Mare of Easttown stars Kate Winslet in role that makes her feel ‘terrified and exposed’ on HBO

HBO’s Mare of Easttown, Kate Winslet, Evan Peters, James McArdle

 Kate Winslet (of Titanic fame) stars in the title role in Mare of Easttown, an addictive whodunnit limited series airing Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO, with streaming on HBO Max.

 The suspenseful seven-part drama is set in Pennsylvania’s Delaware county, known to the locals as “Delco.” Winslet plays Mare Sheehan, a woman she says, “is nothing like me. So that’s pretty scary in a great way if you’re an actor like me who likes to feel terrified and exposed.”

 Winslet may have been terrified by her complex “Delco” detective role in the dour crime saga, but audiences are saying she’s brilliant, and critics are raving about the show, with 92% from Rotten Tomatoes. And she was paid the ultimate compliment when Kate McKinnon did a parody of Winslet’s grim Philly Mare on Saturday Night Live. SNL nailed it when the detectives are chided for getting Wawa Hoagie droppings all over the crime scene.

Kate Winslet in “Mare of Easttown.” (Michele K. Short/HBO)

 The show follows an unglamorous detective Mare Sheehan, who has one bad hair day after another (Winslet seems to love sporting severely tousled bed hair). She’s tasked with investigating a local murder as her own life crumbles around her. The dark side of a close community is explored and provides an authentic examination of how family and past tragedies can define our present. And Winslet has met her match with Jean Smart playing her opinionated mom Helen with an unbridled spirit that’s sort of funny.

 Shocking clues have been revealed in the murder mystery, and viewers are passionated about their favorite suspects. Among them are Deacon Mark Burton (James McArdle), Father Dan Hastings (Neil Huff), Frank Sheehan (David Denman), John and Billy Ross (Joe Tippett and Robbie Tann), Lori Ross (Julianne Nicholson), Richard Ryan (sexy Guy Pearce), and a still unnamed “Peeping Tom.”

 Kate Winslet, creator of the series Brad Ingelsby (a Delco native), and director Craig Zobel (HBO’s The Leftovers) spoke to the Television Critics Association during a Zoom interview prior to the debut of Mare of Easttown.

 Winslet explained how she came to the production: “I think I was sent it the end of 2018, and I had a lot going on at the time.  I was filming something, and knew that I had something else coming up, a film called Ammonite. So wrapping my head around how I would make this jump from the character I was playing to being Mare Sheehan, it was one of the biggest challenges I think I’ve ever been slapped with. I was excited to read something that just gripped me right away.”

 The Oscar winner (2009 Best Actress for The Reader) said, “I had never done anything like this and really felt the sense of not just who she was, but the world that she lives in, where she comes from, that sense of community, being so entrenched in a society that you sort of forget who you are from time to time.”

 The reasons for the responsibilities and burdens that Mare carries with her are due to her intriguing backstory, which is unfolding in an intensely gripping manner.

 Looking beyond the bleak story, Winslet noted, “It also has such a heart to it, and it’s rooted in so much truth. It just really resonated with me. I was excited to work with HBO again, having done Mildred Pierce with them back in 2010 [which won her a Best Actress Emmy]. And I wanted to be part of an ensemble. There’s nothing more luxurious for an actor to spend time in the company of other wonderful actors. I feel very lucky that it came along.”

 Tune in Kate Winslet starring in MARE OF EASTTOWN, airing Sundays on HBO, and streaming on HBO Max.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.