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Winslet Gets Kinky
Sidestepping Blockbusters

She's the star of the most successful movie of all time, idol to millions of girls around the world, and love object for millions of men. With the amazing visibility she gained through "Titanic," Kate Winslet might have been expected to follow up with another high-profile blockbuster. Instead, Winslet returns to the screen in an independent British film, Hideous Kinky, playing a 1972 hippie who takes a spiritual voyage through Morocco, with two small daughters in tow.

"It was very important to me to let people know that I wasn't going to ride the crest of the wave forever and do lots of Hollywood movies," says Winslet. "I wanted to do something smaller -- something totally different. I still find myself so lucky that I have a choice."

"Hideous Kinky" actually began shooting before "Titanic" opened, but the hype surrounding the picture's release was already in place. "Everyone said to me, 'this is really going to change your life,'" recalls Winslet. "I didn't want my life to change: I liked the way things they were. I suppose I was a little frightened, and as a consequence I knew doing Hideous Kinky would be some kind of grounding springboard before all the madness of Titanic happened."

Right now, it looks entirely possible that "Titanic" may be knocked off its all-time box-office throne by "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace." It's a prospect that worries Winslet not one whit. "If it's bigger than Titanic - great!" she says. "It doesn't matter: A movie is a movie."

-- Sean Doorly
(Written for Premiere Magazine Online)