cop this A titanic change for gun-toting Kate Winslet in new blockbuster detective show 'Mare of Easttown'
Actress reveals she'd make a lousy cop in real life
Awards magnet Kate Winslet may have aced the famously tricky Delaware County dialect and even learned how to fire a gun to play Detective Mare Sheehan in Mare of Easttown.
Just don't ask the star to crack any cold cases. "I'd be a lousy detective," laughs Kate. "I'd be very good at the coffee and the after-beers, definitely. I'd be good at that, for sure.
"But this character, in many ways, she felt a million miles away from me, which she is, in terms of the job that she does.
"I could never do the job that Mare does. I don't think I have the mental stamina that is required. I have stamina, but in a different way. But I think the one thing I did feel I had in common with Mare, that I quite honestly was able to lean on a lot, was that real sense of family and how much it means to her to hold that together at all costs."
Sky Atlantic's newest must-binge follows the tormented detective as she investigates a local murder while trying to keep her life from falling apart. It's the second time in recent memory that the British talent has swapped the silver screen for the small screen after wowing in 2011 mini-series Mildred Pierce, with Easttown co-star Guy Pearce.
But the period drama darling admitted that she was terrified to break away from type in the modern-day mystery, which kicks off tomorrow night, after first being sent the script in 2018.
"I had something else coming up, which ended up being the film Ammonite," recalls the 45 year-old, who plays palaeontologist Mary Anning opposite Saoirse Ronan in the 2020 romance.
"So wrapping my head around how I would make this jump from the character I was playing at the time to being Mare Sheehan, it was like one of the biggest challenges I think I've ever been slapped with. I just had never done anything like this. So that's pretty scary in a great way if you're an actor like me who likes to feel terrified and exposed.
"I was excited to read something that just gripped me right away. And I wanted to be part of an ensemble. There's nothing more luxurious for an actor to spend time in the company of other wonderful actors. So I was very excited by all of it.
"It sort of came at the perfect time in many ways for me where I was looking for something that was going to consume me as much as this would and it certainly did. I feel very lucky that it came along."
Guy Pearce, Evan Peters and Jean Smart are just some of the other powerhouses who round out the cast of the seven-part crime drama.
But it was real-life sergeant detective Christine Bleiler that the Oscar winner reveals she learned the most from as she morphed into cop and grieving mum Mare for the limited series.
"She was just incredible and very supportive and was on set with us a lot," tells Kate, who shot to worldwide fame in Titanic in 1997 alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.
"I'd get so obsessed with putting the handcuffs on correctly. She was like, 'Sometimes it's messy. Sometimes one of them falls off and you're like, oh shoot, I've got to do that again on the way to the back of the car'.
"I didn't want to just be quickly shown on the day, so I really did spend several months working with the Easttown Police Department, as well as Marple Township Police Department and they were all amazing.
"It's a place that really exists. So that was kind of how I worked through.
"It was just observing real people working with real people. And if anything ever felt fake or phony, we would say, 'Tell us, please tell us right away'."
From Prime Suspect's Jane Tennison to The Bridge's Saga Noren, the Hollywood A-lister now joins a long list of kick-ass female television detectives - so was she tempted to tumble down that rabbit hole in preparation for the gritty part?
"I deliberately didn't," says Kate. "It's such a good question, actually, because it was a real dilemma for me. Not knowing this world at all, well, where can you find those things? TV shows. But what I did do was I watched a lot of real crime drama and a lot of YouTube footage.
"Particularly of the opioid district, Kensington, because I spent some time working with real police department individuals in blacked-out vehicles driving around those areas in order to learn."
Perfecting the 'Delco' twang distinct to Delaware County, meanwhile, proved an even bigger challenge for the quintessential English rose.
"It drove me crazy," she laughs. "I mean, it drove me crazy because there are really varying degrees of it. It was up there with among the hardest accents I've ever done. But it adds so much to Mare and to the character.
"The thing that was hardest for me was to do it well enough that you kind of shouldn't hear the act of doing it. I always hate that when you can hear someone doing a voice or doing an accent.
"I did spend a long time working with a coach and working with people locally, as well. And then finally, on the last day of the shoot, I was like, 'Oh, I think I've nailed this now'."
Despite the subject matter, leading lady Kate promised that Mare of Easttown, which is already winning glowing reviews Stateside, isn't one of those depressing lockdown binges.
"The story has such a heart to it and it's rooted in so much truth, and it just really resonated with me," she says.
"Mare's love for her family is the thing that bolts her down and drives her in life and is her number one priority.
"And that was something that I was able to connect with in the midst of all these other things that were so far away and so far removed from myself."
Mare of Easttown starts on Sky Atlantic tomorrow night at 9pm
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