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Winslet owns most memorable scene in 'Carnage'

The most memorable scene in Roman Polanski's new film "Carnage" belongs to Oscar-winner Kate Winslet.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The most memorable scene in Roman Polanski's new film "Carnage" belongs to Oscar-winner Kate Winslet.

Just ask her kids. Winslet says they haven't forgotten about the day she had to projectile vomit on set.

"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," Winslet told a news conference Thursday ahead of the world premiere of Polanski's latest film in competition at the Venice Film Festival.

Based on the play by Yasmina Reza, "The God of Carnage," the film is a sort of "Lord of the Flies" for the adult set — where civilized intentions go horribly awry as each character reveals their baser sides.

The satire packed with comic moments stars Winslet and Christoph Waltz as husband and wife Nancy and Alan, appearing opposite Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly as Penelope and Michael — two sets of parents who meet to sort out the details of a playground fight that left one of the boys with swollen lips and broken teeth.

The parents manage to maintain the appearance decorum as they niggle over whether Nancy and Alan's son was armed with a stick, or just holding one. But rigid Penelope's assertion that the parents of the alleged bully lack interest in their son's behavior was more than Winslet's Nancy could stomach, literally.

Fittingly, Nancy projectile vomits the cobbler they have been eating — all over Penelope's cherished and rare art books.

Though the stunt required Winslet to operate a complex apparatus, Reilly disputes that Winslet had the toughest job.

"While Kate was the one who threw up, Jody and I had to clean up the vomit, so we had the more disgusting involvement with the vomit," Reilly said.

The all-star cast said they got on famously, and were united in praise of Polanski, who skipped the premiere.

"If Roman Polanski invites you to join in any project, you really don't say no," Winslet said. "I had seen the play in New York so I was already very much a fan on the piece. I just felt extremely fortunate to be included."

Polanski's movements are restricted by an Interpol warrant in effect for 188 countries for extradition to the United States to face sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. He moves freely between Switzerland, which refused to extradite him, and France, which has a blanket policy of not extraditing its citizens.

"Carnage" is set in Brooklyn, but shot on a soundstage near Paris over six weeks. Most of the action takes place inside an apartment, which was constructed to allow the actors to move seamlessly through the space. Brief exterior shots show the boys fighting at a riverside park — and later give the film a bittersweet postscript.

"The use of space was actually a very precise and confined and minimal and detailed affair," Waltz said. "But that is exactly Roman's forte. The precision, the detail, the exactitude. The microscopic way of working."

Polanski had the actors rehearse the script like a play, memorizing the entire screenplay and then doing run through after run through. While the screenplay was similar to the script, Winslet said the tone and rhythm were different — creating a unique piece.

"The whole thing was actually shot in story order from start to finish, which I don't think any of us have ever experienced in film before," Winslet said.