In addition to her star turns in mainstream Hollywood films, Kate Winslet likes to mix in roles in indie, low-budget, arthouse offerings, much to the chagrin of her agents. She preceded and followed Titanic, for example, with such films, and said she never saw that blockbuster "as a springboard for bigger films or bigger pay cheques. It could have been that, but would have destroyed me." Among her most unconventional roles:
HIDEOUS KINKY (1998) Winslet plays the hippy mother Julia, who travels from London to Morocco with her two daughters on a spiritual quest. The actress had turned down the leads in Shakespeare in Love and Anna and the King in favour of the US$12 million (Dh44 million) romance that grossed only $5 million (Dh18.3 million) worldwide.
HOLY SMOKE (1999) Playing opposite the cult favourite Harvey Keitel in this Australian indie film, Winslet portrays a young woman who is spiritually awakened on a trip to India and gets involved with a guru. Some critics panned the film for treating India and Indian religions and culture negatively.
QUILLS (2000) Directed by Philip Kaufman, based on an Obie Award-winning play and co-starring Geoffrey Rush and Joaquin Phoenix, this well-received film and modest arthouse success tells the story of the imprisonment of the Marquis de Sade. Winslet plays Madeleine, a laundress at the asylum who helps the marquis publish his work by smuggling out his manuscripts.
THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE (2003) Winslet plays Bitsey Bloom, a journalist who interviews the title character (Kevin Spacey), who is on death row for the murder of his friend. The US critic Roger Ebert called it "a silly movie" and awarded it zero stars - his lowest rating - and the film earned back less than half of its $50 million (Dh183.6 million) budget.
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004) Impulsive and neurotic Clementine (Winslet) and her reserved boyfriend (Jim Carrey) head an ensemble cast in this neosurrealistic indie romance-fantasy. The film was a huge critical and financial success, and brought Winslet nominations for an Academy Award, aBafta Award and a Golden Globe. Many critics said that Sunshine was the best film of the decade.
And she sings, too
In addition to her roles in about 25 films and her multiple awards from the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Screen Actors Guild, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association among others, Kate Winslet was awarded a Grammy Award for best spoken word album for children in 2000 for Listen to the Storyteller. She has been included as a vocalist on the soundtracks of some films she has performed in, and the single What If from the soundtrack for Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001) was a hit single in several European countries.