Working in Hollywood can be intimidating — but try acting alongside an Oscar-winning actress like Kate Winslet! Well, that's exactly what Mackenzie Lansing had to do when she got cast in HBO Max's new series Mare of Easttown, which premieres on Sunday, April 18.
"I mean, you know, it was surreal," the red-headed beauty exclusively tells OK! about starring opposite the Titanic alum, 45. "She is so friendly and hysterical, and she really takes her job as producer very seriously. I think she believes it’s her job to set the tone for the set, and she just treats everyone so wonderfully and really took on a role of mentorship to me and to a lot of the other actors who were on set.
"I was mentally preparing myself for like, you know, don’t take it personally, this is a busy person, if you don’t get a chance to talk to her, it’s not a big deal, but she exceeded every one of my expectations. She is probably one of the nicest people in the industry," Lansing shares.
In the upcoming crime show, Winslet plays Mare Sheehan, an office police investigator who is looking into a murder in a small town in Pennsylvania, while Lansing plays Brianna Delrasso, a 17-year-old who is a "loud-mouth and kind of confrontational."
Naturally, Lansing learned a lot from Winslet, who would frequently "impart wisdom" onto others.
For one, "she talked a lot about how the work is so important and falling in love with the work and seeing this as a craft," Lansing shares about Winslet's best piece of advice. "It just makes so much sense with how talented she is, that that is her approach, you know?"
But there's one thing that Lansing will always remember from her time on set with the English star.
"She complimented me and that will forever save me from ever thinking anything bad about myself," she gushes. "I am like, 'Well, Kate Winslet likes my work so that is good.'
"When we wrapped, I was sad to see the show go, and [Kate] hugged me and kissed me on my head and was just like, 'It was such a pleasure working with you, you’re so talented,'" Lansing adds. "But then also I was able to tell her that seeing her in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was what made me want to become an actress and that was kind of my bucket list thing."
Lansing has already worked with some of the biggest names in the industry — Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Franco, Evan Peters, to name a few — and she's hoping a project with Frances McDormand will pan out at some point in the future.
"She is not afraid of being gritty, she’s so real, and connected to her instrument but also is putting so much attention on the other person," Lansing says about the Nomadland star.
Sounds like Lansing's career is only just beginning.
Mare of Easttown premieres on HBO Max on Sunday, April 18, at 9 p.m. ET.