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Kate Beckinsale shares behind-the-scenes stories from 'Much Ado About Nothing,' 'Pearl Harbor,' the 'Underworld' movies and more

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Kate Beckinsale recalled some of the greatest hits in her filmography, looking back at films like Much Ado About Nothing, Pearl Harbor, the Underworld films and more.

Watch her video interview above.

Video Transcript

- [? A ?] whole [? thing ?] [? sonnet ?] of his own pure brain, fashioned to Beatrice.

- And here's another, written in my cousin's hand, stole it from her pocket, containing her affection unto Benedick.

KATE BECKINSALE: It was my first semester at Oxford, and it was my summer vacation. Kind of a nice job to have for my vacation job. My first memory was going out and meeting with Emma Thompson before we started shooting, and she said, let's get in the pool. And I said, OK, but I haven't really got a swimming costume. She said, don't be silly, you don't need a swimming costume. You don't need a bathing suit. Well, get in naked with me.

And then, she said, oh, and I've noticed that you're shaving your armpits. They didn't do that in Shakespearean times. So you're not going to be shaving your arm pits for the movie, and I was like, this is the coolest person I've ever met. I want to be her, and still do.

- I'm an American citizen. May I please telephone the American embassy? Darlene. Where are you taking her?

KATE BECKINSALE: We shot most of it in the Philippines and then came back and shot a little bit of the beginning in LA. And I'd not spent very much time in LA, and we came through customs and they said to me, hold on, excuse me. You've been to the Philippines. And I'm like, oh, my God, that's so funny. I've just played a character who got put away for years for smuggling heroin.

They're like, this isn't funny. Can you come in the back room I was like, oh, no. No, I really have been doing that movie. Like, I definitely haven't got any heroin on me, like, even more than anyone else hasn't, because I totally know. You know, so I was there for about an hour and a half.

- People in this outfit have way too much time on their hands.

- Oh, yeah.

- I just hope they don't think there's been something going on between us. That's all.

- Oh, no. I mean, no. I mean, that would be embarrassing, right?

KATE BECKINSALE: I'd never seen a movie on that scale before, and I really wasn't prepared for it. You know, there were four units going at once. There was, you know, diet plans and exercise regimens that, you know, really punishing. Really baffled me, because I couldn't understand why a '40s nurse had to work out that much, but it was just like a whole different situation.

But I was so lucky because Ben had had a lot of experience in that department. So he'd be like, don't worry, they've got me on the same diet. OK, it's not personal.

- Yeah, and you're in a love triangle with Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett.

KATE BECKINSALE: Yeah.

- Good times, good memories?

KATE BECKINSALE: There are worse love triangles to be in, for sure.

- And what was your impression of Michael Bay? I know he said that he was hesitant to cast you.

KATE BECKINSALE: I think he was very alarmed because I don't think he-- I think he-- because I wasn't round and my boobs weren't very big, or bigger than my head. I didn't make sense to him as an attractive woman. So there was a lot of panic and concern about how on Earth are we going to make her attractive. You know, you think you'd take that really personally, but I sort of managed not to. It was so extreme, I kind of didn't.

- You know, maybe you should give me your phone number, you know, just in case.

- In case of what?

- You know, in case of life. I just had a great time, and I'd never be able to find you again.

- Well, if we're meant to meet again, then we'll meet again.

KATE BECKINSALE: It was kind of a Christmas movie. A lot of it was set in the wintertime, and we were shooting in August in New York City. So the fact that we don't look really sweaty in the movie is a big achievement.

- Let's go do something.

- All right. What do you want to do?

- I don't care.

- All right, come on.

KATE BECKINSALE: And also skating on the rink at Central Park, which they had to specially make out of linoleum because it doesn't exist in the summertime.

- How are your skating skills?

KATE BECKINSALE: I'm very good at ice skating. I did lessons when I was a child. I'm not good in the sense of hold my leg up the side of my head and go round and round like that, but, I mean, I can go backwards. I can handle myself. Yeah. I mean, John did all right, actually. I think he fell over more than me, but--

I'd been in America a while and occasionally, kind of, going up for parts that were, you know, a cop, or somebody kind of tougher, and people would be like, well, but she's sort of Jane Austeny, and she's very period, and she's a bit fragile and all that. And I thought, oh, I can't have that.

And then, suddenly, got sent the script that I also thought, I don't even know if I can do that. I've never even thought about being that sort of person. You know, it was really frightening because I'd never fired a gun before. I ran like a girl. I mean, it was a disaster. I really had to be kind of mentored into that.

I remember the stuntman being super horrified. So just throw a few punches, and I kind of went like this with my thumb in my fist, kind of went like that. And they were like, oh, my God. OK, this is going to take a minute.

- What do you want to know, Howard. Was I screwing Artie Shaw last night? Was I screwing Sinatra the night before? You bet. Everyone told me you're a goddamn lunatic, but I didn't listen. It's no wonder Kate Hepburn dumped your demented ass.

- With "The Aviator," you would come on to play one of the greats, Ava Gardner, also be directed by one of the greats.

KATE BECKINSALE: Yeah, he just creates the most fantastic creative environments for actors. So yes, it sort of was, theoretically, really intimidating, but in actual practice it was completely exhilarating, creatively, a nice experience.

- So you feel like going to Paris?

- Now?

- TWA is starting up flights to Europe. Thought I my pilot the first one myself. Ought to be some fun.

- Lots of good shopping in Paris.

- Hell, I'll buy you anything you want.

- You can buy me dinner. How about that?

- Do you have a favorite moment with Leonardo DiCaprio?

KATE BECKINSALE: I mean, I really liked him a lot. I don't know what we were expecting of each other, but I don't think we were expecting that we'd get on as well. I think he thought, oh, no, British, and I thought, oh, what's he going to be like? We actually really got on well.

- Congratulations on being about to receive the most accomplished [INAUDIBLE] in all England.

- Excuse me for arriving this way. What a delightful family pose.

KATE BECKINSALE: What sticks out in my mind? Um, obsessively learning lines, I think, and trying to keep my hat on in a howling Dublin gale.

- How dare you address me, sir.

- But, Lady Susan.

- Be gone, sir, or I will have you whipped. Outrageous.

- Have you never met him?

- No, I know him well. I would never speak to a stranger like that.

KATE BECKINSALE: I think the appeal of them is that, so often, you know, if you're in a period drama, there's a very high chance it's based on some incredibly well-written piece of work, literary work. So you're probably going to think your character's fairly great, you know. and that's what I like the most about them, to be honest.