27-year-old British actress Kate Beckinsale has had a wide variety of films ranging from British black comedies “Cold Comfort Farm” and the ensemble film “The Last Days of Disco”, to the Claire Danes Thai drug drama “Brokedown Palace”.
She’d recently had a baby when she was called up to try out for the part of Evelyn Stewart in “Pearl Harbor” and scored the role. She spent five weeks in Hawaii and 2-3 months in LA shooting the part.
Question: How did you go about getting the role?
Answer: “Well it was a surprise I must say…I’d just finished my first film back from having a child, ‘The Golden Bowl’ which is a Merchant Ivory movie, and then I went and lived in New York with my partner who was on Broadway doing a play for a long time, and I just was run off my feet with the baby, and cleaning, we had mice and whatever and I got sent a bunch of scripts and I loved this script, I just thought it was amazing – it made me cry, I really wanted to do it and before I knew what happened there I was in Hawaii. I hadn’t really…I was so passionate about the script, and I so wanted to play the part and that’s how I always choose things so…its taken me this past year to really realise what I’ve gotten myself into, now I know”.
Question: What was it like being surrounded by a very testosterone fuelled cast & crew?
Answer: “I’ve got four brothers so I’m used to being outnumbered in that respect…but I always had my baby with me so we had a little pocket of estrogen that followed us around everywhere we went, she’s a girl too so it was ok”.
Question: You’re big ‘running from the explosion style’ scenes, fun to film?
Answer: “The boys had no sympathy for us at all as their first four weeks were all the attack, so they would come home every day – they were veterans by the time we started…I think the first day that the girls did was the scene where we’re running through to get to the hospital and you know their strafing, there’s bombs going off and there’s a fountain that collapses. They had these really scary safety meetings where they hand you out ear plugs which makes you slightly deaf and that’s weird in itself. I think the most frightening thing that they said was, you know please bear in mind that you can’t rehearse it. They can tell you kind of what’s going to happen, then you have to do it so its a little frightening. Bear in mind some people when they get nervous laugh uncontrollably, please don’t do that so god, can you imagine…that was what I was most scared of doing, they’ve got like a hundred extras and fountains collapsing and there’d be me like cackling – that was what we were really frightened of”.Q. Did you speak with nurses still alive today that were involved in the real life attack?
Answer: “We never got to speak to them, I was really disappointed – it kept being almost about to happen and then for some reason it didn’t happen. We had a lot of eyewitness accounts that we could use and pictures and stuff. Weird things I found really upsetting, you know there was some guy who was really badly wounded, lying in the hospital and the nurse kept walking past and all he kept asking, he’d lost his legs I think, and all he kept asking was that somebody would go back and check on his fish, his goldfish – he was so freaked out”. Most of the bombing attack scenes were shot in the tank in Baja, California thus she never got to see a lot of it.
Question: Was it fun to make out with Josh Hartnett in a parachute room? ?
Answer: “It was great, you know it was fine. Josh was very terrific with it, and extremely concerned that I was ok – such a gentleman, cause he was covering me up and moving things and you know…it didn’t take long, not to slight him or anything (laugh)”
Question: I understand all the underwear was real vintage clothing, how was that to wear??
Answer: “They’d [given us] big flappy knickers, sometimes we would cheat and leave them off…there was an aerial shot with a helicopter that blew up our skirts that happened to be the day that we’d all gone commando, didn’t do that anymore after that”.
Question: Any concerns over the way its being promoted?
Answer: “I’m not worried if anyone is going to see it the same way as I normally am, you know my little tiny French movie or something that I did. At the end of the day you still feel like an actor going to work, and getting a sense of you know, the scale of it – I guess it might give you a taste for it…It’s nice to come back here and not have anything explode”.
Question: How would you explain the romance triangle?
Answer: “With Ben he’s the kind of the love of her life you know, they meet – he’s funny, smart, butch and handsome and you know lovely things. I think the relationship with Josh…you know I think when you’ve lost somebody, there is that moment after it you kind of need to reaffirm life a little bit, you know – particularly if you both have this person in common, and I think its natural to spend time together and I don’t think its a grand passion in the same way – I think its much more of a comfort thing, that probably wouldn’t last forever. But, I think its sort of all about the circumstances really, I don’t think she’d have gotten together with Danny outside of the circumstances you know, much as she thinks he’s sweet”.
Other Facts Garnered:
The hospital inoculation scene she got to practice injecting on real life men, and in fact members of the crew were “lining up” for the girls to do that to them.
She hasn’t yet received anything she’d be interested in doing next so it’ll probably be a nice quiet Summer for her. We will see her again in the upcoming John Cusack film “Serendipity” about which she says “I was a total change of pace…it was weird doing a British accent, that was the first time I’d done a British accent in several years”.
Her normal accent is very polite but very soft English.