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Kate Winslet recalls doubts about career: 'Titanic' 'might have been a fluke'

She says she was "scared of Hollywood" after her experience in the blockbuster.
/ Source: TODAY

Kate Winslet knows how fortunate she was to land the role of a lifetime in 1997's "Titanic," because it truly was a career and life-changing moment.

But as she says now, she had serious impostor syndrome going on from the moment she was hired to play Rose DeWitt Bukater in what would turn out to be an enormous zeitgeist blockbuster.

Image: TITANIC, Kate Winslet, Leonardo Di Caprio, 1997, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in "Titanic."(C)20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

"I was the overweight girl who would always be at the end of the line," she explained at the Los Angeles Times' Envelope's Actress Roundtable. "And because my name was a W, sometimes I wouldn't even get in the door of the audition because they'd run out of time before the Ws. And I was in 'Titanic.' It's mad."

The "Ammonite" actor, 45, was playing an American for the first time (she's from the U.K.) and says she worried about being in Hollywood afterward. She said the film town was "a big, scary place where everyone had to be thin and look a certain way."

SFFILM's 60th Anniversary Awards Night - Arrivals
Winslet in 2017 at the SFFILM's 60th Anniversary Awards Night in San Francisco, California.Trisha Leeper / FilmMagic

Winslet continued, "I knew that I did not look that way or feel like I fit there, so if I was ever going to belong, I had to earn my place," Winslet said. "To me, I hadn't earned it. 'Titanic' might have been a fluke."

Of course, it wasn't — Winslet went on to earn an Academy Award for 2008's "The Reader" and has six other Oscar nominations.

This is a theme she's been discussing recently; in January, she guested on Marc Maron's "WTF" podcast and said she'd been "bullied" and "criticized" in the press following the release of "Titanic."

Fortunately, as she got older she began to gain confidence.

"I had this feeling of 'maybe that was just luck,' " she noted in the LA Times. "When I became a mother at 25 (to daughter Mia), all of that stuff evaporated completely. Then two years after she was born, I was asked to do 'Eternal Sunshine' (of the Spotless Mind). I do believe that was a huge turning point in my career because from then on people suddenly went, 'Oh, she can do that?!' "