The Next Era of Kate Beckinsale
With the release of her new film The Only Living Boy in New York, Kate Beckinsale talks to Glass about the next phase of her life
KATE Beckinsale speaks in a deep velvety caressing voice with an unmistakably British accent. It’s as British as a cup of tea with milk or a Burberry trench. In her interpretation, though, the accent sounds exotic and sexy, yet sophisticated, and she oozes confidence.
The London-born and bred actress has been calling Los Angeles her home for the past eight years. Now that her daughter with former partner and fellow Brit, the Welsh actor Michael Sheen, Lily Mo Sheen, has graduated from high school, Beckinsale is excited about not having to live by a map and being free to go wherever she wants for the first time in her career. “We had to decide where my daughter would go to school and not go from one country to another. But now that she is not going to be at school here anymore I don’t need to spend all my time in LA – which I actually feel excited about. The prospect of pollinating different cities like a bee and not necessarily spending all of my time in one place,” she says with genuine enthusiasm in her voice. “I’ve never really had this kind of professional freedom in this way so I’m pretty excited about not knowing what’s going to happen next.”
But after moving around and not living in a place where she comes from for a while, it turns out she feels a foreigner everywhere she goes. “Obviously, I haven’t grown along with how London is growing. The London that I am homesick for isn’t quite the same because it’s always evolving and changing,” she explains.
I’m talking to Beckinsale while she is still in the sunny California when I’m in the gloomy London. But in September she is coming back to her native city to start filming a new movie called Farming, written and directed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. “It’s a story about the director’s upbringing and it’s really an amazing narrative. And it’s lovely to be spending some time in London as well. I’m looking forward to going back.” The story revolves around a boy from Nigeria who was ‘farmed out’ by his birth parents to a British family in the hope of securing a better life for their son. However, he instead becomes the leader of a white skinhead gang.
Just as she’s setting off to start filming, another one of her movies was released this August in the US, The Only Living Boy in New York, where she stars opposite Pierce Brosnan, Callum Turner, Jeff Bridges and Cynthia Nixon. As the title suggests, for this film Beckinsale got to spend some time in New York for a change, which at one point in her life she has too called home. “I miss going to the theatre to see a play every single night like I used to do in New York,” she reminisces.
The Only Living Boy in New York is a story of a complicated situation that the leading characters find themselves in, as a married man has an affair with another woman, played by Beckinsale, which his son finds out about and consequently falls for her too. “One of the things that I love about the movie is that she’s not a rapacious villain that’s come to cause mayhem. She’s a woman who finds herself in a relationship with a married man which she’s obviously very torn about and she’s in a position where she’s been longing for an emotionally unavailable man and then there is this other available younger man who happens to be his son. I wouldn’t say she’s proud of her choices.
“One of the things that I was really excited to do with the part was to make her vulnerable and make her a real person. I do believe that you could be a decent human being and make choices that are morally questionable,” Beckinsale describes in her signature fast pace, that at times proves difficult to keep up with. She adds, ”It’s not judgemental … and the characters don’t know what they’re doing.”
Kate Beckinsale. Photograph: Robert Ascroft
Inevitably, at this point in time the hot topic of inequality and the gender pay gap rages in the media and it’s hotter in Hollywood than anywhere else. As Beckinsale is a Hollywood actress with over 25 years of successful acting career, and fans tattooing her face on their body (those would be Underworld fans), I have to ask what her thoughts are on this. “I think it’s very common in a lot of workplaces. And I do think it’s become something quite absurd. I think the gap will end up being closed-up a bit. But there are subtle things like women having to tailor how they speak about their opinion – to not be creating too much fuss and being careful about not seeming to be difficult. Things like that I think will take a little bit longer and I do look forward to a time when that’s not something that’s an issue any more,” she reflects.
Read the full interview in the latest issue of Glass – the Patience Issue – out now
by Sara Hesikova
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Photographs: ROBERT ASCROFT
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