Winslet: 'Reader' affair not improper

Dec. 12, 2008 at 10:55 AM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- British actress Kate Winslet says she is offended by anyone who would describe her character's relationship with a teen in "The Reader" as statutory rape.

In the film, her 30-something character Hanna has an affair with a 15-year-old boy in post-World War II Germany.

Asked by a reporter at a New York press day recently if she had any trepidation about approaching controversial material such as statutory rape, as depicted in "The Reader," Winslet replied: "I've got to tell you, I'm so offended by that. No, I really am. I genuinely am. To me, that is absolutely not this story at all.

"That boy knows exactly what he's doing. And, for a start, Hanna Schmitz thinks that he's 17, not 15, you know? She's not doing anything wrong. They enter that relationship on absolutely equal footing. Statutory rape? Really, please, don't use that phrase. ... This is a beautiful and very genuine love story and that is how I always saw it," Winslet explained. "She didn't force him into anything at all. There's nothing I believe to be remotely inappropriate or salacious about that relationship."

Winslet went on to say there is a 19-year-gap between her own grandparents' ages.

"And I was in a relationship for five years from the age of 15 to 20 with a man who was 13 years older than me, who remains one of the loves of my life, and he passed away when I was 20 years old," she added. "So, I think we really are coming at it from a different angle."

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