Kate Beckinsale goes from heroine to villain 0
It's not exactly a secret that Kate Beckinsale and her director of choice, Total Recall's Len Wiseman, are husband and wife. But Beckinsale seems proud some colleagues don't even know about it.
Case in point, Bryan Cranston, who plays the villain Cohaagen in Wiseman's version of the Philip K. Dick story (and 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie) about a blue-collar worker (Colin Farrell) who activates buried memories of a spy career while taking a virtual vacation.
His first discovery: his "wife" (Beckinsale) is actually a government assassin, working for Cohaagen.
Cranston first met both the director and the villainous leading lady in their work environment, where all behaved professionally most days.
"One day, Bryan saw us holding hands or something and came rushing back to the set going 'Kate and Len are doing it!'" Beckinsale says. "He didn't realize we were married. I was like, 'I hope so!'
"It would be annoying if an actor was trying to talk to the director and the wife was sitting on his lap," says the actress, who's starred in three Underworld movies under Wiseman's direction. "You turn things like that off a little bit.
"And certainly if you were to have a disagreement, I find texting much more civilized than actually shouting."
Despite the image she's burned into pop culture with her black leather suit as the vampire Selene (she finished Underworld Awakening four days before starting filming Total Recall), Beckinsale says she approaches each new action role with the same terror.
"I never think I'm capable of any of this. I'm always terrified," she says. "Lucky on this one it's my husband - 'I can't do any of this; - 'Yes you can, go on and do it.'
"Of course, now I have the added terror of going, 'I still feel like the person who shouldn't be doing this, and everyone is acting around me as if I'm a badass all the time.' It still feels like a reach. I feel more comfortable in a drama."
There are advantages to doing Wiseman-style action over that of other directors, she says. For one thing, Wiseman avoids CGI where possible, creating the whole future world of the United Federation of Britain and the underclass Colony in huge soundstages in Toronto. Even the hover cars used in the movie's main chase scene are real (if not entirely functional).
"Len has an obsession with the practical," she says. "I've never had that experience of being on a soundstage painted green and talking to a tennis ball on a stick.
"And I've never fought a pretend werewolf, I've always got some poor sweating bastard in a werewolf suit fighting me, dying of thirst."
But the real first for Beckinsale was going from heroine to villain. "When you're playing a villain you never think of yourself as one. My character thought she was the hero of the movie obviously. All the most twisted people feel justified.
"It is fun to open up the crazy a little bit. I like that."