Posts Tagged 'muting natural writing talent'

Kate Winslet and THE READER

Dear Reader,

When I learned Kate Winslet was cast in The Reader, I wondered if she’d be able to dampen her natural luminosity enough to convincingly portray the part of Hanna Schmitz, a notably unluminous woman in Bernhard Schlink’s novel of the same name.  I knew Winslet’s physical presence could be powdered over with makeup and lighting, but had no clue how she’d powder over her fire, her internal presence, to be less than she is. I imagined this role would tire her, exhaust her, even, like when I ask myself to be quieter, humbler, and more constricted than I am. It’s easier to expand, I think. But I could be wrong.

Does it exhaust writers to mute their natural talents? For, say, florid vocabulary, poetics, or meticulous descriptions to write simpler prose? I think so. It’s hard not to allow their obvious talents to shine, to sacrifice their egos for the good of their characters and stories. Yet when they do, they often create memorable, Oscar-worthy writing. And I’m glad they do, just as I’m glad Winslet creates characters like Hanna Schmitz, a woman I’ll never know or forget. I’m also glad she won the 2009 Oscar for best actress. She earned it!