Kate Beckinsale speaks about Whiteout and what it means to film a movie where a temperature above zero garners a celebration.
“Look, we did augment some of the weather with visual effects, which makes it harsher than it really was, but it was cold,” producer Joel Silver said of Whiteout’s
northern Canada’s shooting locale. “The stuff we did outside was rough. I think the movie shows it and that it was important to shoot it up there to give it the quality,” Silver
Beckinsale found the landscape more frigid than any film set she’s ever
inhabited. Considering the setting of Whiteout is Antarctica, Beckinsale’s icy reaction to the filming elements is understandable. “It’s a lot colder. It’s a lot
more intense, actually, because we were all afraid we were going to die of hypothermia at any second,” Beckinsale said.
At the core of Whiteout, Beckinsale found is the story is not about the thermometer. “It’s a woman in an extreme situation with extreme weather. Being the only girl —
I’ve done that a couple times now (laughs). It was just more intense because of the weather.”
In fact, Beckinsale is no neophyte to film. Her successful Hollywood track record includes the Underworld series (where she met her director husband Len Wiseman) and Oscar-winners both
real and fictional (Aviator), as well as Serendipity, Pearl Harbor, Laurel Canyon, Brokedown Palace and the classic Gwyneth Paltrow-starring
Cold, cold, cold!
Beckinsale landed on a Northern Manitoba, Canada set after Silver’s fantastic sales job. “Joel said ‘it’s amazing. It looks like outer space. No one’s done this
before.’ We got really pumped up,” Beckinsale said.
“Then when we arrived they put a telephone directory book-thick guideline saying these are the different ways it is possible to die here of being too cold or being too hot if you keep your
clothes on when you go inside. Or, if you’ve ever had an alcoholic drink or if you’ve breathed in a westerly direction, we all panicked. The most I remember was taking on and off about
15 layers of clothing about 70 times of day. When we came out all the guys with beards had ice on their beards that I thought was makeup and it wasn’t — it was real.”
For a woman born on the British Isles, Beckinsale was shocked at her reaction to the Whiteout cold. “I’m from England. I know how to handle the cold. My hair froze to a
point,” Beckinsale said and laughed.
Whiteout is a demanding film physically and Beckinsale is finding action a sharp tool in her actress toolbox. Yet, there is nothing that can compare to the thrill emitted from the personal
rush of being whipped about on a set courtesy of the wizards of special effects.
“It’s hard to say.
It may have been. But, I think nothing could be more difficult than having never done it before to doing it. I had a background of ballet and reading before I did Underworld, so I the
whole training physical is a complete show, – totally new to me. It was a lot less like that. I’ve never been drawn on a homemade surfboard and stuff like that, but once you’ve
entered the realm of action movies, there’s nothing like the first time. We had a great stunt team on (Whiteout) and such strong winds was not something I had counted
Beckinsale’s haute hair
In a lighter moment, the effervescent Beckinsale shares a little insight into her hair and
how her look is more history than haute. “I have a daughter and if I do anything really radically different, she gets upset. I come in the door and she says ‘you don’t look like
yourself.’ My husband tends to do that too (laughs). I’m joking, I’ve had it for a while, it feels natural,” Beckinsale said.
For fall, will she change with trends?
“It’s worked for the last ten years, why change what you have?”
When in Winnipeg, where many Whiteout scenes were filmed, Beckinsale and family enjoyed the family-friendly city. “In Winnipeg, they have great things to do inside with kids. I went to
awesome museums and children’s theater places,” Beckinsale said. “My daughter was there for the whole thing. I got to know a lot of that stuff (laughs). They had a frozen
park that I think was the best thing ever.”
Plus, the superstar knows a great dentist if anyone’s in the Canadian city. “In Winnipeg, I got a root canal which has held up really well, so if you’re there, I know a fantastic
dentist,” she said and laughs.
Kate’s comic crush
What would Beckinsale still love to conquer after over a decade in the entertainment business?
“I was shooting this movie while I was doing an independent movie. I have done three or four independent movies and now this,” she says of Whiteout.
Surprisingly, her future focus could be on the comic, or the classic. “I’d love to do some comedy actually. That’s what I would really love to do. I’d like to maybe do a
character that’s English. Something more classical, but I love doing lots of different things so I hope that continues.”
As far as Underworld, the vampire and werewolf film that made her a superstar, Beckinsale reported that if the story struck her, she would return. “It was always conceived as a
trilogy which I wasn’t in the third one,” Beckinsale said. “If they came up with an amazing script or whatever, then definitely sure, I wouldn’t be averse to it. It is not
necessarily planned or anything. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a rumor.”