Archive for the ‘Articles & Interviews’ Category
Thanks to Prestige Magazine, at prestigehongkong.com
CALLED TO ACTION
KATE BECKINSALE never dreamed that a role as an ass-kicking vampire assassin in Underworld would vault her into superstardom. But, as
MATHEW SCOTT discovers, behind the blaze of bullets is an actress able to inhabit a variety of roles
IT’S THE HONESTY that makes the first impression. To make time for our chat, Kate Beckinsale has rushed off set from her latest film – the Karen Moncrieff-directed dramaThe Trials of Cate McCall – which has only been in production for three days, and there’s an immediate sense that the actress is completely and utterly thrilled to be involved once again in the process of creating something “new”.
“I just love it,” she says when referring to the art of acting, but then (and here comes the honesty) she’s the first to admit that when success came her way – and we’re talking here about the sort of massive global success few actors really ever get to experience – it came in what to her was the most unlikely of circumstances.
It’s not a word Beckinsale says was readily associated with her formative years, but the decision to take on the role as the werewolf-hunting vampire Selene in the hit Underworldseries of films (an estimated half billion dollars in box-office receipts, and counting) seems now as completely inspired as to her it was, at first, completely unusual. The surprise to Beckinsale was both how easily she took to the genre and how readily audiences across the globe took to seeing her up there on the big screen as an all-action hero.
But such is Beckinsale’s passion for her craft that she’s been able to cut her way across genres too. There’s been drama, in the likes of Nothing But the Truth andThe Aviator, and the British-born actress is now obviously thoroughly enjoying the experience of being asked to fully flesh out the character she’s currently bringing to life in The Trials of Cate McCall.
Soon, too, audiences will see the 38-year-old throwing herself around in the remake of the classic 1990 sci-fi thriller Total Recall, reworked for a new generation by her husband and director Len Wiseman.
Perhaps the fact that Beckinsale is able to take it all in her stride should come as no surprise. Her father, Richard Beckinsale was, after all, a much-loved star of British television. Acting, she reveals, first really grabbed her attention as she sat as a teenager in darkened Parisian cinema houses watching one of the greatest stars there has ever been.
And we can all be thankful that it has never really let her go.
Can you talk a little about the film you’re shooting today, The Trials of Cate McCall?
[Director/writer] Karen Moncrieff first approached me about two years ago when she first started talking about the movie being made. I really liked her. I thought she was very clever and interesting, and I thought this was a great character. Sometimes it takes time to get these movies together and we’re all thrilled to bits. We have Nick Nolte and James Cromwell, and we’re now in the third day of shooting and we’re already pleased.
What can you reveal about the character you play?
She’s somebody who has lost everything – she’s blown it. She’s a very successful lawyer whose marriage has collapsed because she’s basically become an alcoholic. She messed everything up, she’s lost custody of her daughter and she’s been fired. So she takes on a case to get off probation, basically. She inherits this case about a woman wrongly accused of murder. And it all sort of unfolds from there.
Is it a different experience, working with a female director?
I’ve worked with a female director before – with Lisa Cholodenko on Laurel Canyon – and I really enjoyed it. I don’t necessarily think there’s an enormous difference when it comes to gender. Karen is very nurturing, but I don’t know if that’s necessarily female as I’ve had very nurturing male directors. I really enjoy working with directors who have written the script, actually. I find in the preparation of the movie it’s wonderful to have a communication going with the director when they’ve written it. Oddly, they’re much more ready to hand the character over to you if they’ve written it. It’s surprising but that has been the case most times. But I haven’t really noticed a vast difference with having a female director, apart from the fact that she’s very pretty.
What about the work you’ve done with your husband – does it put any strain on your relationship?
I don’t really know about any power play. We really get on very well. We met on a film set and we enjoyed working together then, and we still do. I suppose if you have an argument with your director and you’re married, it’s more likely to continue, but it doesn’t really happen very often. We have quite similar tastes and one of the reasons we like working with each other is that we can see eye-to-eye on most things.
That leads us to Total Recall, which is soon to land in Hong Kong cinemas. How did the role come about – did your husband always want you to be involved?
Well, of course I was aware that my husband was involved with the movie, that he was writing the script and all that. At the beginning when he started working on the script, he said, ‘I’ve got you in mind for this,’ and I just thought, ‘OK.’ But when it came down to it, I was actually not available. I was very much aware of him going through the casting process while I was doing Underworld 4, so we were both a bit sad about it. But he was very grown-up about it and asked if I’d like to play the three-boobed woman, which meant being on set for about a day, so I said, ‘OK, I will.’ So for about three weeks I was going to play the three-boobed woman for an afternoon. But then the dates of my other film moved and suddenly I was available. It was a complete shock. I’d been familiar with it all so that helped, but I was straight into it.
How aware were you of the original version?
I’d seen the original but not very recently, and I made a conscious decision not to watch it again. I think there’s nothing really less creative than just trying to make something different from the way somebody else did it. It’s a very different tone of movie and I think it would have been very odd if I’d just tried to be Sharon Stone. My character, anyway, is sort of an amalgam of Sharon Stone’s character and Rachel Ticotin’s character. It’s similar in that I play the wife and I turn out to be not very nice. But the tone and context are very different.
How different are the processes involved in preparing for action and for drama?
In a sense it’s similar in that you want to build and create the character very well. But there are different requirements. A movie like Underworld or Total Recall, it’s not a character study in the same way – but that’s not to say one is better than the other. Really, there’s not that much time in an event movie to ponder whether that character has had a bath that morning. But the process is similar in the preparation. Obviously in a film like Total Recall the preparation is a lot more physical than for the one I’m doing now. You have to learn how to fire guns and things. But in this one I also have to learn to do things I’ve not done before or I’m not particularly good at. I’ve not been a lawyer before, so I’ve had to meet with a lawyer and go and watch a trial. I have to play pool in the movie, which I’ve never played before in my life. Always with a film there are things you have to learn that you haven’t learned before. The things themselves may vary but they all come under the umbrella of your “prep”.
And does the role of action-movie star sit easily with you?
I never imagined myself as an action star. If you’d said I would be in those sorts of roles I’d have laughed at you. I did it because I like to do things that I haven’t done before. At the time I was offered Underworld it seemed like such a preposterous idea – that I personally would be able to do a film like that – but it also seemed to me a really interesting challenge. It was, and then all of a sudden it turned out that people seemed to buy that and I’ve ended up doing more of them. But I’m not nearly as comfortable doing the physical roles. I was always feeling like the last person picked for teams in physical education. It’s something I still find quite frightening because I’m more comfortable in a movie like I’m doing now.
Have you always been comfortable watching yourself go through the process of acting?
When you first watch a movie that you’re in, I think most actors find it terribly disappointing and even devastating. As an actor, you’re aware of every tiny thing that you’ve done, and obviously you’re not in control of cutting the film and of what ends up on the screen. It’s such a collaborative process really. With action films it’s interesting because quite often there are visual effects that you haven’t seen or certain things make more sense in a way that they haven’t until they’ve gone through the post-production process. But I’m always dying to see the finished product. I always have a quiet moment afterwards feeling horrified. The second time I sort of evaluate it and then if you can wait a decade you can watch it like an audience member. I really think it takes that long
Can you pinpoint what it is about this craft that attracts you to it?
I love the whole knitting together, from the various clues, of a whole person and really starting to discover what makes that person tick. It’s like a mystery, almost like an autopsy where you’re finding out how it got to this point. I find that fascinating and engaging. It’s also very enjoyable. For an actor there are so many things you have to do to connect with the part. Some of it is imaging yourself in a situation you might not have been in before, some of it is drawing on things that have happened to you. I just find all of that process extremely engaging and different every time.
So curiosity plays a part in this process, about character and about life?
For sure. If you’re fascinated by people or by the psychology of people – what makes people different and on what level we’re all fairly similar – it’s interesting. I’m interested in all those sorts of things.
Was there a particular moment that set you on the path you’ve chosen?
I was definitely seduced into acting when I used to go to Paris every Easter with my friend, from when we were about 14 or 15. We used to go to watch all these French movies and we didn’t speak fluent French yet. So it was a bit mysterious trying to work out what was going on. But I absolutely fell in love with Jeanne Moreau. That was when I first thought – I really want to do that.
What is it that you think Moreau has?
She was just a fascinating, extraordinary woman and I was fascinated with everything she was in. It seemed like a really important job. I loved what she brought to her characters, the sensitivity she had and the strength she had. You can’t find anyone who doesn’t like Jeanne Moreau.
New ‘Total Recall’ footage was shown at CinemaCon 2012 on Wednesday, and it sounds action-packed to say the least. Spoilers ahead!
[The footage] showed a lot of the story set-up, beginning with Farrell as Doug at home with his wife, played by Kate Beckinsale, in a room talking about how things haven’t turned out the way he had hoped, but then he hears about something called Rekall from his friend (Bookem Woodbine), although he tells him not to go there. Doug doesn’t listen and he goes to the city’s seedier area and is propositioned by this movie’s version of the three-breasted hooker! “You’ll wish you had 3 hands,” she tells him before he spots the sign for Rekall and goes in. Then comes the sequence with John Cho in Rekall that was shown at Comic-Con and in the trailer.
After that incident, Doug returns home to his wife to tell her what happened but she tells him he didn’t kill anyone and as she hugs him, she sees on TV the shoot-out at Rekall and she starts suffocating him so he smashes her through the window and she comes back and straddles him to take him down. As they fight, he yells, “What are you doing?” he asks and she responds, “My job!” Beckinsale has a really funny line in the interaction where she says, “What can I say? I give good wife,” which works on another level since she is actually Len Wiseman’s wife. He quickly escapes before she can kill him and she gets on the videophone with Bryan Cranston’s character to inform him what’s happening. Meanwhile, Doug finds a videotape of someone who looks like him who says “Whatever you remember is not real,” to which he responds, “If I’m not me, who the hell am I?”
Doug then goes up the China Fall into the richer higher-tech section of the world and he encounters Jessica Biel’s character who tells him to get into her floating car and then a high-speed chase ensues as his “ex-wife” catches up to him and tries to slam them with her car. Biel says “You drive” to Farrell and she does something really cool by sliding the steering wheel from her side of the car to his. He asks if she’s strapped in and he takes the car into a dive. He then sees his friend from earlier who tells him he has to return home and that he should shoot Biel, and then Beckinsale is back and they get into a wicked fight on a descending elevator, joined by a robot police officer, before Beckinsale plants a bomb and leaps to another elevator before it explodes.
The HD Room is holding a contest offering five ‘Contraband’ DVD/Blu-Ray combo packs. If you live in the USA or Canada, head over to their constest page and fill in the form for your chance to win! You can enter every day until May 18. Good Luck!
I also found another (longer) article from the Cancun press conference, unfortunately there wasn’t much from Kate, mostly what’s already been posted about the fight with Jessica Biel. She mentioned that the pretend-fight between Lily and her friend dressed as Lori and Melina was actually filmed, and expanded a little bit more when asked what memories she’d like to have implanted in her brain:
“I’ve always wanted to bottle-feed a lamb. But it’s something I can do; I wouldn’t need to get a memory implanted. I’ve never used cocaine either, I am quite scared of it,” said actress Kate Beckinsale, one of the female stars of the film. Sitting beside her, […] Colin Farrell poked fun at his bad-boy reputation adding apologetically: “I don’t have any here with me …”
Kate Beckinsale has revealed she felt nervous having to fight Jessica Biel in the remake of Total Recall, in case she damaged the actress’s face.
“I was nervous having to throw 17 punches at that face, in case I would be sued into the next lifetime,” she told a press conference in Cancun, Mexico.
The pair team up with Irish actor Colin Farrell in the futuristic action film, being released in the UK later this year.
Jessica, 30, admitted it was strange fighting another woman for a change: “Kate and I usually have to fight monsters and vampires, so now we were dealing with long hair and bra straps.”
Kate, 38, added: “There was a lot of ‘Oh no, I’m so sorry did I touch you [there]?’.”
The British star of the Underworld franchise, who is married to Total Recall director Len Wiseman, said her teenage daughter Lily and a friend came on set and learnt the moves to her fight with Biel.
“Jessica and I taught them the whole fight and they learnt it in about 19 minutes, when it had taken us about two weeks. The costume department made them mini versions of our outfits.”
The original film, based on the 1966 short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Philip K Dick, was released in 1990, starring Arnold Swarzenegger as the lead character who has memories implanted in his brain.
The cast were asked what memories they’d like to have implanted. Kate said: “I’ve always wanted to bottle feed a baby lamb. I did once miss a school trip to a farm at a crucial stage.”
I’ve scanned Kate’s Women’s Health UK inteview, and there’s also some new Men’s Style Australia scans for you to check out in the gallery. Enjoy!
 Women’s Health UK (Jan 2012)
 Men’s Style Australia (2012)
Kate Beckinsale is known for her killer looks as well as her killer instinct as the star of the Underworld series and the upcoming Total Recall remake. But the action star says she feels most herself when she’s spending time at home with her 13-year-old daughter Lily, doing yoga, and catching up on her reading.
The 38-year-old actress is helping kick-off National Reading Month by teaming up with “The Nestlé Share the Joy of Reading Program” to raise awareness about the importance of children’s literacy.
Beckinsale talked to Parade.com about her Hunger Games obsession, working with her husband on the set of Total Recall, and relating to her daughter’s difficult teen years.
On life with a teenage daughter.
“I’m literally a couple months into that. It has been largely about Bar Mitzvahs lately! I had a child young enough that it doesn’t feel too far away from my own experience. I feel like I flunked at adolescence really badly. I found it really difficult. I’m very supportive of how tricky seventh and eighth grade are for girls. I think it’s a very difficult time, but she’s doing great.”
On balancing work and motherhood.
“It’s a constant juggle. It tends to be one extreme to another. I guess that’s how I’ve managed it all this time. I’ll do a crazy blast of working and then I’ll be home for a bit. It’s tricky and something that I don’t think I’d be able to pull off without having my parents come out and help out. I do feel that family is very important and I’m lucky enough that my parents are very happy to come and stay with us for a couple months. I think the thing that you miss out on is some extra hours of sleep, which would be really welcomed, but that tends to fall behind!
On her on-set relationship with husband, director Len Wiseman.
“The fist time we met each other was when we were filming Underworld, and then we worked together again after we’d been married a short while, and now we’ve been married seven years, so I’ve had quite a few different experiences along the way. It’s different each time. We love it. I think one of the things we like least about our jobs is that it can force separation from each other. One of the things that’s so nice about working together is that not only do we enjoy each other professionally, but we actually get to sleep in the same bed at night and hang out with our kid on the weekends, so it’s great. As far as any secrets I have to working together? I guess always argue over text so other people aren’t embarrassed!”
On being an action star.
“I still find it an incredible novelty that I’m allowed to do that. My mother still laughs at the thought of me running around based on my success in P.E. as a child, which was very poor! It’s fantasy. My comfort zone is probably more in the independent sphere, but there’s something very fascinating about doing this movie and then six or seven months later when you actually see it with the special effects and all that, it looks very different than what it felt like when you were doing it.”
On her love of reading.
“I grew up as an only child and my mother was also an only child, so we were both very passionate about reading. I think I passed that on to my daughter, who went plowing through Harry Potter and every other book possible! I just think especially in this day and age when you’re constantly fighting the pull of the Internet and television, there’s something about reading that is an active thing for children to do. It opens up their world completely and improves their vocabulary and they can use their imagination. I’m quite old fashioned about things like that, and I really do believe it’s terribly important.”
On her favorite books as a kid.
“I loved all the E. Nesbit books like Five Children and It and The Enchanted Castle. As I got older, we had a real craze in our country called The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, which everybody was really into. I was reading Jane Eyre when I was 11 and I loved that. Actually, my daughter read Jane Eyre when she was 11, too. I wasn’t very frightened of classic novels. I feel like my brain is more geared towards a novel than it is to a movie.”
She’s a fan of The Hunger Games.
“Oh yeah! Actually, my daughter’s school encouraged all the parents and teachers and students to read The Hunger Games, so it promoted a massive discussion of it. For some reason, my daughter was a little bit resistant to it at first, but then we just were all completely overwhelmed by it. It was actually this summer that we were all reading it and loving it. We can’t wait for the movie. It looks fantastic.”
On life in California vs. her native London.
“When I’m in California, I do miss a lot of things about London, and when I’m in London, I miss a lot of things about L.A. I think that’s one of the tradeoffs when you live somewhere that you’re not from — you are never completely fully at home anywhere after that. But I’m very happy about the weather! I’ve forgotten what cold actually is. Plus, I like being near the ocean and I have really good friends here.”
On her tried and true beauty secret.
“The secret to everything for me is doing yoga every day. It does do nice things for your body, but it also kind of calms you down and chills you out. Other than that, I don’t really drink alcohol and I always take my makeup off at night!”
GLENDALE, Calif. (March 1, 2012) /PRNewswire/ — To help kick-off National Reading Month, actress Kate Beckinsale has teamed up with “The Nestlé Share the Joy of Reading Program” to raise awareness about the importance of children’s literacy. Today, she visited Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles to read to young children and their families, and to talk about her love of reading. “The Nestlé Share the Joy of Reading Program” is donating up to $250,000 to Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) – the nation’s largest nonprofit children’s literacy organization – and consumers can help through everyday purchases of select Nestlé confections.
“As a mom and a big reader, I am excited to be participating in ‘The Nestlé Share the Joy of Reading Program’ to benefit Reading Is Fundamental,” said Kate Beckinsale. “Reading has had an enormous, positive impact on my life and I encourage people to support organizations such as RIF that work to ignite a child’s hunger for knowledge and inspire imagination. I can’t think of a better time than National Reading Month to encourage everyone to read.”
RIF provides books and literacy resources to more than four million children nationwide each year, but government budget cuts and the economic downturn have taken their toll on the invaluable services the organization provides. […] For nearly 20 years, Nestlé has supported RIF by donating more than $5 million, which has helped hundreds of thousands of children to date.
What a great project for Kate to take part in!