“It’s like, what the f** was I doing working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski?” Winslet said in an interview published Thursday in Vanity Fair.
“It’s unbelievable to me now how those men were held in such high regard, so widely in the film industry and for as long as they were. It’s f****** disgraceful. And I have to take responsibility for the fact that I worked with them both. I can’t turn back the clock. I’m grappling with those regrets but what do we have if we aren’t able to just be f****** truthful about all of it?”
Allen was first accused of sexually abusing his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, during his relationship with actress Mia Farrow in 1992. He’s always denied the allegation and said he avoids thinking about it.
Rosemary’s Baby director Polanski fled the country in February 1978, 11 months after having sex with a 13-year-old girl, who said that he’d raped her after a photo shoot. He pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sex with a minor in August 1977 and had been awaiting sentencing.
In Winslet’s interview, she said both the Me Too movement and her latest film, Ammonite, centred around the love story of two women, helped her come to that conclusion. It’s while working on the film, in which she plays 19th century British paleontologist Mary Anning, that she began noticing things such as the difference in how same-sex couples are presented and the reaction. (She noted that, while promoting the film, she’s repeatedly been asked what it was like to kiss co-star Saoirse Ronan.) And the way that, when a woman taking the lead in a movie is always “feisty and taking control,” rather than just someone who knows what she wants.
“Ammonite has made me really aware of being even more committed to honouring what women want to be saying for themselves in films and how we really want to be portrayed, regardless of sexual orientation,” Winslet said. “Because life is f****** short and I’d like to do my best when it comes to setting a decent example to younger women. We’re handing them a pretty f***** up world, so I’d like to do my bit in having some proper integrity.”
In some ways, the experience angered her.
“It made me feel a little bit mad at myself that maybe I haven’t taken enough responsibility for how I might have allowed a character to be portrayed in heterosexual relationships onscreen in the past,” Winslet said. “I feel so fortunate to have been in a position for a good many years where I could hold my own, keep my head down and try and produce decent work… but it’s easy to lose one’s voice along the way and to lose sight of the responsibility that comes with that. And I don’t want to f*** that up. I know that I can always do better.”
The Contagion star said that something else she’s realised as of late is that she can’t go back to living the Hollywood lifestyle after the pandemic. She vowed to repeat the dresses she wears on the red carpet and be more conscious of travel.
“I’ve said to the people who help me with press, ‘If any of the bans are lifted anytime soon, and the requests come in for me to fly places, can you apologise and say I won’t be doing that because it’s a waste of air travel?’” Winslet said. “It’s appalling — putting ourselves into the sky left, right and centre. There’s only so much a person can stomach before your morals come into play.”