Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
December 02
Kate Winslet October 5, 1975
Kate Winslet Born

Kate Winslet was born on October 5, 1975 in the English of Reading. She admits that while she “didn't have a privileged upbringing,” she grew up with two prior generations of actors. Her grandparents on her mother’s side ran the Reading Repertory Theatre, and those on her dad’s side worked in vaudeville. Both her parents pursued acting careers, although neither was able to sustain them professionally. From a young age, Kate Winslet dove into acting, fighting for parts in school plays, even getting into the competitive Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead. But there, her working class roots and weight –– her schoolmates cruelly nicknamed her “blubber” –– distinguished her from her more entitled peers. In addition to a fierce sense of ambition, Winselt took from her childhood a keen sense of the unfair demands that society, even Hollywood, puts on women. By 12 she got her first TV commercial (turning into a honey bear monster in a Sugar Puffs cereal). By 13 she got bits in TV shows, appearing in several mini-series. Then at 17, while making a ham sandwich at the deli where she worked part time, she got the call that Peter Jackson had cast her in HEAVENLY CREATURES. Her role as a day-dreaming murderous teen won her a London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actress of the Year, and changed her life.  The next year she was cast by Ang Lee to play Marianne Dashwood in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, a role for which she received her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Two years later in the blockbuster TITANTIC, she got her first nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She would continue to get nominated––four times for Leading and twice for Supporting Actress (including for Best Actress in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND in 2004). She finally won Best Actress in 2008 for THE READER. Her singular focus and dramatic versatility led New York Magazine critic David Edelstein in 2009 to hail her as "the best English-speaking film actress of her generation."


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December 2, 1945
Penelope Spheeris born

On this day in 1945, director Penelope Spheeris was born in New Orleans.

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December 2, 1988
The Naked Gun Hits Its Target

It is relatively common these days for TV shows to be adapted into movies, but most often those films were based on successful and much-loved – not to mention long-running – series. However, in the case of The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, which was released today in 1988, the movie in question was the spawn of a TV show, Police Squad!, that had been cancelled by ABC in 1982 after only four episodes were aired. The spoof 70s style police show, however, gained cult status on the back of its silly humor, slapstick antics and intentional continuity errors. Indeed, it had such a Lazarus-like recovery to its reputation that its creators, Airplane's Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker and David Zucker, were given the opportunity by Paramount to make a feature about Leslie Nielsen's bumbling cop, Lt. Frank Drebin. Audiences responded enthusiastically to the film's inane antics and ridiculous plotlines and the movie became a massive success, raking in nearly $80m at the box office and spawning two further sequels – also starring Nielsen, and regular co-stars George Kennedy, Priscilla Presley and O.J. Simpson – both of which also were incredibly popular. The third installment, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, was released in 1994, however the franchise's success is such that Paramount is reportedly considering bringing back the characters for another outing produced by their DTV division (though probably without the involvement of Abrahams, the Zucker brothers or Nielsen).

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