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Titanic heroine goes for Plunge
By Catherine Milner, Arts Correspondent

Kate Winslet, heroine of the most expensive and profitable film in history,
is to star in one that started with a budget of just £9,000.

The actress volunteered to take a role in Plunge, a film about roadsweepers in
Bristol, shortly after finishing Titanic, last October. Plunge, made by
Longboard Films, tells the story of four "nowhere men of the Nineties . . .
fighting unemployment, boredom and depression" whose fates change when one
finds a surfboard in a dustbin.

The discovery inspires the hapless heroes to take off to the Cornish seaside,
where they meet Clare, a road sweeper, played by Miss Winslet. Max Newsom, the
film's director, said the star accepted the part because of her "love and
enthusiasm" for the project. "Obviously we can't pay her the sort of money
that she got from Titanic," he said. "But we are not unaware of her commercial
value to the film, so we have given her as much as our budget will allow."

Negotiations between Longboard Films and her agent are continuing - because
she did not tell her agent about the film. Mr Newsom said: "Kate heard about
the film from a friend of hers who was working with us. On the day he was
driving to Cornwall to do some filming, she asked if she could join in. It had
been her birthday (October 5, 1997) the night before so she had had only two hours sleep. But
she was great and fitted in perfectly."

The film, which hopes to become a cult classic like Trainspotting, has already
prompted a bidding war between two leading distribution companies. All the
money raised for the film, which now totals around £180,000, has come from
private investors, including friends and family of the crew and cast.


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