You’d never know it from looking at her, but if you think about how much ass we’ve seen Kate Beckinsale kick on screen over the years, you may be shocked to hear that being athletic was not really in her wheelhouse.
“I wasn't particularly athletic,” she admitted to Women’s Health Magazine. “No one ever thought, ‘I must have Kate on my team.’ To me, you only went to the gym if you were really weird and obsessive. No one I knew in London at the time ever did it….I mean, I could run if a bear were chasing me, but I'd run like a girl with my arms [flailing goofily]. The day they asked me to try a few punches [on Underworld], it was dismal. All I could see was despair in the stunt coordinator’s face.”
Well, then give that man an Oscar, because he certainly turned things around for Kate. Not that she’s only kicked ass on screen. In fact, what’s probably most impressive about her career is the range of roles that she’s taken over the years, seemingly just as comfortable doing Shakespeare as she is Dick (as in Philip K.’s Total Recall). As she pointed out to our sister site, Empireonline, she feels that it’s essential she challenge herself and step out of her comfort zone as often as she can. “As an actor,” she says, “that’s the thing to do. That’s the only rule I’ve had. Sometimes that pays off and sometimes you make a movie that nobody sees, but you still have the experience.”
Of course, the one role that she has returned to more than any other is the vampire Selene of Underworld, and it’s obvious that the franchise is something she’s proud of. “One of the things that’s cool about it is that it isn’t based on an existing comic book,” she relates in the same Empire interview. “It’s not a remake. It’s not based on a video game, and I think the days when you can get those movies off the ground might be over. We squeaked in last minute. I like the fact that there’s this mythology that a couple of guys thought up on their sofa. Whatever you feel about Underworld, a new idea is always a good thing. Cinema is vastly more corporate, so it’s become, ‘Yes, we will make the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter movie, but we won’t make an original movie.’”
Over the past 25 years Kate has been in a lot of films, and what follows is our guide to all of them.