Interview with Kate Beckinsale
Question: What's more fun: playing a badass good girl or a badass bad girl?
Kate Beckinsale: I quite like the bad girl, I must say. Maybe that's just because it was such a gear change. As the villain, you don't have much responsibility in terms of exposition. You're just there being your bad, evil self with your motives. I did rather enjoy not worrying if the audience was on my side or not.
Question: Did you ever take that attitude home and excuse it as "being in character"?
Kate Beckinsale: I think I might have done that once or twice. It didn't go down very well.
Question: Did you have a choice to play the good girl or the bad girl?
Kate Beckinsale: No. When Len started working on the movie and he was at the reworking-the-script stage, he said, "I've definitely got you in mind for the bitch villain wife." I was like, "That's really insulting. Fuck you, too." As it went longer, it was a long prep time and you never know when the movie's going to start. I did Underworld 4 and basically was not going to be available when the part of "Lori" was going to shoot. So Len said, "It's such a shame you're not going to be in the movie. I don't know who I'm going to get." He was meeting with girls and he said, "I still want you to be in my movie. Will you play the girl with three tits?" Then I was off doing Underworld and I got a call from the studio - and, by the way, Len didn't even text me to warn me or anything - saying [they'd] just moved Total Recall by a couple of weeks. It will be really tight but will you be available to play "Lori"? I thought it was a joke. Turned out it wasn't. So I had four days between Underworld and this.
Question: You've become a top "action girl" in Hollywood. Is that something you always wanted?
Kate Beckinsale: When I started acting in England, the parts that were available were usually period. That's what we were making in England. I hadn't really taken America into account by then at all. When I came out to America and would go on meetings they'd say, "She just doesn't have an edge. She's very soft. She's very British. We think of her in a period hat." Well, I don't want to be stuck doing that so they sent me Underworld. I thought, that might take care of it. And it really took care of it so much so that I'm now associated with something that was once a big stretch for me. That is kind of a weird position to be in because I feel like Jessica is this hunting, kayaking, shooting, skiing person, and I'm really not at all and never have been. So it does feel odd to be told, "You're one of three action girls." Really? Okay. It's not my comfort zone. It's extremely fun and a real privilege to get to do but I do get quite nervous each time because it's not something I ever envisioned myself doing.
Question: How much did playing "Selene" in the Underworld films prepare you for all the action in this movie?
Kate Beckinsale: Completely. I realised I had never really moved before I played "Selene." I glided about in long dresses and things, so the training for that was honestly - without sounding really wanky - really life changing. I'm very prone to over intellectualising things and all that but it sort of forced me into my body in a way I'd never really had to do. It pushed me to learn a lot of things that I would never have otherwise learned. I think just the sheer fact of, "Wow, that actually worked," made me feel a lot bolder in terms of attempting things that I shouldn't be any good at.
Question: What was your favorite action moment to shoot in the film?
Kate Beckinsale: There was a bit with a wicked knee slide into an elevator, which was cool. But I did like the jumping through the glass. I like the fact that all the stuff that my character does makes you go, "Are you fucking crazy?" And she is. She's relentless and she's kind of got this "Terminator" vibe. It's all from a kind of hatred and messed-up ness and I loved that. And I love the fight that I had with Colin. It's actually so extreme it's funny.
Question: Did you get any injuries?
Kate Beckinsale: You don't get injuries from any of the really big stuff because everyone's watching out for you. You have to sort of run up somewhere with a gun and you slip and you fall really hard on your ass and you don't want to say so because it's embarrassing. That's the kind of thing that happens.
Question: Do you think your daughter might follow in your footsteps?
Kate Beckinsale: She might. I think when you're thirteen you do want to be an actor. Lots of people do. So who knows where it will go.
Question: Colin said that kissing you in front of your husband was very hard.
Kate Beckinsale: I'm sort of used to it. I've done it before with other people. That sounds so fucked up, doesn't it. We like to put our keys in the bowl on Friday. I think it was made more awkward by the fact that it was the first day for me so he's sort of like, "Hello, how are you?" Then we're both in our underwear kissing. It was slightly awkward but it could have been a lot worse. It's no much awkward for me and actually it's not really that awkward for Len, it's always the other person that suffers.
Question: Being English, are there certain things in Los Angeles you can't get used to?
Kate Beckinsale: So many things. My daughter and I torture my husband about his accent and the different words he uses for things. That never gets old. I still don't have my driver's license so I'm quite stymied by that in L.A. because there's not a lot of walking around. People are very cheerful. I like that but sometimes I go back to London and everyone's really grumpy and I go, "Okay, I know what I'm doing here."
Question: Do you feel isolated without a driver's license?
Kate Beckinsale: That is a bit of a pain. Because I don't have a driver's license I have to be taken places so I don't have that time in their car where they're singing or farting or whatever it is that they're doing in their car that they love so much. Everyone you talk to, goes, I need my alone time and the mind boggles on what they're doing in the car but hopefully one day I will find out.
Question: What's an advancement in technology that impresses you the most?
Kate Beckinsale: I'm a very big fan of Skype. I think that has revolutionised my life in terms of when I'm away working and all that. It's much more than a phone call. I like that.
Question: What's an advancement you'd like to see?
Kate Beckinsale: I'd like them to invent something where you can blink and turn up somewhere else without having to get on an airplane. Right? We could all use that one. Teleporting would be nice.
Question: If you could live an alternate life, what would you be doing?
Kate Beckinsale: I think I probably would have wanted to be a doctor. I'm quite fascinated by all that stuff.
Question: What aspect in particular?
Kate Beckinsale: Physical illnesses. I think it's fascinating: people doing surgery and microsurgery and all that. I just think it's incredible. Also, I think you have a healthy sense of your job being kind of ludicrous as an actor and being a doctor isn't, so maybe that's why.
Question: Are you still writing?
Kate Beckinsale: I haven't tested it out for some time. I've gotten to that stage where I'll be about to sit and write but, oh, my underwear drawer needs to be sorted out and I'll go and do that. You know the things you do when you sit down to write. So, I've got really clean drawers right now.
Question: What do you write?
Kate Beckinsale: In the past, I've written short stories and things like that but I'd like to write a novel and screenplay at some point.
Question: So you've got some ideas bubbling up?
Kate Beckinsale: Yeah. That's why I've cleaned out all my drawers.
Question: Would you write in the sci-fi genre?
Kate Beckinsale: No. I don't think so
Question: Did you read the short story that's the source material for this film [Philip K. Dick's "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"]?
Kate Beckinsale: Yeah. It wasn't massively helpful. It was interesting but it wasn't like there was a huge part on my character that's revelatory or anything like that.
Question: Was it a challenge getting into the world of his writing?
Kate Beckinsale: It's not my preferred kind of reading, no. My brother was a huge Philip K. Dick fan and Asimov and all that. I wasn't as much but I do really enjoy the worlds.
Question: What writers do you enjoy?
Kate Beckinsale: Gosh, I have a lot of writers that I really like. I love Dostoyevsky. I love reading modern American literature. I've just read the new Anne Tyler book, which is a whole gear change from Dostoyevsky, but I thought it was beautiful as well. I'm reading A.N. Wilson's book on Hitler right now. That sounds really random but that's really well written, too.
Question: You have a great sense of humour. Why don't you do more comedies?
Kate Beckinsale: I'm wondering that myself. I think I've scared people. I've scared people with the guns. That's more my comfort zone and so, yes, it's definitely something I'd like to be doing
Question: Does the British press still make you lose your sense of humour or have those days passed?
Kate Beckinsale: I don't know if it's because I don't really read it much but I feel like everyone's being nice at the moment. I haven't done anything bad. I haven't fallen over or had a picture taken where I'm picking my nose or anything like that. I've been at home a lot. They haven't caught me doing anything.
Question: Do you worry about the paparazzi catching you doing something embarrassing?
Kate Beckinsale: I wouldn't love it. I've got a thirteen-year-old and everything that I do is embarrassing to her, from [my] breathing to eating. So I don't want to be busted doing anything that her friends will tease her for.
Question: Is there something about you that she finds cool?
Kate Beckinsale: She does, actually. We're very close and so we talk a lot. But I think it's healthy to find your parents embarrassing, however cool they may be.
Question: What's the performance that your most proud of?
Kate Beckinsale: It's probably the movie that nobody has ever seen called Nothing But The Truth, which is a small movie I did with Rod Lurie. Rather tragically, the film company went bankrupt and it was never released. It's very sad. I had just been nominated for a Critics Choice Award and the next day they said the movie's not going to come out. God tends to keep me humble. I also did a movie called Snow Angels with Sam Rockwell that I was pleased with but I must say I'm very happy with this character ["Lori"]. I really like how she came out. I hope you like it, too.
Question: It looks like you and Colin have good chemistry in the film. How do you manage when you don't have chemistry with a co-star?
Kate Beckinsale: I've been so lucky that I haven't had that happen very often. Notably, one time I did have somebody who, not only did I not very like very much, but was probably the worst actor that I've worked with, ever. You won't have seen that film so I don't care about talking about it. But it was quite destabilising because you realise how much the game of it is dependent on the other person being good as well. I'm very lucky that hasn't happened to me often.
Question: Do you like watching or participating in special features on Blu-rays and DVDs?
Kate Beckinsale: I don't know if I do or not but I'm constantly doing it. Len is obsessed with that sort of thing so it's always going on in my house. I know a lot of strange facts about movies that I have no interest in whatsoever.
Question: Do you watch TV?
Kate Beckinsale: Not that often because I do find it intimidating how many channels there are in America and I am a bit of a hypochondriac and every time there's a commercial break, they go, "Do you feel tense?" And I'm going, "Yes." "Are you slightly constipated?" I'm like, "Yes." They get me all riled up. Then they say I've got something and then the list of ways I could die from the medicine is even worse. The whole thing's really stressful so I don't really. I like box sets.
Question: Is it sexy watching your husband commanding hundreds of extras and giving orders and stuff like that?
Kate Beckinsale: It is quite sexy, actually, because he's such a humble, sweet bloke. It's easy for me to forget and think he's this sort of bumbling fool who goes around our kitchen not knowing where anything is. Then I see him doing that and I'm like, wow, he really turns into this really impressive person.
Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Byran Cranston, Bill Nighy, John Cho
Director: Len Wiseman
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Running Time: 118 minutes
The line between fantasy and reality is blurred in the fast-paced sci-fi thriller Total Recall. Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsal star in this high-tech action spectacle of epic proportions.
At the end of the 21st Century, in a world where chemical warfare ravages earth, the remaining population is divided into two territories, The United Federation of Britain, and The Colony (previously known as Australia). Douglas Quaid lives a simple, but tiresome life as a factory worker. That is, until he engages in a controversial procedure that implants false memories, allowing an escape from the monotony of everyday life.
As the process goes horribly wrong, Doublas finds himself a fugitive, fighting for his life in the midst of a huge conspiracy that will challenge not only his understanding of the world, but his own identity. With the fate of society hanging in the balance, Douglas employs the help of the beautiful Melinda to lead a resistance against the tyrannical Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen before it's too late.
Mind-blowing special effects and unforgettable action makes Total Recall a must-see this holiday season.
Science Fiction vs Science Fact
Designing The Fall
Blu-ray Special Features:
Science Fiction vs Science Fact
Designing The Fall
Total Action Colin Farrell
Total Action The Tripping Den
Total Action Quaid's Bedroom
Total Action Kate Beckinsale
Total Action Lobby Escape
Total Action Jessica Biel
Total Action Quaid vs. Cohaagen
Pre-Visualisation Sequence Apartment Waterfront Chase
Pre-Visualisation Sequence The Fall Fight
Pre-Visualisation Sequence Flight and Tripping Den
Pre-Visualisation Sequence Elevator Chase
Pre-Visualisation Sequence Car Chase
Triple Play: $49.95