Kate Beckinsale’s personal life has been splashed throughout the media, especially in England, and for good reason. After all, she was still with the actor who plays Lucian, Michael Sheen, the father of her child and they had just had a baby. She then broke up with him and married the director of Underworld, Len Wiseman. Through it all, Kate has no regrets, and as Paul Fischer discovered when he met her during the Toronto Film Festival, the actress is more than happy to talk about it. In this candid interview, Beckinsale talks action heroine, romance and underwear.
Kate Beckinsale looks like a perfect English rose when we get together in a Toronto hotel room where her action pic, Underworld, is premiering. Dressed in black with a black dress, the beautiful Brit has been all over the media of late more because of her personal life than her acting prowess. But while most Hollywood stars will do their upmost to avoid talking about their love lives, this actress says she’s an open book and doesn’t care who’s reading it. “I always answer anything, so if you ask me I will tell you. I haven’t done anything naughty. I really haven’t,” she says with a pert smile on her face. “I know people lie and don’t necessarily answer, but I’ve never been drunk, taken drugs, never had a one night stand or done anything I’m really ashamed off. So if somebody asked if I wear underwear, then I would answer. You can ask me anything and I will always tell you,” she proudly attains. And just for the record, no, she never wears underwear.
Beckinsale had still been with actor Michael Sheen when Underworld director Len Wiseman cast him at her recommendation. Now, the actress is married to her director, as one notices with her ring in plain view. “First off, I’m kind of pissed off about it because he’s brilliant, such an amazing director, and we had such a great working relationship. We did all of these interviews while filming and I’m like, I’m have a great time, he’s the best director I’ve ever worked with. I can’t believe this relationship we have. Now, it looks like I just had a crush on him.” The reality is, that she and Wiseman started dating after the completion of the film, but denies that despite having gone off her 10-year old relationship with Sheen, the split remained amicable. “I’m very touched and impressed by how it’s all gone on. Michael and I were together for ten years and I can’t imagine not having him in my life. He’s here in Toronto also we’re sharing out the childcare and he lives close by us in LA so I’m very proud of that”
Beckinsale’ s love life might be a little strange, but is equally strange is this seemingly timid actress’s decision to play action heroine, not once mind you, but twice, as she will also be seen opposite Hugh Jackman in next year’s Van Helsing. Best known for her roles in the likes of Cold Comfort Farm, The Last Days of Disco, Serendipity and of course Pearl Harbor, Underworld, in which she plays a vampire, seems an unlikely fit for the actress, but Beckinsale denies there is a typical Kate Beckinsale role. “I don’t really think I’ve got one. I feel really lucky as I’ve done some period stuff and a bunch of romantic comedies. I’m glad I’ve never been so successful where I’m stuck doing one thing whereas I’ve kind of been able to just toot along and switch around.” As demure as she appears off screen, there is clearly an action heroine eager to come out. “I’m just a huge fan of action films. I love the whole Aliens thing, The Terminator and I love Die Hard, so I’ll go see any action movie.” She even went to see Arnold in Collateral Damage on Valentines Day. “My boyfriend wanted to go see Amelie but I won,” she recalls laughingly. “The theatre was empty on Valentines Day because all the women had got their first choice and seen that so we were the only people in the theatre.”
Yet initially she was reluctant to even read the Underworld script, “Because I thought it would be an old B-movie schlocky horror film when I heard werewolves and vampires. I didn’t fancy getting about in a white nightgown and screaming, and then I saw all these drawings Len had put inside the script. I was like, okay, that looks pretty all right. Then I read it and as soon as I did, I wanted to do it.” Beckinsale clearly wanted to be part of the action, shooting guns and literally kicking butt. “I really am a fan of action movies and so when you get a script for one, I don’t want to be sitting around in an airplane making phone calls. I want to be blowing up the bad guys, which doesn’t happen very often and when it does happen that the female is the lead it’s a bit camp and wanky. I wanted to do La Femme Nikita, because I am such a wet weed [pussy] in my real daily life, “she concedes laughingly. In Underworld, Beckinsale looks amazing with a black latex outfit that she was allowed to keep. “It’s basically a condom with sleeves. It comes in handy and keeps me very safe.”
Beckinsale says that she’s over her action heroine thing, having gone even more physical in Van Helsing. “I really became black and blue. That was quite hard going.” The pay off was working with everyone’s favourite Aussie. “Hugh Jackman has the reputation for being the nicest man in the world and he really is. I made it my mission to find out if it’s real or is he torturing hamsters in his spare time? He’s so sweet.”Beckinsale is also working with another Australian, Cate Blanchett, in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, in which she plays Ava Gardner in the Leonardo Di Caprio starrer. “I like studying accents, but it’s a real person and such a responsibility, because she’s an icon. Both Cate and I think it’s awful trying to portray them. I’ve watched her movies to help with the accents, but it’s fun to watch them.” Meanwhile, Beckinsale can try and enjoy her new status as the new pin up queen for all those horror fan boys. “I don’t think they’re done with Hugh Jackman; I think HE’S the big pin-up queen for them.”