Kate The Great: Kate Beckinsale Interview
Article taken from Women’s Health.
It’s been about two years since I’ve posed in my knickers like this,” Kate Beckinsale says, as the camera click-clicks. “Now I’m at it all the time.” She’s standing on a platform on a rooftop high above Sunset Boulevard, wearing a billowing blue shirt, pink stilettos and a pair of gleaming white pants. At 38, she still looks every inch the Hollywood bombshell. It’s true – we haven’t seen much of Kate lately. She’s been on a break. The last time she had a film to promote was 2009, but it broke her heart a little. “Nothing But The Truth, with Matt Dillon and Vera Farmiga,” she says as she clambers off the platform and reaches for a brown rice cake. “It went straight to DVD because the production company ran out of money. It’s typical, the ones you’re actually quite embarrassed about come out no problem at all.”
After the disappointment of Nothing But The Truth, Kate didn’t pursue any new projects in 2009 or 2010. “I didn’t plan on a sabbatical, there just wasn’t anything I was dying to do. I have to make the decision – is it worth me being away from my kid [daughter, Lily, from her eight-year relationship with actor Michael Sheen]. She’s 13 now, so I’ve only got a few more years with her before she goes to college. These years are important.” She split with Sheen in 2003 when she met the American film director Len Wiseman on the set of the first Underworld movie. Meeting Wiseman not only launched a new chapter in Beckinsale’s personal life, but in her professional one too, when she became known for her kick-ass action roles. And her latest crop of movies is very much in that vein.
As though making up for lost time she made three films back to back in 2011. First was the action thriller Contraband, where she plays the wife of an ex-criminal played by Mark Wahlberg. Two weeks later, she was on the set of Underworld: Awakening, and four days after finishing that, she jetted off to Canada to make Total Recall opposite Colin Farrell. As schedules go, it was as gruelling as it sounds. “I got more bruises on Contraband than in all the Underworlds put together,” she says. “It was like, ‘let’s not choreograph the fight, let’s just see what happens.’ And all of a sudden Giovanni Ribisi (her Contraband co-star) comes flying into my house and beats the shit out of me! I was sending photos of my bruises to the [Underworld] stunt guy – he was saying, no, that’s make-up, they wouldn’t do that to you.”
She’s also wreaking havoc on Total Recall as Colin Farrell’s villainous nemesis. (“Len had been writing the movie and there were two female parts. One was the bitchy wife and he had me in mind for that, which I was really offended about.”) For someone who studied French and Russian literature at Oxford and made her name in serious dramas like Cold Comfort Farm and Emma, this isn’t exactly how she’d envisaged her career turning out. “It’s not really my nature to do all this ass-kicking,” she says. “When I first started training for Underworld they were like: ‘She can’t even fucking run!’ And I couldn’t.”
She’s got the hang of it now, of course. When it comes to any actual fighting, though, she’d sooner leave it to the boys. Mark Wahlberg in particular. “He’s very manly,” she says. “He’s tasty, you know what I mean? And if someone squeezes your boobs at a Katy Perry concert – which is what happened to me in Toronto – I did wish that Mark was there because he would have sorted it out.” Ask her to pick her favourite person to work with, though, and it’s her husband, Len. He has directed her in three movies so far – the first two Underworlds and Total Recall. Working with Len is easy, she says. It actually helps strengthen their relationship rather than tests it. “I like the way he works. I like his taste,” she says. “It is slightly more difficult if you’re a couple because you can tell if someone’s secretly pissed off. You’re more aware. But being separated for five or six months is worse.”
For Total Recall, Kate went to Toronto with the whole gang: Len, Lily, Lily’s friend and their dogs. “It was like a French farce at times,” she says. “And Len will have a surreptitious squeeze of the bum, you know, when no one’s looking.” Asked how they avoid dragging the kitchen sink onto the film set, she smiles. “We text,” she says. “So if you’re feeling saucy or want to say, ‘What did you do that for?’, do it on text instead of saying it out loud.” And sex scenes? After all Kate had to get frisky with Colin Farrell on day one. “Len was all right with it. I think it was worse for Colin. It’s awkward if you have to fondle the director’s wife. Especially with Len saying, ‘All right that’s it, you’re fired!’”
Once filming was over, Kate and Len had a holiday in Mexico before the publicity started for their movies. But the press found them. “You go to the trouble of booking the private room with its own little patio and pool,” she says. “We thought we were completely by ourselves. And the next day your mother texts you: ‘Why is your bottom in the Daily Mail?’” The pictures were innocuous – they showed Kate in a bikini sunbathing and canoodling with her husband. But it was a shock to discover that paparazzi were watching. “You don’t see them,” she says. “They’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean. It’s a good thing we weren’t in Europe or I’d be topless. And thank God we’ve been married as long as we have, and the pants stayed on, that’s all I can say!” She tries to be as private as possible. “I don’t do Twitter or Facebook. I like to reserve the right to complain about people bothering me in my private life,” she says. “If I’m constantly saying ‘Now I’m having a boiled egg’ I’ve got no right to complain about anything.” She can afford to be good-humoured about it though – she looked terrific in the pictures.
“It’s not a mystery. I just get on with it,” she says when asked how she gets into shape for films. “[I eat] lean protein every three hours. Usually chicken with vegetables,” she says. She works out every day too, mainly doing yoga. “I have a personal instructor who comes around. I like that you have a bit of a lie down at
the end. That’s what keeps me going.” Ask Kate what her favourite body part is and she laughs. “I once said, ‘my beaver’, and everyone was shocked. So I’m going to say my ears. Look at these.” She pulls her hair aside. “That’s probably the best ear in Hollywood.” She also insists she’s never had any “work done”. “You’re welcome to look for scars,” she says, leaning in. “I haven’t even done Botox. Look, I can move my face.” She grins and points to the smile lines around her eyes. “And I’ve had these teeth since I was 10 – they’ve always been this size!” she laughs. “Actually, I’m glad I didn’t get veneers because in the apocalypse everyone’s veneers are going to fall off and then what are you going to do? Tom Cruise is going to be screwed.”
“According to popular opinion I’ve had everything on my face replaced. I read somewhere I’d had my chin replaced. I wouldn’t know the first place to get a chin! Maybe I’ll just get everything replaced when I’m 50. Start at the ankles and work up. You’d probably get a good deal – get a Groupon. Len can get his done too!” With this kind of refreshing attitude, it’s fair to say Kate is far from a natural Los Angeleno, despite having lived there for eight years. In fact, she misses England desperately. She visits most summers, but last year she was working, and missed out. So the homesickness is setting in. “I really started to feel it by Christmas,” she says. “I was in an English shop in Santa Monica and started weeping over a tin of beans. Her solution is to have British mates. She’s close to the Beckhams, although she hasn’t seen Victoria for a while. “I did bump into them the other day while shopping, though, with their beautiful baby.”
So what’s on the cards for 2012? “I’d like to do more comedy, that was fun,” she says. What about an Oscar movie? “Ha ha! I don’t smell Oscar for Underworld… I’m not holding my breath,” she laughs. “Maybe I should play an amputee?” In Nazi Germany? “Perfect! That’s the concept. We’ll call it The Amputee.” She puts her finger to her lips. “Just don’t tell anyone.”