"It's funny. I think I'm developing a kind of subconscious loathing of the word 'franchise,' " she told MTV News' Josh Horowitz while promoting her movie "Labor Day" at the Toronto International Film Festival. "I just think of something that's packaged, something you can buy on a shelf and is immediately disposable. I don't know. It's a really weird word for me."
Winslet's distaste for the term, however, didn't stop her from accepting the role of Jeanine Matthews in the film based on Veronica Roth's best-selling novel, which takes place in a society divided into five factions, each representing a different virtue.
"I didn't have any hesitation at all," she said of her role in what could be a three-part series. "It was such a great script. It's a fantastic book."
In fact, her part in the project has already earned Winslet a modicum of cool cred with her kids.
"My daughter is going to be 13, and my son is almost 10, and they're getting to that age where this is the type of literature they're going to be reading very soon," she explained. "In fact, my daughter, two days ago, came home from school and went, 'Mom! You're never going to believe it. Rufus came up to me at school and said, 'Is your mom really in 'Divergent'? Is there going to be a premiere? Can you get me a ticket?' ' My daughter suddenly [had a] new-found respect. 'My mum is actually really cool.' I'm just going to go with that. I did it because I wanted my kids to think I was cool."
And, happily, Winslet reports that it was all worth it:
"It was a great experience shooting," she said. "It was a really fun set to be on. I can't wait to see it. I think it's going to be a great film."
"Divergent," starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, opens March 21, 2014.