2007 Mar 26

The Sense And Sensibility Diaries

Ok, so this is beyond awesome!

The lovely Steph stumbled upon a copy of “The Sense And Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries” in her university library. It’s written by Emma Thompson and includes entries from a diary she kept during the making of the film, many of which make mention of our beloved Kate. And she was kind enough to share it with us. The whole thing is fabulous, so as she was reading, she jotted down the Kate mentions. There are some very cute and funny bits here and there.

You can read it by clicking the link below or at the filmography’s Sense And Sensibility page. :)

PREAMBLE: (on casting)

“Gemma Jones, Kate Winslet, and Elizabeth Spriggs are so immediately Mrs. Dashwood, Marianne, and Mrs. Jennings that we find it difficult to imagine anyone else in the roles.”

Friday 7 April:

“Shepperton Studios house the production offices and rehearsal rooms. Rehearsals with Gemma and Kate. Both surprised to find that Ang begins with meditation and exercises – this is not usual. We sit on cushions and breathe. We massage each other’s pressure points. It’s very painful. Loud screams, particularly from Winslet. …
Cloudy. We shoot make-up and hair tests. My hair looks too red, Kate’s make-up not quite right.”

Monday 17 April: Alston Country House in Devon (Barton Cottage/Norland Park)

“Kate arrived looking slightly wild. Said her solo sessions with Ang had reduced her to a squashy bit of cotton wool. She’s practicing the piano on a keyboard in her room.

Kate and I at dinner revert to girlieness thus: ‘Oh no no no I’m not eating, oh all right just a starter then, ooh that looks good, can I taste it, give it here then, are you going to finish that? christ no of course I can’t have pudding bring four spoons, just an inch then, just to relax me, no don’t take the bottle away it’s a waste definitely no coffee do you have decaf?’ etc. It’s pathetic. I’m thirty-six and ashamed of myself.”

Tuesday 18 April:

“Kate looks a bit white. The bravest of the brave, that girl. I can’t imagine what sort of a state I would have been in at nineteen with the prospect of such a huge role in front of me. She is energized and open, realistic, intelligent and tremendous fun.”

Wednesday 19 April:

“Rehearsals begin for Kate and Gemma’s first scene – a difficult one to start with, very intimate and full of grief. They talk about Elinor’s growing attachment to Edward and in her responses Marianne reveals her romantic sensibilities and sets up the image of her ideal man. We’re also aware that behind Mrs. Dashwood’s equally romantic visions is a harder-edged reality – she must get her daughters married for their financial and social security. To find the balance between profound familiarity and informing the audience about character is hard. I’m very concerned not to allow ourselves any false affection – the sentimentalized ‘close’ family who are always caressing eachother. I don’t think they exist. Neither Gemma nor Kate is sentimentalist, but still, it’s always something to watch out for.

Three scenes down. Gemma and Kate triumphed and shook a lot all over. Nerve-wracking to do the first shot on anything.”

Thursday 20 April:

“Kate very calm and happier today, I think, now she’s up and running.”

Friday 28 April:

“Kate seems very well. Independent soul. She’s taken herself off to see Little Women.”

Sunday 30 April:

“8.20 a.m. Bath and then a walk with Kate before lunch.

7.30 p.m. Notes from Ang for Kate have floored her but she rallies. We all got them, I remind her.” [Emma’s first director’s note (criticism) from Ang: ‘Very dull. Don’t look so old’]

Monday 1 May:

“5.30 p.m. Kate and I did a quick shot on a hill. Bitty day. Tomorrow will be difficult and exciting and everyone is on board. Entire cast, except Imogen and Richard Lumsden.

9.30 p.m. Bed. Imelda (Staunton) down from Inverness. Alan (Rickman) also just arrived, is in the bar with Hugh G, Mick, and Kate. Incipient thrush, me. Luckily Kate had some live goat’s yoghurt which I’ve applied with middling results.”

Wednesday 10 May:

“Everyone in wet-weather gear looking resigned. Mist machine extraordinary – a cylindrical contraption on a truck expelling great billowing clouds which were then pushed up the hill by the (light wind). Nick (Wilkinson, horse-master) did stunt riding for Greg brilliantly… Kate rolled down the hill endlessly, happily doing all her own stunts. Rain machine. Then it did rain so poor crew stood about in both special effects and real rain. Everyone sodden by the end of the day and exceedingly tired… Kate and Greg sopping wet and brave.”

Saturday 12 May:

“Overheard later:

Kate: ‘Oh God, my knickers have gone up my arse.’
Alan: ‘Ah. Feminine mystique strikes again.’

Greg has to drive in a carriage with two horses, make them stop on a pre-arranged mark, hold them steady while acting and getting Kate into her seat and then move them off as if he did such things every day of his life.

Kate tells me her first note from Ang was, “You’ll get better.’ I shrieked.

It’s rainging now. The weather reports are all contradictory and none describes with any accuracy the weather we’ve got. Greg and Kate in the high-flyer were a wonderful sight – genuinely transported with excitement. Probably because it’s quite dangerous.”

Tuesday 16 May:

“10.20 p.m. In bed with herbal cushion from Kate. She fainted at 6 p.m. – so cold, so wet for so long. Alan found Ang sitting on a box, his head low, his fists clenched.

‘I tortured her,’ he moaned.

‘Don’t worry,’ said Alan. ‘You’ll have the opportunity to do it to me soon.’

Kate was sent flowers by the production and four bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale from the ADs (Assistant Directors). We warmed her up slowly in her caravan, her feet thrust into Greg’s armpits. According to Paul (our paramedic) this is the best way of warming feet and she made a very good recovery. The hotel had built an enormous fire which we sat around with a glass.

Bad weather means more rain work for Kate tomorrow so we’ll have to be very careful. We sat today in a strange, tiny hut on the beach, drying her stockings before a real fire, and steaming gently. Good work today, though.”

Wednesday 17 May:

“Kate got rained on again. She’s been a total hero and heartbreaking on the hill with the sonnet.”

Wednesday 24 May:

“Lunchtime. Kate and Gemma are sitting in their corsets talking about the Hollywood Porn Awards – they’ve found pictures of this ceremony in an old magazine.”

Friday 26 May:

“Rain. Winding down, mellow atmosphere… Fell asleep in Kate’s lap. Feel very calm… Kate makes a bracelet. We’re in our nighties, our plaits down our backs. Ang settles down for a snooze. The weather does worry him. Only one day left at this location. Hypnotic, Kate’s hands knotting the threads.

Discussion about shots and us (Kate and I) sometimes looking less than perfect. Ang says, that’s not what it’s about, looking good. We agree, fervently.”

Saturday 27 May:

“Fell asleep at lunch and awoke to find Emilie, Kate, Ang, and Greg playing games. It’s not like work at all today. Raining. Cosy.

Shooting Willoughby carrying Marianne up the path. They did it four times. ‘Faster,’ said Ang. They do it twice more. ‘Don’t pant so much,’ said Ang. Greg, to his great credit, didn’t scream. The image of the man carrying the woman is horribly effective.

My roll-ups keep going out [cigarettes]. Kate makes hers like small sleeping bags.”

Tuesday 30 May:

“Weekend in London. Travelled Monday with Kate and Imelda to Yeovil and found myself in a glory of stone and wisteria at Montacute – the location for Cleveland, home to the Palmers.”

Wednesday 31 May:

“Kate and I are on so consistently that we’ve forgotten the camera’s there. Best thing.”

“Tuesday 6 June:

“Night shoots. Wilton – the home to the Earl of Pembroke – is our location for the interiors of the ballroom sequence where Willoughby encounters Marianne and makes it clear that their relationship is over. It’s a breathtaking pace. Camera crew already tense about the size of the rooms and the difficulty of shooting them, let alone with a crowd of extras. Tension mounts. No time to rehearse. It’s dark. Think I’m getting conjunctivitis. Smoke too. This is produced from a little canister and wafted about the room. It diffuses light and is very effective on camera but it eats up the oxygen. Kate felt sick and then wanted to cry. She can’t afford to, it takes too long to re-do the make-up. I do Jimmy Cagney impressions to distract her. She asks me to go away.”

Wednesday 7 June:

“Drops from local doctor (a dish, incidentally) for incipient eye infection. Very sore. Paul the medic run off his feet. Kate’s foot has swollen – inexplicably.

Kate probably won’t get on camera tonight but is staying up anyway to remain on a similar time scale.”

Thursday 8 June:

“Kate’s got phlebitis in her leg and a limp; my eyes are pinker than Ang’s breakfast buns.

Kate came down stone stairs very carefully in order to protect her leg, slipped and hurt her wrist. She’s at the hospital now having an X-ray. Frankly, I’m not expecting her to survive the night.

Kate is back. It is just a sprain. Bandages everywhere.”

Monday 12 June:

“Kate’s phlebitis much better and my eyes clear.”

Wednesday 14 June: New location: Mompesson House in Salisbury.

“Base camp has been set up in the car park of Salisbury Cathedral. Kate and I walk through the cathedral grounds to Mompesson. Hardly anyone gives our bonnets and empire lines a second glance.

Back at Trafalgar, we’re doing a carriage scene on a low-loader. Five more scenes to do today. Kate and I are zombies, smoking, crunching peppermints and drinking water. Only achieved one take in the low-loader – it takes so long to set up.”

Thursday 15 June: Kate did her breakdown scene wonderfully well. In nearly all the weepy scenes I’ve tried to get one good joke. Less indulgent.

Saturday 17 June: Hung over again. Got up this morning and could not find my glasses. Finally had to seek assistance. Kate found them inside a flower arrangement. Bags under my eyes purple.

Thursday 29 June:

“Kate’s drained by playing illness. Very great build-up to ‘do not leave me alone’. I shall be very glad when it’s over. Reached shot 500. According to tradition, champagne was served – at lunch, so none of us could drink it.”

Monday 3 July:

“We’ve been waiting three hours now – for two bits of wood on a trailer. Kate’s on loo talking to me. She’s lost her Columbia dressing gown. Yvonne (our dresser – and a fabulous rock-and-roll singer) says she knows this one’s mine ‘because there’s a large food stain down the front’.”

Wednesday 5 July:

“Already 5 p.m. and three shots to go. Difficult to get right – an odd mixture of teasing and serious. I’m concentrating too hard on Kate and her bits and being rather bad in my own.”

Thursday 6 July:

“Kate and I inadvertently drank too much so I was up at five.

Kate and I in right old state doing ‘Dearest Papa’ – frightening and too emotional, at least for this old bag. Too much emotion slopping about anyway, never mind playing scenes about dead fathers and dying sisters. Kate was calling up some tears and I whispered, ‘This will be over soon and we’ll be parted.’ We immediately both burst into loud sobs. Having a widdle and a roll-up to recover.”

Friday 7 July: Last day of shoot.

“We’re all down at Kempton Park Racecourse now. Hot. Picnicky and Fun. Last shot for me was at 7.30 p.m. I cast aside my sweat-soaked corset in some relief while Kate collapses on the grass. She cries. I beg for alcohol.”

5 Comments on “The Sense And Sensibility Diaries”

  1. This is great! I remember reading this awhile ago, but forgot. My favorite lines have to be these two:

    “We massage each other’s pressure points. It’s very painful. Loud screams, particularly from Winslet. …”
    “Kate came down stone stairs very carefully in order to protect her leg, slipped and hurt her wrist. She’s at the hospital now having an X-ray. Frankly, I’m not expecting her to survive the night.”

    Emma is so great with words. She’s so witty.

  2. Wow! I’ve never read this!

    Poor Kate. It sounds like she got hurt a lot, lol.

    Btw, have you ever read Kate’s Titanic diary? There’s a link to it on Discover Kate.

  3. I have this book, didn’t even think twice that I should pull out the Kate mentions and then provide them for you all. I am so bad. Anyway, I’ve had Emma Thompson sign it, but I haven’t approached Kate with it ’cause there’s always something else I want her to sign instead. Oh and I’ve only successfully gotten her to sign once. :)

  4. That was funny… Sounds like she had a hard time shooting this one.

    Btw. what’s with her and fainting on set?

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