Interview: Kate Beckinsale and Gabriel Macht

When I found out that my interview with the lovely Kate Beckinsale for her new film WHITEOUT was going to be with some fellow online journalists as well as one of her costars Gabriel Macht, I was a little let down, because confessing my undying love/obsession in front of others can be a tad on the awkward side. So instead of doing that, I made sure I had really sweaty palms instead when she walked in (so much so that I was embarrassed to shake hers) and then I made sure I acted real nervous and goofy throughout the whole thing, making as many unfunny jokes as I could and trying not to seem too desperate. I think I did okay.

Truthfully though, Kate was a charming woman, as was Gabriel (except for the woman part) and if you haven’t heard of Gabriel yet, you will. He’s just been cast in the lead role for Frank Miller’s THE SPIRIT, so this strapping young lad is well on his way. Kate came in wearing a massive fur hat, and some snow pants (the movie takes place in Antarctica) but she certainly didn’t smell like she spent the last 6 months in an arctic base. I’d say a dewy field of petunias is a better way to describe it.

Kate Beckinsale and Gabriel Macht

Kate are you aware of the changes that were made between the graphic novel and the script?

Kate: Like this one not being a chick? (points to Gabriel) (laughter). Yeah I think they wanted more of the essence of the graphic novel rather than doing it specifically.

How are you handling the claustrophobia? This film kind of plays on claustrophobia, isolation, stuff like that

Kate: Yeah it does. It’s a bit of a treat for us to come into here. But it is what it is, a bunch of guys..and me (laughter). Same old, same old.

What was it like for you guys doing some of the exterior stuff in Winnipeg? We’ve been hearing some horror stories about how cold the conditions were like.

Gabriel: It was absolutely freezing. I was out there and I think my nostril hairs froze. It was actually beautiful though. We were out on the lake and you can see, it’s just so gorgeous, there’s just nothing, it was so vast.

Kate: Once we find out it was on a lake we just freaked out. I didn’t realize it was actually a frozen lake. I thought we were gonna go through it but apparently it was only 3 feet deep.

Gabriel: I don’t think the conditions were as bad as the drive out there. We were staying at a place that was very similar to THE SHINING hotel.

Kate: Or VACANCY (laughter).

Gabe: We were shooting an hour and a half away, we could have shot right outside the hotel but they wanted us to drive an hour and a half each day.

Kate: But you had your knitting, your tapestry, all that stuff.

Can you explain for our readers who your characters are?

Kate: I’m Federal Marshall Carrie Stetko who’s out in Antarctica and nothing much has happened while I’ve been there until now.

Gabe: I play a female person otherwise known as Robert Price. I guess in the graphic novel it was a woman and in this they’ve…

Kate: …kept it a woman (laughter).

G: I play Robert Price who is a special investigator for the UN and I come into Antarctica and I help Kate’s character solve the murder.

So what’s the dynamic between you guys since the sex of the character is changed?

K: We’re a little frosty in the beginning because he’s on my turf, and it gets a little less frosty.

G: Yeah, we’re at odds at the beginning and slowly we learn to work together. There’s always these suspicions that Kate’s character has that my character may be involved in what’s going on. I haven’t completely told the truth throughout the whole piece but I think we learn to be more vulnerable with each other and work together as a team by the end.

Can you talk a bit about your first reactions to the script?

G: At first I was thinking WHITEOUT: It’s going to be real bright and right. But for some reason with Dominic directing, it’s going to be a very dark version of that. It’s not going to be so blown out.

K: It reads really good. It’s fast-paced and the characters are good. There’s not monsters leaping out of the ceiling, but I hadn’t seen that before, the whole Antarctica thing and the way that Dominic and Joel were talking about shooting it.

How’s this experience for you, being surrounded completely by guys?

K: It’s the story of my life, I have four brothers. Try giving me a wedgie and you’ll see, I’m quick (laughter). It’s a bit like that in the film business too, there’s always a bunch of boys, and then there’s one actress. I’m not going to constantly keep marrying everybody I work with (laughter).

Do we get the sense of why your character is in Antarctica?

K: There’s a very complex backstory. There’s a good reason why she decided to put herself as far away from her life as she possibly can, and the whole movie she is struggling with various betrayals and disappointments.

It’s a various small and intimate cast. What’s the working situation like, is there a camaraderie there?

K: We got so lucky. Everybody has been so nice. You expect there to be one asshole because there always is, but there’s actually not, unless it’s me (laughter). Everyone’s been great.

G: There’s always someone who wants to show you how big their member is, but people have been very cool.

Was there any hesitation, because Dominic is known for his explosive movies, which doesn’t leave much room for drama and the character development actors look for. How is he handling this as a director?

K: He’s a sweetheart. We actually haven’t done any of the big dialogue scenes yet.

G: I’ve been on the film for like a month and this is the first scene where I’ve had lines. I’ve walked down the hall and spat out a line. He’s very encouraging and very specific. He knows what he wants.

Kate, how are you handling the missing three fingers?

K: It hurts! They bang them down. I’m still trying to negotiate holding a gun and a flashlight, but it’s good, it’s fine. It takes some getting used to.

You have to have balls of steel to subject yourself to living in Antarctica away from society. Did you guys ever take that into consideration, because Greg did some amazing research living down there as well.

K: It’s really hardcore. We got a bit of a sense of it, just when you’re standing in the snow where we were and all you can see was white. And then you go home to the hotel and everyone is playing cards and you know you’re leaving. It freaked me out a bit, when you can’t tell the ground from the sky. The way we’re playing it, is that these people who’ve been here for more than one season have got some issues, I don’t think it’s everybody that could hack it. I couldn’t hack it.

G: My character is a complete newbie, I’ve just arrived down there. So I don’t know what it’s like yet.

Are there any crazy stories from the set, any anecdotes, polar bears, frostbite?

K: What scared me was that when we got Winnipeg, before we went out to Gimli where we were shooting, they gave us a huge book on possible ways to die when you go up to Gimli. I guess they wanted to warn us so please make sure you take your vitamins and don’t smoke or drink because you’ll get hypothermia. And there was the wind thing, and standing too close to plane propeller and I called my husband and said they’re trying to kill me, but then I found that everyone had got it.

G: I got it, I just didn’t read it.

You couldn’t drink while you were there?

K: They say that you’re more prone to get frostbite or hypothermia or sudden adult death syndrome.

So Gabe did and you didn’t.

K: I never really drink.

And Gabe, you thought it was worth the risk.

G: Oh yeah.

When you were shooting we noticed you carrying guns. How do they account for that, because in the book there’s a treaty where you’re not allowed to have guns.

K: Well we are. We have been creative. I hit somebody with a big metal pot yesterday.