Kate Winslet shares her feelings on her entire family learning the piano during lockdown

By Zach Harper

If you've seen The Two Popes, you might have been surprised to see Anthony Hopkins playing piano during his turn as Pope Benedict XVI in the film. But did you know it's actually the 82-year-old playing, not a stand-in?

The iconic actor is a virtuoso at the keyboard. During a virtual press conference for the 2020 TIFF Tribute Awards, he shared that he'd been playing quite a lot of Rachmaninoff during lockdown.

Any seasoned pianist knows the Russian composer's piano works are not for the faint of heart, with his third piano concerto being one of the most complicated things a tickler of the ivories can play. Few master the diabolical, complex piece, which was most famously immortalized in the 1996film Shine, starring Geoffrey Rush, who won an Oscar for his performance.

Anthony, who received the TIFF Tribute Actor Award along with Kate on Sept. 15, shared in the press conference that he'd been playing Rachmaninoff's works as way to "make the virus go away" during lockdown. Kate was asked how she'd been getting through lockdown and shared a funny anecdote.

"Well, I don't play the piano, but funny enough, everyone else in my family has been teaching themselves through lockdown," the mom of three said.

Kate with her children James and Mia in 2010. They're now 16 and 19 years old, respectively. Photo: © Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images

She paused, and then quipped, deadpan, "So, to be honest, that's not necessarily a great thing in my house. So we've got a six-and-a-half-year-old, a 42-year-old, a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old all teaching themselves to play the piano. Get me out of the house!"

The 44-year-old is promoting her new film Ammonite, which screened at TIFF. She said she was happy children were going back to school in the United Kingdom this month (not because of the above). Lockdown has been very hard on teenagers' mental health, she shared, and said it was good to see "happy teens" spending time with each other again and renewing much-needed in-person social connection.

Kate stars alongside Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite. In it, she plays Mary Anning, a British paleontologist who falls in love with Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse). Photo: Courtesy of TIFF

The Oscar winner also stated she'd enjoyed the time her family and had been reflecting on it possibly being one of the last times she and children Mia, 19, and Joe, 16 would all be together as a unit with youngest child Bear, 6, and her husband, Edward Abel Smith. Mia is Kate's daughter with first husband Jim Threapleton, while Joe is her son with director Sam Mendes. Kate and Edward share Bear.

"We do feel very fortunate to have been able to have this moment in time," she said, adding that the pandemic had taught her the virtues in being flexible with her schedule.

"I've gotten very good at like, pre-cooking meals, knowing that there's a conference to do or a Zoom meeting or something," she laughed. "Making dinner at 10 in the morning has become very much my forte. No Rachmaninoff for me, but a bit of dabbling for everybody else."

Kate also took the time to thank frontline workers in her acceptance speech during the TIFF Tribute Awards.

"I'd really like to take a moment to express my deepest sympathies to families and individuals whose lives have been forever altered by these past six months," she said. "My heart truly goes out to all of you who have battled and struggled and continue to continue to struggle through these harsh and painful times."

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