Kate Winslet Talks to Emmy About How Her New Role in HBO’s Mare of Easttown is Different Than Anything She’s Ever Done

In addition to playing the title role in HBO’s seven-episode limited series Mare of Easttown, Kate Winslet took on a new job as executive producer, a first for the Emmy-winning actress. Winslet talked to emmy magazine about how she was affected by the character and the joys of mentoring young actors. The award-winning official publication of the Television Academy hits newsstands April 19.

While the English actress is vastly different from the character of Mare Sheehan—a troubled small-town detective searching for two missing girls in Pennsylvania—writer/creator/executive producer Brad Ingelsby knew she would be a good fit for the role. “When we were looking to cast Mare, obviously we thought of Kate,” said Ingelsby, “and I had given the first two scripts to her agent. Usually it takes weeks and weeks to get an actress of Kate’s standing to look at material. She read it overnight. We had the chat, and she was like, ‘Great, I’m in.’ We couldn’t believe it. But I think she really was passionate about doing something different.”

Mare of Easttown debuts April 18 on HBO and HBO Max. In the emmy cover story “Her Quiet Place,” Winslet shares what drew her to the role. “Initially I was flattered,” says Winslet. “I knew how lucky I was to be asked to read something that could have been offered to an American actress, for example. The writing was utterly real and wonderful, and I could feel myself saying those words—that’s always a real indicator for me.”

To authentically capture the setting of Delaware County, outside Philadelphia, Winslet had to adopt a very specific dialect and a set of beliefs and values that supported her role and the script. “Mare is a totally different character for me,” says Winslet, “different from anything I’ve ever done. She swears; she vapes; she eats absolute junk.” The accomplished actress, whose numerous awards include an Emmy (for HBO’s Mildred Pierce in 2012) and an Oscar (for The Reader in 2009) was essentially required to inhabit the character. “I had to invent more trauma for myself to play this part than any character I’ve ever played.” Despite the challenges, Ingelsby believes Winslet nailed it. “As soon as you see her on the screen,” he says, “you totally believe. The conviction she has is amazing.”

For Winslet, Mare was a character that was hard to shake. “The other day when I came downstairs, my husband looked to me and was like, ‘Is that one of Mare’s hoodies?’ I said, ‘Yes, just don’t say anything. It’s a process I’m going through. It’ll be gone soon.’ I’ve been her for a year-and-a-half, right? You can’t just switch it off.”

Additional feature highlights from the new issue include:

  • In “All Shook Up,” emmy talks to Katori Hall, creator, writer and executive producer of the breakout STARZ drama P-Valley, about the challenges of capturing Black people and their linguistic traditions throughout the series.
  • Co-creator Robert Kirkman is well known for AMC’s long-running series The Walking Dead, but comic book fans have been following the prolific writer for years. In the story “In Flying Colors,” Kirkman talks to emmy about Amazon Prime’s animated adaptation of his popular comic book, Invincible.
  • Newton Minow, former FCC chairman under President John F. Kennedy, was renowned for his blunt criticism of commercial television, defined in his famous “vast wasteland” speech to the National Association of Broadcasters. In “For the People,” his daughter, writer Nell Minow, talks to her dad about his significant contributions to the medium and some of his formative experiences.


About emmy
Emmy, the official publication of the Television Academy, goes behind the scenes of the industry for a unique insider’s view. It showcases the scope of television and profiles the people who make TV happen, from the stars of top shows to the pros behind the cameras, covering programming trends and advances in technology. Honored consistently for excellence, emmy is a six-time Maggie Award winner as Best Trade Publication in Communications or the Arts and has collected 52 Maggies from the Western Publishing Association. Emmy is available on selected newsstands and at TelevisionAcademy.com for single print and digital copies as well as subscriptions.

Photo by Greg Williams, Emmy Magazine