Wednesday night, at the much buzzed about premiere of The Reader, we asked Kate Winslet what it had been like to replace Nicole Kidman in the film. (Ms. Kidman departed in January due to her pregnancy.)
“Often actors jump in an out of each others parts, you know?” Ms. Winslet was wearing a brown off-the-shoulder dress with brown shoes and dark lipstick, and had her hair curled slightly off the shoulder. “You guys don’t tend to hear about that stuff. I did have very early discussions with [director] Stephen [Daldry] about playing Hannah and I simply couldn’t do it. … There was just no way to make the schedule work. And the role went away and it became Nicole’s part. And I was so happy to buy my ticket and queue up to see that movie. And then she became pregnant with her child and the role became available again.”
So what does The Reader screenwriter David Hare (who wrote the screenplay based on Bernhard Schlink‘s semi-autobiographical novel) think of Ms. Winslet cast as the character he wrote?
“She was always my first choice,” he said. He stood in front of us in a very tailored suit, looking all around. “As much as I appreciate and admire Nicole Kidman’s work, I feel that Kate Winslet is more suited for that role than Nicole Kidman.”
We couldn’t help ourselves and asked if he thought his film might do better than Australia. His publicist burst out laughing.
“I have no idea how well Australia does,” he said, smiling.
Ralph Maccio, star of the ’80s Karate Kid movies, also walked the red carpet with The Reader stars. When asked why, he said it was because he appreciated films with “a nonlinear time progression.” He said he was excited to see the movie and was also very impressed by the cast. (Perhaps his presence was subtle promotion for Jaden Smith‘s upcoming Karate Kid film?)