Kate Winslet knows a thing or two about being in a project that audiences can't get enough of.
In the case of her recent HBO limited series Mare of Easttown — which scored 16 Emmy nominations, including a Best Actress nod for her work — the Oscar- and Emmy-winning actress heard a lot from viewers about Mare's personal struggles, including the loss of her son, who died by suicide.
"People really responded to how capable Mare comes across whilst dealing with this extraordinary grief," Winslet says in the latest episode of EW's The Awardist podcast of the "middle-aged heroine" created by Brad Ingelsby. "And for me, that was very, very moving because we really tried to handle the mental health issues that run a sort of steady thread throughout our show... with a really delicate hand, and it was a very fine line... because she is in grief, but she is also depressed. And I think not playing that too heavily or heftily was really challenging; it just had to sit sort of in the pit of my stomach all the time and be, I guess, a quiet simmer. That was very hard and would make me feel daily very sad and sick."
All of that even factors into her willingness to revisit the character for a potential second season — that is, of course, if Ingelsby comes up with a compelling reason to do more.
Michele K. Short/HBO Kate Winslet in 'Mare of Eastttown'
"The end of shooting we were like, 'Holy hell, we can never ever do that again, so if HBO bring up the idea of a season 2, we've just all gotta say no, absolutely not, there's just absolutely no way we could ever possibly do it,'" Winslet recalls. "And then there was talk of, 'Well, could there be?' when the show was getting such great responses. And, creatively, Brad has shared some very cool ideas. we'll see what happens. But I also have to figure out, can I do it? Could I go through it again? It did cost me a lot emotionally to be her, and I just have to figure out if I can summon all that up again. It was a ride, that's for sure."
Winslet also breaks down the filming of that harrowing fifth episode where — SPOILER ALERT! — Evan Peters' Det. Colin Zabel meets his fate.
Check out our full conversation with Winslet below, where she shares her thoughts on SNL's Murdur Durdur sketch, looks back on her first Emmy win for Mildred Pierce and reveals where she keeps that trophy, describes what happened the day her TV mom Jean Smart fell down some stairs during a scene and got a concussion and broken rib, explains the fine details put into Mare's look — from her hair (it's a wig!) to the tattered shirts and scuffed up shoes — and so much more.
Check out more from EW's The Awardist, featuring Emmys analysis, exclusive interviews, and our podcast diving into all the highlights from the year's TV shows and performances.