Film interview: Kate Winslet

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Kate Winslet isn’t known for making diva demands, but the Titanic star kept the costume and props departments on their toes on the set of her new action film, Divergent.

The Oscar-winner was five months pregnant with her son Bear Blaze when she shot the blockbuster, meaning every effort had to be made to disguise her growing baby bump.

“Behind the clipboard, behind the iPad, oh, anything to hide it,” the mum-of-three recalls with a mock roll of the eyes. “It was great actually; Bear was there, hiding under my coat the whole time. And I suppose it won’t be that long before he can see it.

It’s been four months since Winslet - who wed third husband Ned Rocknroll, the nephew of Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, in December 2012 - gave birth to Bear, but the 38 year old isn’t displaying any signs of new baby exhaustion when we meet.

Dressed in a chic jacket and pencil skirt, her skin glowing and blonde hair pinned back in loose waves, she exudes calm, while those around her rush to keep a hectic set of interviews on track. What’s her secret?

“Because I’ve done it before, and know exactly what to expect, particularly from this phase when they’re so small, I am just really, really relaxed,” the Berkshire-born star says, smiling.

But Winslet admits that mastering what she terms “that work-life-guilt-balance” can prove difficult sometimes. “You just juggle and muddle and somehow make it work.”

And the actress has “no shortage of little helpers”, in the form of Mia (her daughter from her first marriage to Jim Threapleton) and Joe (her son with second husband Sam Mendes).

In Divergent, based on the first novel from Veronica Roth’s best-selling trilogy, Winslet plays a villainous leader in a dystopian Chicago, where youngsters are divided into factions based on their personality traits.

“I’ve never really played an evil person before now,” says the actress. “It’s been fascinating for me playing someone who is quite blatantly cunning and manipulative.”

She describes her character, Jeanine Matthews, as a “female Hitler”.

The film’s themes, of fitting in and finding your identity, were “probably the biggest pull” for Winslet, and brought back memories of her own teenage years, she says.

“It really resonated with me, and I think that’s what’s going to resonate with a lot of people of that age who do go and see this film, because it’s such a confusing time,” she says.

Divergent is in cinemas now.

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