Kate Beckinsale: Life in Austenworld

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How did he direct you? Nothing was too overplayed?
Kate Beckinsale: Yeah. He’s very allergic to acting with a capital ‘A’, which I am as well. That’s lucky.  I think he picked actors who were into nuance like that. Even the broader parts of the movie, which is mainly kind of Tom Bennett, he arrived with such a complete character that, even though it’s rather an extreme character, it is still feels very, very natural and real, just really funny. He’s very dignified and rather diffident and acutely aware of nuance. He can be quite brutal with his direction sometimes. He’s not shy of saying, “I really don’t like that,” but he says it so eloquently, and he’s always right. He and I, we had talked and emailed so much leading up to it, I think we were pretty much on the same page by the time we started shooting.

Kate BeckinsaleWhat was a typical day like as far as hair and makeup was concerned?
Kate Beckinsale: They were fairly early calls because we were shooting in Dublin and it was February, March, so especially when we were outside, we had only a certain number of hours to shoot in daylight. Makeup was about 30 seconds. It was actually getting dressed that took the longest time. Underneath the whole corsets and the stays and all that business it was really cold, so we all had thermal underwear and long leggings and all that. You really were this kind of stiff, snowman baby that was getting wheeled out of your trailer, like Hannibal Lecter on that thing.

You have such sharp comedic timing in this film. I loved it. We know you best of course for Underworld and such like. Did the comedic timing come easy for you?
Kate Beckinsale: That’s my absolutely favourite thing. I felt like that’s where I started out, and I felt very comfortable that that was my zone and then I thought I’d better mix it up a bit and play somebody a bit tougher. Then that really took off, the thing I was doing as an experiment, to see if I could do it. It got a much bigger life of its own than I anticipated. I think people then started associating me with a machine gun a bit more than what I’m used to doing. It’s been an interesting journey with that. But it’s very nice to come back and go, “Ah, yes.” This is where I feel like, my little birds in the birdbath. Back to normal.