updated 12/02/2008 AT 10:00 AM ET
•originally published 12/02/2008 AT 12:35 PM ET
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio have done steamy onscreen sex scenes together before, but for their upcoming film Revolutionary Road, they had to pair up in front of Winslet’s director-husband, Sam Mendes.
“I had a total meltdown,” Winslet said at New York City’s Times Center on Monday. “Sam was there lining the scene up. I’d get things like, ‘Press your hands into his back! No, his back!’ You just have to deal with it. Leo was remarkably fine with the whole thing.”
Mendes, who joined his wife for the TimesTalks conversation about Revolutionary Road, called the scene “a profoundly weird experience” but said Winslet was very professional. Revolutionary Road marks the first time Mendes has worked with his wife, despite Winslet’s efforts to do that for years.
“I was getting a little sick of people like Jake Gyllenhaal, Emma Watson, all these wonderful actors say, ‘Oh my God! Oh, you haven’t worked together, have you?’ I was starting to get a little bit jealous,” the Titanic actress said.
For her part, Winslet, 33, said she is fine with getting naked onscreen as long as the scenes fit the story.
“Every time I’ve been asked to do nudity on screen, I’ve always believed in the scene,” said the actress, who is also naked in her movie The Reader. “I think it’s important that women on screen are portrayed as real women. I’m comfortable in my own skin and I’m comfortable with all the imperfections that I have.”
Winslet said she hasn’t always been so comfortable with her body and was overweight in grade school.
“As a kid, I was bullied at school because I was always quite chubby,” she said. “I was always told I was wrong, I was doing the wrong thing. I was made to feel ashamed of myself and my appearance. And you develop a self-preservation muscle when you experience something like that.”
She escaped the teasing by going into her room and practicing her acting, from making herself cry to makeout scenes in front of a mirror.
“I was the kid who watched Whoopi Goldberg hosting the Academy Awards, and I remember at the end of the show, [she] said, ‘To all those kids out there, who wonder one day if they could be in this room, well you know, that could be you.’ I was that kid that said, ‘Oh my God, that could be me!’ I’ve been there five times!” RELATED GALLERY:
2001: Kate vows to remain curvy
1996: Kate named one of PEOPLE’s ‘Most Beautiful’!