Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel talk lesbian fans and kicking ass in “Total Recall”


“This made my day,” said actress Kate Beckinsale upon hearing from AfterEllen.com at the recent press junket for the remake, Total Recall, that she has lots of gay female fans. “I’d like to hear more about my lesbian fan base,” she added to the crowd of journalists. “I haven’t been aware of it until right now. I always thought I wasn’t really going over with the lesbians!”

Now that the remake of the 1990 film (that starred a pre-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) is in theaters, Beckinsale, as well as her co-star Jessica Biel, should see their collective fan bases expand since the women have some of the more intense and harrowing action scenes in the film. They recently gathered in Beverly Hills to talk about the new film, now starring Colin Farrell.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Biel, who plays Melina and helps Farrell’s character figure out that his mind has been implanted with false memories, wanted to share one thing (well, three things) that she was happy made it into the new film. “I think it was pretty clear that we didn’t want to steal or have anything from that film besides maybe those few iconic bits like the girl,” she said, smiling. “The girl with the three boobs. Those few iconic things that we wanted to throw in just for fun.” Biel added that this Total Recall is more than just a frame-by-frame remake but “is just a different beast completely.”

No stranger to action films after her work in the Underworld films, Beckinsale made it clear that she hasn’t gotten a big ego when it comes to actually performing action stunts. Quite the opposite, actually. ” I never think I’m capable of any of it. I’m always terrified,” she said. “I don’t feel like somebody who finds that stuff very easy and then when I watch it back I kind of go, ‘Okay. I buy it’ but it doesn’t feel as cool as it looks. It feels like you’re trying to keep up with a dance that you don’t know the steps to a bit.”

Another difference for the British actress is that despite filming the heightened reality of the future in Total Recall, Beckinsale wasn’t fighting bloodsuckers on-screen for a change. “I mean it was immediately different just because it’s a human being,” Beckinsale explained. “It’s not a vampire and it’s not fighting monsters and this isn’t a movie that’s got kind of a comic book style of fighting to it. So it was immediately quite different.”

That said, Beckinsale made it clear she doesn’t see Lori as merely a villain. “When you’re playing the villain,” she explained, “you never can really think of yourself as that. My character thought she was the hero of the movie, obviously. All the most twisted people, I think, feel justified. And so, yeah, it is fun to open up, get crazy a little bit. I like that.”

Though Biel has had her share of roles with physical challenges, she compared her character with Beckinsale’s in how she trained. While Biel said she focused on “boring stuff” like yoga and weight training she stated, “it was the boxing, really, that I think I focused on because my character, very different from Kate, is not a trained professional. She’s kind of more of a street fighter. She probably got taught in some weird alley by some buddies and some colleagues that she works with, how to protect herself. So she was more of just kind of an animalistic, more of a primal kind of style. So we wanted to keep the two very different.”

And what about the fight in the film between Beckinsale and Biel? “We’d met but I don’t think either of us had fought with another female actor before,” said Beckinsale of the experience. “That was nerve wracking and it was nice. It was very civilized. Women tend to immediately take responsibility if you mess up. The fight would stop [and] both of us trying to say it was our fault which oddly doesn’t happen with men.”

Biel still admitted she was fearful when she compared herself to her ass-kicking, more seasoned co-star. “I wasn’t scared of her,” Biel explained. “I was just nervous that I wasn’t going to be up to par. Obviously she’s an expert at these films and she just does this like it’s nothing. And I just wanted to be like a very rough adversary for her. So it was actually more of an inspiring sort of like, ‘Okay. Cool. So I have to make my A game show up. And I’ve got to do this thing. And I’ve got to get it together.’ So it was a motivating factor.”

Beckinsale was also well aware that she had some big shoes to fill since she was taking on a role that put its original portrayer, Sharon Stone, on the track to being a huge movie star (Total Recall was release two years before Basic Instinct). “I didn’t really sort of watch [the original film] before I did the movie. And I’d certainly seen it as a kid. I think she’s great. She’s gorgeous. She’s got a lovely violent, crazy quality.” However, again reiterating how different the 2012 Total Recall is from its predecessor, she added, “I just felt like you can’t really compare the performances. The movies tones are so different. If you transplanted her performance and put it in our movie it would be very peculiar. And the same way if you put mine into theirs it would just feel wrong. So I sort of didn’t really watch that before we did ours.”

Back to Beckinsale’s fan base, the actress talked about what a typical reaction is with her and her fans. “I must say I’m thrilled with my fan base. I mean for some reason some of them are quite young so they’re quite frightened. Mine tend to go, ‘Ugh’ and look horrified and then shake and then hide and then take a picture from a really long way away.”

And though the two actresses are nearly a decade apart in age, they agreed on growing older. Biel, who hit a milestone in age this year, admitted, “I wasn’t freaked out turning thirty. I never had a complete wig out or anything. Maybe that’s going to come. I’m not sure. You know, I’ve never felt more youthful, if that makes any sense. Not like I feel young. I just feel quite curious about life and excited to, I don’t know, excited to experience life.”

Beckinsale will be hitting the big 4-0 next year but is not losing any sleep over it…yet. “I don’t really think about it, honestly. I really don’t. I mean I’m sure I’ll wake up one morning and go, ‘Fuck. What happened?’ But I haven’t got there yet.”

Total Recall is in theaters now. For more on the film, check its website.

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