Kate Beckinsale claims she was ordered to 'work out' for Pearl Harbour role

'I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren't bigger than my head and I wasn't blonde,' Beckinsale says of Pearl Harbor's director Michael Bay

Maya Oppenheim
Monday 30 May 2016 11:48
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Beckinsale claimed that Bay was far more effusive about his casting of her co-stars Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett
Beckinsale claimed that Bay was far more effusive about his casting of her co-stars Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett

Kate Beckinsale has spoken forthrightly about working with director Michael Bay while filming Pearl Harbour, claiming she was asked to “work out” to secure a part in the film.

The 42-year-old actress, who rose to fame for her lead in the 2001 war film, said Bay chose her because she wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate female audiences.

“I don't think I fit the type of actress Michael Bay had met before,” Beckinsale recalled on The Graham Norton Show on Saturday night reported Vanity Fair.

“I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren't bigger than my head and I wasn't blonde.”

“I'd just had my daughter and had lost weight,” she went on to explain. “But was told that if I got the part, I'd have to work out. And I just didn't understand why a 1940s nurse would do that.”

Beckinsale claimed that Bay was far more effusive about her co-stars Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett.

“When we were promoting the film, Michael was asked why he had chosen Ben [Affleck] and Josh [Hartnett], and he said, 'I have worked with Ben before and I love him, and Josh is so manly and a wonderful actor',“ Beckinsale recalled. “Then when he was asked about me, he'd say, ‘Kate wasn't so attractive that she would alienate the female audience.’”

“He kept saying it everywhere we went, and we went to a lot of places,” she added.

An old Movieline interview from May 2001 confirms Beckinsale’s comments. When Bay was asked why he chose Beckinsale, he said he didn’t want an actress who “was too beautiful”.

“I didn't want someone who was too beautiful,” he explained. “Women feel disturbed when they see someone's too pretty. I'm not saying Kate's not pretty. When you look at Titanic, Kate Winslet is pretty, but not overwhelmingly beautiful. That makes it work better for women. Our Kate is very funny, could hang with the guys. She's not so neurotic about everything, like some actresses. She was solid, and I think the three of them had some really nice chemistry.”

Representatives for Bay and Beckinsale did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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