Kate Beckinsale is in an openly cheeky mood as she plonks down to talk about her role as Adam Sandler’s better half, in the comic superstar’s Click. A contemporary nod to both It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, the film casts Sandler as an ambitious architect who sacrifices ambition for family until a universal remote control gives him an unexpected and often tragic glimpse into his future. For the British Beckinsale, returning to her comedic roots in Click “was actually for me a kind of a personal thing because my father had been, in England, a very well known comedy actor, and I think I was very attracted to that because I had grown up on it,” the actress recalls.
“Yet at the same time I also slightly tried to steer clear of it, not wanting to tread on anyone else’s patch, but rather wanted to be on my own patch. And then on this movie I actually turned a year older than my father got to, and it was a very liberating moment finding myself, making it to 32, I’m in a comedy, everyone’s being really nice, and I wasn’t away from the family because we shot in L.A. and my daughter was around. So it was just like a blissful and lovely sort of blossoming moment for me.” Throughout the film, as Sandler’s character is fast forwarded throughout his life, Beckinsale’ s character ages gracefully, some three decades. “The gracefully aged thing is a big shocker and I thought I was going to handle it better than I actually did. But I think that at some point everybody turns into their mother or their father, it’s just not normally from morning to afternoon and it gives you a moment of totally existential panic, because, you sit there for six whole hours, it’s kind of boring and goes on and on and on, and then at the end of it you look so much worse and more creepy than you did when you went in. Also they modelled my hairstyle on the hairstyle my mother wore at my wedding so the whole thing was just kind of spooky.”
As for playing the wife to one of Hollywood’s most endearing stars, that was too good to be true, she comments, smilingly. “I thoroughly enjoyed that, as I didn’t have to take him home, didn’t have to yell at him about going and playing golf or all of that stuff that would probably really bug me in real life if I was married to him,” she says, laughingly. “But I had the sort of total movie pleasure of everything apart from anything leaking or gross or leaving me on my own or any of that, so it was perfect, a blissful marriage and I was really kind of sad when it was over.” And her feeling of genuine warmth is evident when recalling life on the set of Sandler’s Click. “I had such an amazing time on the movie, given that I really did think that I might just be this sort of roaming pair of breasts that wouldn’t quite fit, you know what I mean? Everybody would be watching sports and I’d be kind of tolerated and then I might bend over and it might be an event. But like I said, my daughter was around. These kids who played our children were brilliant on the movie, but also, if I had a child actor, he is so brilliant with them then they all go home and they they’ve got this special relationship. My daughter has decided that he’s a relative. I was so bummed out when it was over and I felt like summer camp had ended and nobody invited me to Hanukkah. I’d do it again in a shot.”
Beckinsale’ s sense of droll humour further comes across when asked where, in her past, she would go if she had a universal remote that could rewind her to a point that was memorable to her. “God, I’m British, it’s all been such abject misery,” she says, laughingly. “I probably would go back to when my daughter was really a small baby and I knew in advance that I wasn’t going to accidentally sit on her and bust her; it would be nice to go back through that in a relaxed frame of mind because she was a great baby.”
Beckinsale divides her time between London and Los Angeles, ever thriving as one of the most in-demand actresses working in film today. But being a Brit, she has yet to conquer one ambition: she has yet to acquire her driving licence, a necessity, they say if you want to live in this city of angels. “Well, I’m thinking about it. I actually got that very intimidating book of road signs and I never feel more foreign than talking about driving or dealing with children’s schools. That’s when I just feel like I just stepped out of Fawlty Towers. Sean Astin taught me for a second, for a night but I don’t want to unleash myself on Los Angeles after a one night lesson. I don’t think that would be wise for anybody. I don’t know how it works here. In England they’ve got that system where the other people have got a pedal so they can stop you, which they don’t have here. Here in LA they have driver’s ed. that just seems to happen. I’m so elderly compared to everybody else.” The actress admits that even her Russian is better than her driving. “And I generally use that as an excuse for not driving. If you’re going to say, you can’t drive. ‘Well, I can speak Russian’ then that sort of shuts them up.”
Beckinsale is both successful actress and doting parent, who has this piece of advice for recent parent, Adam Sandler. “I think parenting is something where you blast that trail yourself. I would bank sleeping wherever possible and if you’re wife’s crying a lot, buy some jewellery.” Professionally, Kate has just finished an Indie drama in Nova Scotia, Snow Angels, but as for Underworld 3, “I don’t think I’m invited to that one as I think it was always planned as a prequel so I wasn’t a vampire yet.”