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Kate Beckinsale ‘Total Recall’ Interview

Written by Alexander Tucker   // 08/03/2012

Total RecallYour character Lori, she goes from a seemingly loving wife into a ruthless killer in a split-second. What was it like playing someone with that duality? And also, playing an outright villain?

Kate Beckinsale: I’ve never played a bad guy before, I‘ve never played a villain. I loved the fact that she flips from being this very sweet, concerned wife, into this killing machine in the space of a second. We found it fun to make her American when she was nice and English when she was horrible (laughs). If I’ve done a movie that required fighting or action, I’ve always been on the side of truth and justice. But the thing is, my character thinks she is on the side of truth and justice. Also, there’s a slightly maniacal side of her – she’s slightly out of control, and that’s always fun for an actor to play. There was a lot there.

Considering the nature of your role, how did you find working with Colin Farrell? That first fight sequence was great….

Kate Beckinsale: The thing about Colin is that he’s incredibly committed, he’s incredibly prepared, he works in a way that I feel very comfortable with and very familiar with. So a lot just happened on the set, and that was really exciting and fresh working with someone like that. And the fight scene, we shot that fight scene very early on in filming actually, a lot of my stuff with Colin was at the beginning of the movie. I think I had only met him two days and I was flying across the floor with my legs open to choke him (laughs). And that was really intense. It was an intense, choreographed, difficult fight. And doing it with another actor, you’re hoping you’re the one who’s not going to lose control of your fist or elbow (laughs). But he’s so wonderful, he’s so talented physically as well. I was very impressed by him.

You seem to be an actor who really enjoys doing your own stunts and fight sequences, all the training and preparation that involves?

Kate Beckinsale: I really do enjoy them and I enjoy them especially after I’ve done them, seeing how different it looks to how it feels. I always feel like, “I don’t know if I’m going to make it through this fight? Am I going to mess it up?” Because it doesn’t come naturally to me, I’m not a particularly athletic person, I didn’t have that growing up at all. It does feel like I’m visiting the greatest challenge for me, trying to get better at it. I wouldn’t say stunts drew me into the business (laughs), it was quite a shock that I ended up being somebody who does that stuff. I do enjoy it, and I do think there are things that come more naturally to me than I think they do. And Len, if he can get an actor to do it themselves safely, then he’d much prefer it that we’d do it. But at the same time, begging and sobbing does work if you‘re really scared (laughs).


What was it like working on that elevator fight scene with both Colin and Jessica Biel. Speaking to Jessica, she was telling me how polite you two would be when squaring off against each other on set?

Kate Beckinsale: (Laughs) We would. The fight between Jessica, Colin and I in the elevator, that was the one I was most worried about, because I think that came up in the first few weeks of shooting, me shooting on the movie. I didn’t have much preparation time, so that was the one that on weekends and evenings and on lunch breaks I would be practising. They built a little sort of elevator sized spot for us to practise in – because it is very different doing a fight in open air, compared to doing a fight in a very confined space. I was so worried about it, because I have to beat everybody up in that scene (laughs). But it went really well, and Jessica is great, she’s brilliant at doing it. But also, fighting with another woman is a very polite experience (laughs), everyone is apologising, everyone is taking responsibility if something goes wrong. It’s really sweet actually (laughs).

I know you’re a fan of ‘Breaking Bad,‘ how did you find working opposite Brian Cranston?

Kate Beckinsale: Oh yeah. We were such big fans, Len and I became completely obsessed with ‘Breaking Bad’ before Brian was even doing ‘Total Recall.’ And then of course when the role came up, we were like, “Do you think we can possibly get Brian Cranston?!” He’s just incredible, he’s like the ultimate actor, you know? He’s so amazingly talented, but he’s also just a great person to have on set because he’s endlessly funny and witty and energetic and naughty, he’s great (laughs).

What do you hope people take away from this ‘Total Recall’ movie, especially considering how Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 movie is such a beloved piece of work?

Kate Beckinsale: I really hope they enjoy the experience, a lot of works gone into this movie, it’s a very different tone to the original movie. Its not trying to replace the original in any way, in fact I think the respect to the fans of the original is why there are a few little waves to that movie in this movie. We didn’t originally have the three breasted prostitute, or the certain iconic moments that Len has put a little twist on. We didn’t have those in the original script because it was a completely different story. We had already took away Mars, we had tonally changed everything. And I think because it is such a beloved movie, it was nice to have little respectful waves at the movie. With this story, I love the fact that we’re entering this whole fully-realised world, and exploring the central questions of what’s real and what isn’t? And for Colin‘s character, who am I? I think that’s such a mind bogglingly interesting question that is couched in a very fun movie, that I think you can enjoy on several levels. You can take from it what you want to. I think its got a broad appeal, a broad scope because there’s so many levels you can enjoy it on.




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