Pukes. Hurls. Spews. There’s no polite word to describe the gusto with which Golden Globe nominee Kate Winslet vomits, copiously and repeatedly, in Carnage, which opens tomorrow (Friday, December 16).
Her upchucking scene is a comic highlight in the satirical drama and a radical poke at the Oscar-winning actress’ image and past performances. The most familiar of Winslet’s dramatic turns, of course, is her swoony romantic heroine in Titanic (1997), followed by her yearning portrayal of a woman with a secret Nazi past in The Reader (2008), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress.
In Carnage, the British actress plays a chic investment broker who, along with her powerbroker lawyer husband (Christoph Waltz), is at war with another married couple. The two drop by the apartment of a decidedly more middle-class pair, portrayed by Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly, to discuss a playground fight that their school age sons have had. Soon, the duos are waging pitched battle, with couple against couple and, eventually, spouse against spouse. At which point, Winslet’s character complains of not feeling well and begins making like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
Winslet’s children came to the set to watch Mummy work on the key day. “My kids came to work for the vomit day, and I am so thrilled that they were there because they literally have not stopped talking about it since. It was hysterical,” she said at a press conference for the film’s premiere early last September at the Venice Film Festival.
Directed by Roman Polanski, Carnage is an adaptation of God of Carnage, a stage play by France’s Yasmina Reza (Art). The comedy was a hit both on London’s West End (starring Ralph Fiennes, Janet McTeer, Ken Stott and Tamsin Grieg) and New York’s Broadway (with James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis).
In making the movie, Polanski, who co-wrote the screenplay with Reza, had the actors rehearse almost as if doing a full production of the play and shot the film in sequence. In addition to its premiere in Venice, Carnage was the opening night film in late September at the New York Film Festival. Early reviews have been mixed, praising the performances (especially Waltz’s) but dismissing the drama as lightweight posturing. (Today, Winslet and Jodie Foster received Golden Globe nominations for their roles in the film.)
Do you plan to see Carnage?