Based on Jane Austin’s Lady Susan, Kate Beckinsale’s new movie, Love & Friendship, she plays Lady Susan who talks a lot and manipulates people and makes her daughter’s life hell. We chat with Kate on what kind of mother she is, her Asian heritage, her new project, and how she approached a project with so much dialogue.
Q: When you saw the amount of dialogue attached to your character, were you overwhelmed?
I think the thing I was concerned about the most was I knew we had 27 days to shoot the movie which is not much when there’s that much talking, especially when so much of the talking is me. And so, before we started shooting, I kept harassing Whit for a locked in shooting draft. Because I had that notion of, you know, when you rehearse a play, quite often like Shakespeare, you tend knowing the lines. He was very coy about that. Then I realized he likes to change it up on the day. So that can be quite challenging on this than it can be on some. It’s a great, big speech, that gets moved around, it’s like a mental agility test. By the end I was pretty sure I didn’t have Alzheimer’s. And actually we finished in 26 days. I saved them a day. I actually was very pleased about that.
Q: In this film, Lady Susan is extremely controlling of her daughter’s life; As a mom in real life would you say you are overprotective or overbearing or do you utilize a more hands off approach?
She’s really good. She’s a good kid. I think your role as a parent becomes a bit more hands off. You are sort of required to be a body that sits sort of boringly in a house if required. You don’t want to be inserting yourself in all their experiences. But at the same time you can’t detach and not be there like Lady Susan because it’s a different sort of balance and who knows if any of us are getting it right. But I’m definitely not like Lady Susan, she’s not interested in being a parent. Not a natural mother. Her daughter, if anything, is more of an inconvenience. I think if Lady Susan were transplanted to now, she would not be rushing to have a child.
Q: You are doing one more Underworld, right?
I mean, I’ve done one.
Q: If this was your last one, how do you feel about that journey?
I thought the first one was my last one. I don’t think about what number we’re on apart from the fun that we got to do quite a few.
Q: I understand you have a bit of Asian heritage, your father was 1/4 Burmese. Do you have any desire to seek out more on your heritage and research your ancestry from that part of your family?
I really would like to do that. In fact my grandfather who is not alive anymore, he did a lot of that because it was his side of the family from Burma. He did quite a lot. So, I have quite a lot of photographs and information about my Asian relatives, but if would be lovely to do a deeper dive.
Q: Have you read any books about Burma?
No. I’ve watched a few documentaries, but it’s weird for me because I’ll be like, “Oh my god. That looks like my dad.” My dad had quite a few of the features that jump out. My father also died when I was very young so that was quite strange. But I am very interested in that.
Q: What’s next for you?
I’m writing a screenplay with a writer friend of mine. I bought a book a couple of years ago.
Q: You’re going to produce it?
Yeah. And I’ll be in it. It’s a period piece in that it’s 1979 and earl 80’s.
Love & Friendship is currently playing in theatres.