Kate Beckinsale attended a private Mamarazzi screening last week in Manhattan to talk up her new Jane Austen film, “Love & Friendship,” with Moms, Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein. (Sponsored by Peter Pan Peanut Butter, audience members left with jars of the stuff.)
Based on an early Austen novella about naughty Lady Susan Vernon (Kate), a beautiful and manipulative widow, who is seeking a rich husband for herself and her daughter, the film reunites the actress with director Whit Stillman and Chloë Sevigny, who last worked together on the 1998 satiric comedy “The Last Days of Disco.”
During a 30-minute talk back with the audience, Beckinsale, who is as witty and tart-tongued as her Lady Susan character, shared her views on motherhood, friendship and Instagram.
Best known as the romantic lead in “Serendipity” and the butt-kicking vampire killer in the “Underworld” franchise, Beckinsale said of friendship, “For me, it’s very important to have a very solid inner circle of girls and gay men, and that’s how I operate.”
Beckinsale, who wore her hair in a casual ponytail, looked terrific in a pale pink outfit and matching lipstick that would have made anyone else look washed out. Also spectacular were her skyscraper-high gold platforms that looked impossible to walk in, but in which she seemed to glide gracefully.
The actress said the elaborate and gorgeous costumes in the film, which require her to wear voluminous gowns and constricting corsets, were a “big to do.” The make up, however, was minimal.
Most challenging was the elaborate period dialogue, in which she does most of the talking, especially in her scenes with Sevigny. “I would have liked a final draft of the script, like a few weeks before we start shooting,” said Kate, “because I want to make sure I show up like you’re doing a play, but Whit doesn’t really work like that. He’s a brilliant writer but he’s very in the moment.”
The actress said script revisions and dialogue would arrive early in the morning for that day’s shoot. “Maybe that’s why I was so frightened in hair and makeup because that’s when he would come in.”
Complimented by an audience member on her hairstyle, Beckinsale said, “I do love a ponytail,” and said she used Moroccan oil to keep it shiny. As for her makeup, the actress cracked, “Unfortunately, everything I like gets immediately discontinued.” Asked about her shade of lipstick, Kate called out, “Is there a gay man in the audience who can tell me what lipstick I like?”
Kate Beckinsale’s Daughter on Robert De Niro
Beckinsale talked about her 17-year-old daughter Lily Mo Sheen from a long-term relationship with actor Michael Sheen. The exes seem on good terms and, last month they took their daughter to see “Hamilton,” about which she said her daughter was “obsessed.” Like most teenagers, Lily seems embarrassed by her mother, despite her being a big name actress.
Asked if her daughter, who lives with her in Los Angeles, has caught the acting bug, Kate noted that in 2009 her daughter played a younger version of her character in the film “Everybody’s Fine.” Her first day on set, her daughter had a scene with Robert De Niro. Kate said, “My mother was there with me and we were both watching. It was so exciting for us.” Afterwards she asked Lily about how her first day’s shoot with De Niro went? “It was great,” said Lily. “I just wish it was with somebody famous.”
Beckinsale recently joined Instagram (check out her account here), noting, “It’s quite nice to be able to stalk my daughter in a normal way.” So far, she has less than a dozen images up, most of them humorous and flattering black-and-white shots. “Get the best angle I possibly can,” the actress joked.
Another reason she joined Instagram was to control gossip about her. “I’m English, and we like to complain about things,” she said. “People in the business of spying on you and taking pictures of you and stuff, I like to reserve the right to complain about my private life being invaded. I can say, ‘Look, here I am.’ That seems a bit counter intuitive to that kind of invasiveness. I realize that those kind of social media things, which I am terrified of and totally suspicious of and scared of, is also a way for people to kind of have a little bit more of a daring personality, and that they’re kind of in control of what they put out there.”
When she first opened her Instagram account, her daughter asked if she could run it. “That would end my career,” laughed Beckinsale.
Asked about what was next for the actress, Kate joked, “Underworld 27.”
She’s also writing her first screenplay, with a “talented” woman writer. The Moms asked Kate if it would be about something they would like. “I think you will. It’s about a mother and daughter.”