the tail for anyone considering buying a ticket.
"The celebrities certainly gave women permission to go see the show and talk about their sexuality," says Esler. "If you say to your husband, 'I want to see The Vagina Monologues', he might cringe," adds journalist Wendy Paris. "It's awkward. But a celebrity performance makes it OK. It's an event that removes the stigma." Ensler confirms that five years into its run, the once hair-raising title is no longer so shocking to audiences, and newspapers that refused to run advertising the first time around are blase the second.
I found a mention of Kate in an article about the influence of film costuming:
Corsetry has even crept onto the red carpet. At the Oscars, Catherine Zeta-Jones, in a black Versace corset and skirt, showed that boning could be elegant - visions of Kate Winslet tied and bound in Titanic aside. "People's perception of a corset is that it's very ancient and even painful," says Monica Mitro of Victoria's Secret.
Kate ‘tied and bound’? Geez, for a moment there, I had a completely different image in mind, LOL. Well, in ‘Titanic’, of course, Kate played the character as a person ‘trapped’.
‘Parade’ Magazine (a supplement to many U.S. Sunday newspapers) has an interview with ‘Enigma’ costar Jeremy Northam. Following is the section about ‘Enigma’:
"It’s been two years since I was last in your country," Northam told me. He came this time for the Sundance Film Festival, where his new romantic thriller, Enigma, co-starring Kate Winslet, was unveiled. "We got a really nice response," Northam said. he also had been to dinner with Mick Jagger, whose company, Jagged Films, had produced Enigma in partnership with Broadway Video, the company of SNL producer Lorne Michaels. Was the Rolling Stone an old London chum? "No," said Northam. "I’d not known him before. Mick is very bright, very nice."
BTW - Northam plays Wigram in ‘Enigma’, who is sent by the Foreign Office to investigate an incident at Bletchley Park where people are working on breaking the Enigma code. He begins to suspect Jericho (Dougray Scott) and Hester (Kate) of espionage. In the screen captures I have added here, Wigram (wearing hat) confronts Jericho and Hester. More pics in the 'Enigma Gallery'!
Well, here’s another mention of Kate in a UK article about women’s bodies. (I don't write 'em, I just report 'em, LOL.)
"Why Britons Find Breasts Such A Titter," by Barbara Ellen
Is Britain more obsessed by breasts than any other country? Probably not. Is Britain obsessed with breasts? Definitely...
These days large-breasted stars, such as our own Kate Winslet, are still being judged 'fat' or 'blowsy'. The new appetite is for the incredible shrinking female star: women such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Courtney Cox and Nicole Kidman, who are applauded for taking up as little space as possible. What happens in America generally turns out to be a show-reel for the British future, so this passion for streamlined angularity could happen here.
If, indeed, it isn't already. When stars like Geri Halliwell diet so viciously that they lose the bulk of their breast tissue, what are they saying? I think they are saying that breasts are the new fat. Not desirable parts of the body at all, but mere unsightly lumps that need to be 'disappeared' as soon as possible.
Bearing this in mind, our fair isle might be moving on from Comedy T**s UK to a new-style Britain where no breast is best.
Yeah, sure - tell that to the Maxim Magazine readers who recently voted Kate Best... (what was it? Oh yes...) Best Film Actress.
Isn't it too bad more people aren't intrigued by the art of acting?
Here’s a positive comment about Kate’s appearance from a recent article on celebrity make-up:
Admit it, girls, how often have you nipped out to the shops without a full face of make-up on? Well, why should celebs be any different? ...
The Ones Who Scrub Up Nice -- Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman and Kate Winslet are three stars who can show off their good looks without the help of make-up.
Kate Winslet -- Going without slap could have been a Titanic mistake for curvy Kate. But with her clean face, tied-back hair and rosy cheeks, Kate's bare-faced look is just perfect.
The Boston Herald has a review of the "Quills" DVD:
"Even with few extras, ‘Quills' makes impression on DVD," by Mark A. Perigard
After "Titanic," star Kate Winslet was bombarded with scripts, and the one that attracted her the most was "Quills" (Fox, $29.98, - 3 1/2 stars out of 4 stars, available Tuesday) a "tarted-up" history of the final days of the infamous Marquis de Sade. Even though her part was a co-starring role at best, Winslet felt strongly about the project. So it's she we have to thank, according to screenwriter Doug Wright in his audio commentary, for this marvelous bit of filmmaking that stars Geoffrey Rush as the notorious writer along with Michael Caine and "Gladiator's" Joaquin Phoenix.
Having earned the wrath of Napoleon, de Sade is imprisoned in an asylum for the criminally insane. Laundress Madeleine (Winslet) continues to sneak his work out to underground publishers, and that fuels a conflict that finds de Sade fighting not only a benevolent priest (Phoenix) but also the cruel physician (Caine) in charge of the institution. As his writing utensils are removed, de Sade finds even more creative and visceral ways of expressing himself.
Phoenix gives the best performance of his career as a holy man torn between the warring passions, intrigues and madness surrounding him.
Wright credits director Philip Kaufman here for improving on his play. Wright also provides the best bit of trivia, revealing that Academy Award-nominee Rush not only studied de Sade but also the B-films of Barbara Stanwyck for inspiration for his performance!
The extras on the DVD, regrettably, are rather slight. In addition to the commentary, there's a brief making-of feature and a "facts vs. fiction" section that exposes the historical figures depicted. (The priest played so charismatically by matinee idol Phoenix was actually a 4-foot-tall hunchback.) But "Quills" dares to poke at religion, sexuality and government oppression with humor and style. It also compellingly asks what responsibility an author has for the impact of his writings, a question that still resonates today.
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