Winslet was in Philidelphia shooting a mini-series for HBO when the lockdown began, but her preparation for her “Contagion” role, which included embedding with CDC epidemiologists, provided her with knowledge of how to fight such a pandemic.
When news of the virus’ spread throughout the East, the star knew it was time to take action.
“I think it’s the unknown element of this virus. We just don’t know how it’s going to affect any given individual. I think that was what’s so terrifying,” explained the “Titanic” star. “I’m a very practical, straightforward person, and if I have to respond to an emergency, I just go into that zone.”
And “into that zone” she went, taking action to stay healthy much earlier than those around her.
“People thought I was crazy because I had been walking around wearing a mask for weeks, going into the grocery store and wiping everything down with isopropyl alcohol and wearing gloves,” recounted Winslet. “Then all of a sudden March 13 came around, and people were like, ‘F—k, where do I get one of those masks?'”
Regardless of her own safety precautions, the Hollywood heavyweight revealed that two people in her life have been affected by the new coronavirus.
“One was in L.A. and was very lucky to get on a trial using convalescent plasma and did really, really well in the space of, like, 72 hours after the treatment,” Winslet shared. “And a dialect coach who lives in London has had it, was in hospital for 11 weeks, is out, and has had every lung test, blood test, blood pressure test, and is clear of everything but just cannot get better — is breathless, lethargic, still feels very unwell.”
The show she was filming in Philadelphia, “Mare of Easttown,” is hoping to resume production next month, but taking some time off has Winslet worried about something else entirely.
“Now that I’m going to have to go back to work, I’m like, ‘Oh f—k, I’ve forgotten how to act,'” the star said. “It will be with some extraordinary back-to-work protocols, which are great. But when you’re an actor in a film or a TV piece, social distancing is obviously sometimes just not possible, based on the scene.”
In April, Winslet and some of her “Contagion” co-stars Matt Damon, Jennifer Ehle and Laurence Fishburn appeared in a series of PSA messages regarding how to stay safe during the outbreak.
“In the movie Contagion, I played an epidemiologist trying to stop the spread of a hypothetical virus,” Winslet explained. “To prepare for the role, I spent time with some of the best public health professionals in the world. And what was one of the most important things they taught me? Wash your hands like your life depends on it because right now, in particular, it just might.”