Kate Winslet on Honing Her Dialect for ‘Steve Jobs’ and Her Time With Joanna Hoffman

Kate Winslett Lee Miller
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Kate Winslet plays Apple marketing executive Joanna Hoffman in “Steve Jobs,” a role that’s garnering buzz for yet another invitation to the Oscars for her. Winslet, who has six nominations in the acting categories, won in 2009 for “The Reader.”

Where do you keep your Oscar?

Well, I did keep it somewhere fun. When I was in New York, it used to live in the back of the downstairs toilet. It was deliberate. Everyone could pick it up, and they didn’t have to worry about someone seeing them. At the moment, it’s rather boringly on my desk. We also have a latex kitten mask draped over him.

Why?

We have a lot of fancy dress stuff in this house. The other day, I cracked up laughing. I said, “Who put a latex kitten mask on the Oscar?” My daughter was like, “I think that might have been me.”

You had almost no time to prepare for “Steve Jobs.”

Danny (Boyle) asked me to play the part across a breakfast table in Melbourne. Rather than saying, “Great,” I just went “OK … f**k.” I really remember saying that. I went into full logistics right away.

Did you work with a dialect coach?

Yes, I did. Dude, I’m not that good. I need a dialect coach. Michael (Fassbender) … had personal recordings of Steve, and I had my own personal recordings of Joanna.

And you spent time with her as well.

We spent a lot of time together alone. What I really tried to do was refer to Joanna the character in the third person. Because to her, this was not her. This was a characterization of her and Aaron Sorkin’s interpretation of her.

Did you do a lot of takes?

Yeah, particularly in act one. When you have dialogue that goes on for 10, 11, 12 pages, as one of our big scenes did, it’s very important for a director to have choices. For us, as actors, we had to really remember where we stood on previous takes, where Danny said, “Oh, I like that bit.” We were working overdrive in terms of the technical side of things. It was like doing cartwheels in your brain. And also the most complicated crossword puzzle known to human kind.

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