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Interview with Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet interview

HBO

The series seems to beg the question: Can a mother love too much?

KATE WINSLET

Even in the very end, Mildred still loves Veda and she's going to have years and years of heartbreak because of how much she still loves that child. Its a wonderful and terribly devastating relationship at the same time. But, its also very representative and true of close mother-daughter relationships. Every woman has a mother and every woman will have an issue with that mother and things that mother did or didnt do. It just depends on how you choose to process the lessons that you learned from your own mother. Veda would be lying if she said that Mildred didnt have a direct impact on every day of her life, even if it was just wanting to run away and break free because, of course, that love can be very suffocating.

HBO

Is Monty another unhealthy attachment for Mildred?

KATE WINSLET

In the case of Monty, I think Mildred hung on and hung on and hung on until she simply couldnt take anymore. She was a little bit caught between the devil and the deep blue sea with Monty because in many ways, he did sort of represent some kind of devil with a wicked wit. And that was very appealing to her. But he became a surprising and subsequent drain on her own financial resources and used her in his own specific way to get what he needed to survive on his terms.

"I think it would be fair to say that Veda and Mildred probably both adore Monty as equally as each other which is part of the problem."

HBO

Do Mildred and Veda both really desire Monty, or is something else at play?

KATE WINSLET

Veda wants riches, she wants to look good, she wants to be seen in those grand circles. She wants to be considered to be a wealthy person and not from this working class, chicken fat background, which of course is the last thing in the world that Mildred ever wanted for her child. Its Mildreds Achilles heel whenever anyone reminds her that, actually thats where she's from and that she worked from the ground up. It just kills her; you might as well put a rusty knife right through her heart. And Veda knows exactly where to plunge, exactly the size of knife and exactly how fast or slow to turn it. But Mildred handed her that power. And Monty contributes as well because he doesnt discourage any of Veda's behavior. He doesnt discourage Vedas desire to be seen with him, out and about, in these expensive, grand, lavish circles. Quite the opposite: He enjoys the company. Then when Veda grows up, it becomes something else. But I think it would be fair to say that Veda and Mildred probably both adore Monty as equally as each other which is part of the problem.

HBO

How responsible is Mildred for creating the monster that Veda becomes?

KATE WINSLET

I dont think Vedas born bad; no ones born bad. Childhood is everything in all of us. It informs who we are and the role of the mother is absolutely crucial. I believe that Mildreds desire to give Veda absolutely everything she possibly could stems not only from wanting to give her what she didnt have, but also the things she wasnt able to give her second daughter Ray, because Ray died at the age of 6. This ferocious need to be loved by Veda and have Vedas approval is heartbreaking and so incredibly unhealthy. So that absolutely affects who Veda is and her need to rebel. It also affects how strong Veda feels as a child teenager and young woman. Because Mildreds weakness completely empowers this kid to just tramp all over her. She knows that her mother will do anything she wants her to: show up for her, be there for her, buy her any fur, any car, buy her love, literally, because Mildred is so terrified of loss. That ruins any chance Veda may have had of being a half-decent human being because shes just spoiled rotten. She has no moral compass, no sense of right and wrong. She has no sense of what it feels like to be impoverished because Mildred was determined that her child would never suffer as a result of the Depression, or the fact that Mildred was no longer married to Bert. All of Mildreds guilt, which subsequently becomes obsession and is also piled onto Veda -- God its incredibly complicated. It was exhausting being her, dammit.

Interviews