Kate Winslet Says Learning the Accent for HBO's Mare of Easttown Was 'a Little Crazy-Making'
Kate Winslet has had to learn many accents during her career, but the one she had to master for her latest role may have stood out as being one of the hardest.
In a new interview with The Los Angeles Times' The Envelope podcast, the actress, 45, said learning how to do Pennsylvania's Delaware County accent for her new HBO show Mare of Easttown was "a little crazy-making."
"It's interesting because I realize that as I was learning the dialect it was definitely affecting the emotional register of the voice I was finding for Mare," she said, noting that her character, detective Mare Sheehan, has a deeper register than her own.
"Because she was born there, she was raised there, I had to do it pretty darn well" she added with a laugh. "It was a little crazy-making, I'm not going to pretend it wasn't."
As for what made the experience so difficult, Winslet noted that because the dialect is "very strong" she felt it "could easily be pushed into a sort of caricature-y voice."
"I didn't want to create a voice, I wanted to create a person and the voice had to just be secondary to that. So for me, the goal and the hardest part of all of it was doing it and doing it well enough that it just sort of disappears and you don't then hear me doing it," she added, before quipping, "It's pretty hard not to hear a Delco dialect though, let me tell you."
Ahead of the show's premiere, Winslet called the Delco dialect one of the "hardest accents I've ever done."
"In the top three for sure," she said at a virtual panel in February, according to Indiewire. "It's one of only two dialects in my life that made me throw things — that and the dialogue that they made me do in the movie about Steve Jobs."
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Also in The Los Angeles Times interview, Winslet revealed that while preparing for the show, she developed a fascination with Wawa: a popular local chain of convenience stores.
"Before I started filming I was preparing and researching, doing my stuff that I always do for probably about 5 or 6 months beforehand. I thought, How do I even connect with where I'm going?' " she said.
Part of her process involved subscribing to a local paper. "And there would regularly be some article about Wawa, or some offer. To me, It almost felt like a mythical place, Wawa," she joked. "By the time I got there I was like, 'It's real.' "
"Waking into a Wawa felt like an honor in a funny way. To me that was the heart of Delco, was Wawa," Winslet added. "To finally walk through the door of a Wawa, I felt like, 'Ah yes, I'm here.' "
When it came to physical preparations for the role, Winslet previously said that she had to "stay very fit" to portray her character. "I had to physically do a lot of tackling and fighting and arresting people, you know, taking huge grown men down to the ground," she said in the April issue of emmy magazine.
The Oscar-winning actress went on to add that while she wanted her character to look strong, she didn't "want to make her an impossible, superhuman forty-something-year-old."
Winslet added, "Most women aren't like that. We do what we can in the midst of the juggle of everything else."
New episodes of Mare of Easttown air Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.