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LOS ANGELES - The first time out, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio's romance went down with the ship.
Now the "Titanic" stars reunite for another love affair, and this one's a train wreck.
Winslet and DiCaprio attended a press screening Saturday for "Revolutionary Road," their dark domestic drama that should put them back in the heart of the upcoming Academy Awards season.
"Revolutionary Road" _ adapted from the Richard Yates novel and directed by Winslet's husband, Sam Mendes _ traces the married life of Frank and April Wheeler, whose relationship begins in giddy optimism but runs aground amid the monotony of 1950s suburbia.
Though the Wheelers share moments of deep affection, their marriage generally devolves into discord and shouting matches that would drown out Jackie Gleason's bellowing Ralph Kramden in "The Honeymooners."
Things really begin to unravel after the couple hits on a plan to reinvigorate their lives: Moving to Paris with their two young children.
As new opportunities open up at his dreary office job, Frank comes to resist their Paris move. But for April, a failed actress, Paris represents the free and exciting life she always thought she would have.
"This was a very, very empty woman who was looking for so much more than just Frank," Winslet said during a panel discussion with DiCaprio, Mendes and other co-stars after the screening. "This was a woman who really had some big, big dreams, but they really were never going to come true."
Winslet had long been interested in an adaptation of "Revolutionary Road" and brought DiCaprio on board for their first on-screen reunion since 1997's "Titanic," the biggest modern blockbuster at $1.8 billion worldwide.
DiCaprio said that when he first read Yates' novel, he was struck by the agonizing authenticity of its portrait of domestic strife.
"I felt almost embarrassed. I felt like I was a fly on the wall, almost, watching this relationship unravel," DiCaprio said. "I felt like I shouldn't be here."
There were awkward domestic moments on set, as well. Mendes had to direct a lusty scene between his wife and DiCaprio as their characters have sex against a kitchen counter.
"Those scenes are always difficult, even when it's not one's wife," Mendes said.
The director saved some of the harshest scenes, when Frank and April tumble into vicious bickering, for late in the shoot.
"There was such a level of anticipation. `When are we going to get to yell at each other?' ... "I couldn't wait till we got to week four so I can give it to you," DiCaprio joked, sitting alongside Winslet.
"Revolutionary Road" is the second drama set in the American suburbs for British filmmaker Mendes, whose debut film "American Beauty" won five Oscars, including best picture and director.
Like "American Beauty," "Revolutionary Road" blends horrific tragedy and hilarious satire, both films examining themes of parenthood, infidelity and the false fronts suburbanites present to their neighbors.
"Titanic" won 11 Oscars, best picture among them, and earned Winslet a best-actress nomination, though DiCaprio was overlooked in the best-actor category.
With powerhouse performances, Winslet and DiCaprio both could be in line for acting nominations this time, along with co-star Michael Shannon, who has a scene-stealing role as a psychiatric patient brutally dissecting Frank and April's shortcomings.
"Revolutionary Road" also reunites Winslet and DiCaprio with "Titanic" co-star Kathy Bates.
The film opens in New York City and Los Angeles on Dec. 26 to qualify for the Oscars, then expands nationally in January.
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