Kate Beckinsale and Tim Nasson Click
HOLLYWOOD – Dressed in designer jeans, a black halter-top and tasteful gold jewelry, Kate Beckinsale is the picture
of an elegant English rose. The brunette beauty is keenly aware of how delicate she appears, but looks can be deceiving.
The 32-year-old actress is just hours away from attending the taping of the 2006 MTV Movie Awards, where she is nominated for playing a butt-kicking vampire in “Underworld: Evolution.” And over the course of an interview, she reveals the bawdy sense of humor she developed as a girl in a house full of boys.
Growing up in the shadow of her father – the comedic actor Richard Beckinsale, who died of a heart attack when Kate was just 5 – she was destined for an acting career. Her path, though, has taken some unexpected turns.
From her start in Shakespeare plays and British TV dramas she moved on to quirky British comedies and then Hollywood blockbusters like “Pearl Harbor” and “The Aviator.”
She starred in the romantic comedy “Serendipity” with John Cusack and revealed her tough side in the “Underworld” thrillers. The vampires-versus-werewolves films not introduced Beckinsale to a new audience of young males, they also changed the London native’s personal life. She married “Underworld” director Len Wiseman, with whom she shares a home in Los Angeles.
In her new movie, the comedy “Click,” Beckinsale plays a wife and mother – the first time she has played a mom on film, though she has seven years of life experience in that capacity.
“Click” tells the story of an overworked family man (Adam Sandler) who discovers a magical remote control that allows him to control time. He soon realizes, though, that having the ability to fast-forward through the tough parts of life, including occasional rows with his wife (Beckinsale), is not the solution. While she recognizes the film’s underlying theme about stopping to smell the roses, Beckinsale says that, as a busy working mom, she wouldn’t mind hitting the “pause” button every now and then.
Were you surprised to get a call to be in an Adam Sandler comedy?
Not so much surprised because the thing about my career is that it has gone in a lot of unexpected directions on purpose. I started out the traditional route that you do when you’re English and classically educated. One thing that has been important to me is doing things that keep me on my toes. I’m literally the least likely person to be in an action movie. Athletic and tough – I’m not really like that at all. The fact that I’m nominated for Best Hero (at the MTV Movie Awards) is a huge and hilarious joke at my house. But I’m glad I haven’t been stuck doing one thing. My main thing, truthfully, in the past seven years has been being a mom. Now that my daughter is 7, I feel I’ve got a little bit more brain space to focus more attention on my career. I discovered that when I was making “Click.”
Adam’s comedies are known to have raunchy humor that appeals to a young, male audience. Did you have any hesitation about joining the cast?
I really did think that I might just be this sort of roaming pair of breasts and that I wouldn’t quite fit in. Y’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. (She laughs.) But he was so great. My daughter, who was on set with me, has decided that he’s a relative. He’s just so generous and brilliant to work with.
How was it returning to your comedic roots?
It was nice. My father was a well known comedy actor in England and I had grown up with comedy. But I tried to steer clear of (doing comedy) for a long time. I just didn’t want to tread on anyone else’s path; I wanted to make my own path. On this movie, I actually turned a year older than my father got to, and it was a very liberating moment to find myself in. It was like, I made it to 32 and I’m in a comedy and everyone’s being really nice.
If you had a remote control with one magical feature, what would it be?
As a parent, I’d press “pause” and take a big old nap.
Now that your daughter’s in school, aren’t you past the lack of sleep phase?
I don’t know. My child’s incredibly clever. That’s an absolute blessing but it makes for quite a challenge to keep up with her. She’s very alert and focused and needed to be stimulated from the get-go.
Were you like that as a child?
I was. My mom went through it with me. I didn’t even sleep even when I was pregnant. I don’t know if it was a hormonal thing or if it was the fact that I was only 23. I was exhausted when she showed up. I’ve become somebody who falls asleep in movie theaters. I’ll fall asleep during the most action-filled dramatic explosions.
You didn’t fall asleep watching “Click,” did you?
Of course not! (She laughs.)
Do you have control over the remote at home?
It’s funny. I was at a friend’s house the other day and somebody asked, why do men always have control over the remote, and somebody else said, because women have control over everything else. I think that’s true. But truly, I’m so useless with anything that involves pressing more than a couple of buttons. I can just about turn on the TV and I’m completely intimidated by American television having 500 channels, so I almost never watch it. I watch a DVD every now and again but I generally have to ask my daughter for help. If she’s on a sleepover, I have to read a book.
How did you like playing a mom at last?
That was one of the things that was attractive to me in terms of method acting. This is what I’ve been studying for last several years. Much as it’s flattering for people to say to me, “You look too young to have children,” I know what I’m doing. It was great.
Did you enjoy playing Adam’s wife?
Thoroughly. I didn’t have to take him home. (She laughs.) I 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 were married to him.
When you read the script, what were your thoughts about fast-forwarding through some things in your life?
I hate to say that this movie has a message and moral and all that because that sounds tedious. But I agree that it’s nice to stop and smell the roses. It’s such a whiny, cynical culture we’re in, so it’s nice to enjoy the ancient art of appreciating that you’re in a room with two apples in a bowl when a lot of people aren’t in that position. Yes, it’s a comedy and lighthearted, but like the best comedies, what’s funny is the human experience.
Is there going to be a third “Underworld?”
I think they want to do another one, but I won’t be doing it. It was always planned as a trilogy and the third was not going to involve the character of Selene because it’s a prequel. But I’m happy to have done two.
What’s next for you?
I just finished an independent film called “Snow Angels” with (director) David Gordon Green and Sam Rockwell in Halifax (Nova Scotia). And I’m doing a movie called “April 23,” which is the first movie in which I get to speak Russian. Finally, my training is paying off. (She majored in Russian literature at Oxford University.) And I’m a mom in it too. I’m also developing a few things. The first thing I’ll probably do is a comedy. I’ve become so frighteningly tough lately. It’s nice to lighten it up.