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Kate Winslet Spills About Jimmy Fallon's Audition for The Holiday

The 2006 Nancy Meyers rom-com starring Winslet and Cameron Diaz almost looked very different—here's why Robert Downey Jr. and Fallon's audition didn't work out. 

By Christopher Rudolph

The Holiday is a Christmastime classic, and an all-time-great romantic comedy. Can you imagine the Jack Black and Jude Law roles being played by Jimmy Fallon and Robert Downey Jr.? We just found out that it actually could've happened.

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Watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC weeknights at 11:35/10:35c and next day on Peacock

On February 28, Kate Winslet stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to talk about starring in the new HBO satirical series, The Regime. Before the conversation turned to her latest project, Fallon brought up how he auditioned to play Winslet's love interest in The Holiday, one of her best-known movies.

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"I was talking about you a couple of months ago," Fallon told the Oscar-winning actress. "I was talking to Howard Stern with Robert Downey Jr., and we were talking about your beloved film, The Holiday. I remember being in a room with you and Robert Downey Jr., and Cameron Diaz."

"The role did not go to me, obviously," Fallon clarified, nor did the man who'd go on to play Tony Stark land the role. "It went to Jack Black and Jude Law."

Regarding their meeting, Winslet told the audience, "This is a really real story which I remember extremely well. Well, I thought it was just like a reading, we're just going to have a fun read of the script. I didn't realize you were auditioning for the part. I'm so sorry you didn't get it!"

"I remember you were very sick and you were obsessively hand sanitizing," Winslet recalled.

Even though Fallon wasn't feeling 100%, he said he couldn't pass up the audition, thinking, "This is the opportunity of a lifetime to act with you."

Kate Winslet on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Episode 1929

Kate Winslet recalls The Holiday audition with Jimmy Fallon and Robert Downey Jr.

In the audition, Winslet remembers Downey Jr. as doing "an English accent, but I thought he was doing Australian, and I thought that's bad," she remembered thinking at the time. "

That's not going to work and who's going to tell him that sounds dreadful?" she remembers thinking.

"Here he is winning everything," she added, referring to the Oppenheimer actor sweeping awards season for his role in Christopher Nolan's epic.

While Winslet is in two of the biggest films ever made, Titanic and Avatar: The Way of Water, she reveals that The Holiday has become even more a fan favorite over the years.

"People come up to me in the street more about The Holiday and the episode of Extras I did than Titanic. What's so lovely is that mothers and daughters come up to me in the grocery store and they say 'Oh, Kate, we just love The Holiday, it's our little ritual at Christmas,'" said Winslet. "They have things that they eat every year. They sit down, it's a tradition, and I just love that. That's something I would have never expected, this mother daughter connection around a film like that. It's so nice. It's lovely."

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Why Kate Winslet forgets that she was in Avatar: The Way of Water

Fallon then asked Winslet what it's like being in two of the biggest movies of all time, but she confessed that sometimes forgets she was even in the Avatar sequel.

"It's really funny with Avatar because Zoe Saldana, and Sam Worthington, and Sigourney [Weaver], it's been a part of their life for so long. And I honestly went in and had an intense two months [of filming] back in 2018... I forgot I'm in Avatar," she admitted. "I've just felt so blessed to have had this amazing career, but also just to meet these phenomenal people. That's one of the loveliest things, especially now being part of a film industry that really supports women and is championing young actresses."

Winslet might forget some of her biggest roles, but we never could.