Wearing a whole lot more than the rubber suit she donned for Underworld, Kate Beckinsale did her best in this interview to describe trying to be cool when just plain cold, as she did when bundling up for her latest movie, Whiteout, the Antarctic thriller based on Greg Rucka’s comic-book miniseries. And though Kate was coy about any Underworld sequels down the road, she did have some unusual things to say about do-as-your-told shower scenes, being freaked out by that Kate Beckinsale action figure, Canadian root canals, and how a curling iron is a must in Antarctica. Not to mention being definitely against exposing her rubber bottom in movies again, anytime soon.
How is this acting experience different for you than say, fighting vampires, and will you ever do another Underworld?
KATE BECKINSALE: Yikes! Yes, it was different. It was a lot colder! But it was a lot more intense, actually. Because we were all worried that we were going to die of hypothermia! Like every other second.
KB: Well, they told us when we arrived, about the many ways in which you can die from the cold. The survival manual they left at our hotel doors, was as thick as a telephone book. So we all panicked. But we had such a great crew. I’ve never had such nice boys, ever!
But then there was the putting on and taking off of fifteen layers of clothes, seventeen times a day. And all the men had beards full of ice. Which I thought at first was makeup department tests! But it wasn’t, it was real. And my hair froze into a point. Just from breathing on it! And everybody laughed.
But yeah, this is a woman in an extreme situation, and extreme weather. And being the only girl is…Well, I’ve done that a couple of times! Actually, there is another girl in the movie. But then we changed him into a boy!
But there was something really bonding about it. You know, the terrible way you had to tear off your snow pants and then you start sweating. It would make us just all…giggle together!
One big challenge, was trying to make everything look cool and exciting, bundled up in all those clothes. But my biggest fear, was not being able to speak at all. Because my throat just closed up from the cold.
And I don’t know anything about a fourth Underworld, sorry. I mean, it was always conceived as a trilogy. And I was never going to be in the third one. But I think if they came up with an amazing script or whatever, then sure, I wouldn’t be averse to it. But it’s not being planned or anything.
There are reports that you signed on to three more.
KB: Oh god, three whole more?
KB: Um, I don’t think my daughter needs to see my bottom in rubber for another 10 years! There’s already plenty. I did hear they were talking about a fourth one. But I don’t know if that’s officially happening, or if it’s just a rumor. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a rumor!
If there were only two things you could take to Antarctica with you, what would they be.
KB: Hmm…My curling iron. And my daughter!
What were you up to during the shoot in Winnipeg?
KB: I got a root canal. Which was excellent! Yeah, it’s held up really well. The dentists up there are fantastic. But they have great things for children there. We went to awesome museums, and other children’s places.
Your hair is different in the movie, and now you’re back to your own style. What do you love about your long hair?
KB: I did have a wig in the movie. But I don’t really think about that. Though it just feels more like me. And if I do anything radically different with my hair, my daughter gets upset.
Like when I come in the door, she’ll go eww! You don’t look like yourself, you look horrible. And frightening! And my husband tends to do that too! No, I’m joking.
What about fall trends. Are you going to keep the same look?
KB: Um, probably! It’s worked for me for the last ten years!
Now you mentioned your bottom a minute ago. Which is just the segue I needed into that shower scene.
KB: Ah, there we go!
It’s not that I’m complaining, because you look terrific in your underwear. But I’m thinking, why this scene, unless it’s for the fourteen year old boys in the audience.
KB: Um, sometimes you do what you’re told in life!
Okay…What’s the biggest challenge for you of doing these action movies?
KB: The whole training and physical thing. You know, my background is in ballet! I mean, I’d never been dragged around on a homemade surfboard or through snow, and all that stuff. But I think once you’ve entered the realm of action movies, there’s…nothing like the first time!
What’s it like being turned into an action figure?
KB: Well I haven’t been a toy for a while. It’s just weird, because my daughter has an action figure of myself, and her dad. And it’s weird, when you catch her with one in each hand!
Like I’ll be thinking, what’s going to happen next, how is that going to go. But I liked the one that was a bit of a Barbie style best. It had less of an angry face than the action figure! That one’s a bit scary.
What are you up to lately?
KB: I went back to London. I was a bit homesick, and I wanted to visit with relatives. And I hadn’t been able to do that for quite a long time, because I’ve been working so much here for the past seven years.
So I was taking a little break. And it was nice to go home for a bit. And I’m always open to working in England as well. But it just hasn’t come up.
Are you a comic book fan for stuff like Whiteout?
KB: I couldn’t say. But now I married a comic book fan, so now I know I’m not one! I would read comics, but it’s a whole different world for him. My daughter is into comic books, but she’s into different ones than my husband, like Archie comics.
We all go to the comic book stores together, but I look really confused there! I just can’t compete with their…level of obsession! But I respect it. I married it, and I live it!
What do you think the name Kate Beckinsale means to movie fans?
KB: Hmm…I don’t really know what it means. To me it means that I’ve been allowed to do different things, and I hope I still do. But I think I’d go mad if I tried to think too hard about that!
How do you juggle stardom and motherhood?
KB: My daughter comes with me everywhere. But I think she’s lucky to be around lots of nice creative, sweet people. And come with me, and have all these experiences around the world. I don’t leave her behind.
But it is hard. I mean, I think any working mother will tell you that what kind of falls by the wayside, you know, are the hours of sleep that you wish you had, and all that. I feel incredibly lucky and blessed, but I do sometimes feel like that exorcist lady!
And I try to give her a normal a life as possible, with a working mom. In every way, including being there to put her in the bath. Which is probably very annoying for directors! Like, I have to go home now, my daughter needs a bath!