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kate winslet nude scene lee miller.jpg

Kate Winslet Discusses Her 'Really F***ing Brave' Decision To Go Topless In Lee Miller Biopic

By Emily Richardson | Film | September 12, 2023 |

By Emily Richardson | Film | September 12, 2023 |

kate winslet nude scene lee miller.jpg

Full disclosure: I’ve got a thing about Kate Winslet. I love her acting, her eyebrows, her myriad of accents. Now, can she be en peu problematic? Woefully out of touch? Guilty of marrying a man who changed his last name to RocknRoll? Yes, yes, and yes. But she’s still my go-to British thespian.

This month, Kate covers Vogue to promote her latest prestige biopic about the life of Lee Miller. After sifting through all the Abby Lee Miller/Jonny Lee Miller Google results, I eventually learned that Lee Miller was a model-turned-photographer who provided groundbreaking World War II coverage for Vogue. Kate is well-cast; she bears a striking resemblance to Lee. The film, which also stars Marion Cotillard, Alexander Skarsgård, and Andy Samberg, premiered a couple days ago at TIFF.

Lee features a scene where 47-year-old Kate goes topless at a picnic. It’s based on a real-life (NSFW) photograph of Lee, her future husband Roland Penrose (Skarsgård), Man Ray, the poet Paul Éluard, his wife Nusch, and the model Ady Fidelin.

Now, as anyone who existed in 1997 knows, Kate Winslet is no stranger to a good nude scene. But filming this latest one came with some complications. On the first day of shooting, Kate slipped and injured her back while rehearsing a running scene. She tells Vogue that she had “three massive hematomas” on her spine and could barely stand, let alone exercise, which meant she couldn’t prepare her body for the big screen. Kate says:

“You know I had to be really fucking brave about letting my body be its softest version of itself and not hiding from that,” she said. In another scene, she wears a bikini top. “And believe me,” Winslet said, rolling her eyes, “people amongst our own team would say, ‘You might just want to sit up a bit.’ And I’d go, ‘Why? [Because of] the bit of flesh you can see? No, that’s the way it’s going to be!’ ”

It’s not easy to maintain self-worth in the face of stereotypes of beauty, and Winslet has learned to ignore the white noise of media opprobrium. “I think it probably stems from having been subjected to the most awful scrutiny and judgment, and, actually, I would go so far as to say bullying, from mainstream media when I was in my 20s,” Winslet told me.

Kate tells Vogue that, when she began acting, she was consistently told she was the “wrong shape” and would have to “settle for less” in her career. Fortunately, Kate says she refused to “take that shit from anyone”, adding:

“I know better than to waste precious energy on criticizing my physical self,” she said. “I think any woman is better off just saying: I believe in myself. It doesn’t matter what other people think; this is who I am—let’s get on with it.”

It still boggles my mind that the media brainwashed us into thinking Kate was overweight in the late ’90s. Oh, what a world!

Back in 2021, Kate told The Irish Times that her days of doing nudity were “a little numbered.” She explained that it was less of an “age thing”, and more of a worry that people would eventually say, “Oh, here she goes again.” She also joked that it wasn’t fair to camera operators to have to work to get the best angles of her body as it changed. In another interview, Kate revealed that, after filming her sex scene in Mare of Easttown, the director offered to edit out her “bulgy bit of belly.” Kate says she replied, “Don’t you dare!” She also sent the show’s promo poster back twice because it was too retouched. Kate wanted Mare to be authentically “unglamorous.”

Hey, even though Kate’s still a standard-issue beautiful person, I like that she’s willing to appear less-than-flawless on camera. Lately, I’m becoming more and more distracted by actors’ frozen foreheads, unnatural fillers, and perfectly toned abs. Especially when their characters are unglamorous like Mare. Or, worse yet, exist in the past. Where the hell would you get your lips done in 1945?!

Here’s Kate being glamorous in Vogue: