NEW YORK, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- British actress Kate Winslet says she was deeply affected by the experience of portraying a former SS guard in the post-World War II-set movie "The Reader."
"The actor's job is to understand the character that they are playing and to ultimately love them in order to be able to accept who they are for all their marks and scars and all their crimes even, certainly, in this case, with Hanna," Winslet told UPI in New York recently.
"And I did understand her. Yes, absolutely. I knew that it wasn't my responsibility to make an audience sympathize with her. That was not part of this process for me. I could hope that they might understand her and I could also hope that if they did find themselves feeling any empathy toward this woman at all that that would morally make this audience member feel extremely uncomfortable. That is interesting to me, you know, to feel sympathy for an SS guard? No one wants to allow themselves to feel that, even myself."
Winslet called the role "unbelievably difficult."
"It takes me a heck of a long time to come out the other side of playing any character," she explained. "With Hanna, I've had to really kind of figure out who the heck I am again ... . I was just shattered, and felt very sort of empty and sad."