Beyond the Sea: An Interview with Kate Bosworth
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By Julian Roman
Did you have any concerns about doing a love scene with someone that's twice your age?
Kate Bosworth: [Laughs] Even if it's someone who's young, you're always just a character. I never think anything like that. I never have.
What makes Spacey unique as a director compared to other directors you've worked with? This is a very personal project for him. How did he direct you?
Kate Bosworth: I think his passion is infectious from the get-go. But really just as a director I felt incredibly safe because I knew he knew everything about Bobby Darin. It's not like this is a director who thought this was a cool project about Bobby Darin. He loved this project and that was infectious to me. In terms of his directing, I've never worked with such an experienced, seasoned director before. Well I guess Bob Redford, but I didn't work that closely with him. He's a different animal. But it was similar in how they approached it, so it was interesting. He just has a certain sensitivity in working with another actor. If I was having an off day, he knows how I'm feeling, he's been there. So he knows how to work through it. Or on the opposite hand, if you nail it he really knows how to celebrate it so well with you. I never felt jarred by the switch from director to actor. All my scenes were mostly with him, and I never was like, is he directing me right now or looking at me weird? Maybe someone would do that, but he was so completely engaged in acting when he was opposite me, like 150%. Then he'd go, "CUT! Great." Then go run behind the monitors and all of a sudden be in director mode. It was like he was playing two characters in a way. It was amazing.
Can you draw parallels between Bobby Darin and Kevin Spacey?
Kate Bosworth: One I'd say is their passion. That was the main thing. Kevin is such a huge fan of Bobby that I think they have the same love for the music in a certain way. They're both incredibly driven, my God. It was exhausting for me to hear Kevin talk about his day, much less live it with him. He would go to work early to set up the shop as the director, work all day acting and directing, go to dailies, then go to dance rehearsal. So his day literally went from 5-6 in the morning, to 11-12 at night. I was like, when do you eat and when do you sleep? I seriously didn't see a window for any of that. Bobby was the same way in that he was so driven in his career working. That was the parallel that ultimately led them both to success.
How involved was Sandra Dee in creating the film?
Kate Bosworth: I haven't met her yet which is interesting because I don't know if it would sort of taint my view of her now. I don't know if it would make it easier for me to create her character or harder. For me it was just about reading a lot of interviews, specifically a book called "Dream Lover" that her son had written and he went in to their relationship in depth. It was really just reading all of that and creating her in my head. That was most helpful. But she saw the movie and she loved it.
She had no input on the film whatsoever?
Kate Bosworth: No. Her son [Dodd Darin] was more though.
When you first heard about the film, did you have to ask yourself, "Who is Bobby Darin?"
Kate Bosworth: Completely! It was so funny because Kevin asked to meet with me for the part and we sat down and had dinner and chatted for like 3 hours. He pitched the movie to me and painted this picture and started talking about everything else. I don't know. We were feeling each other out and had such great chemistry together as people, I think he just...I don't know. I didn't read for it. I was lucky that day I guess.
When did you find out you got the part?
Kate Bosworth: He called me the next day! Kevin, he's like that. He told me he was doing this movie about Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee. And I was like, Sandra Dee from "Grease?" Making the remake of "Grease?" He said "no, no," he said it was about these two people then he completely drew me into the story and it was fascinating for me to play Sandra because she was like this golden girl - even the spoof in "Grease" plays into it. What hooked me is that he said she was so different than his image. She was sweet and innocent and anyone who knows her and Bobby would have said that. But she had a lot of demons as well. That was interesting for me to play.
Did you watch her movies to get her mannerisms?
Kate Bosworth: Yeah, this is really funny actually. I started watching "A Summer Place" and got about 's of the way through it and realized I was about 5 inches away from the screen and sweating bullets and really having my body trying to be exactly like her and copying the lines exactly like her. And I freaked and I called Kevin and told him I don't know how to mimic her, I'm not going to do a good job and you should fire me now and get somebody else. And he said "Kate," like Kevin does, "We're not doing an imitation, that would be boring." And I just took that with a grain of salt and said if that bothers you to watch her, then don't. go figure it out another way. That's when I started reading. I'm an avid reader and I figured when I read, even more so than when I watch movies, I find myself having a creative license and creating what I want to see in my head through reading. I started doing that and that's how I did my most research, through reading.
How old was she when she met Bobby Darin?
Kate Bosworth: She was 16 turning 17. When she turned 17 they were married.
You and Sandra Dee both became movie stars at an incredibly young age. She had a lot of problems coping when her career faltered. Do you worry about that or how you would handle that?
Kate Bosworth: Well, I'm not going to become an alcoholic. Don't become depressed. Don't have a child at 17. I don't know. It's so much different today than it was back then. She was a really specific case because she got into it when she was 13 through modeling and her mom was incredibly controlling and really forced it on her.
You were about that age when you got started.
Kate Bosworth: When I did "The Horse Whisperer," yeah. I took a lot of time off. But it was interesting because she was talking about filming and I really wanted to find somewhere where she said that she loved making movies and that it was her passion. But there's not one thing about that. It's all like, she said she liked it, it was OK. That was what she always did and knew. Her day was the car picked her up to go to the studio, she made a movie and that was her job. It wasn't like she had this tremendous passion for it. I think that's a huge difference as well. If I wanted to go make however much money on a few fluff things that would be more like her. But it's my passion.
Is your mother anything like Sandra Dee's?
Kate Bosworth: [Laughs] No! Thank goodness! Both my parents are actually upstairs. They're amazing. They're really incredible and they've never pushed me to do anything. When I first got the role of "The Horse Whisperer" I was so scared to do that. That was so strangely accidental in my life. At that point I was like this 14 year-old horseback rider. That's what I loved. I bunch of the girls from the barn were going up to audition for this film in New York and I was like yeah I'll go along, and I was handed the lines and I read them and that was that. They kept telling me to come back and I was having this horrible anxiety like, Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into? What am I doing? I'm a big believer in whatever you're meant to do, you'll do some way or another. And that was my way. But I was freaked when I first got the role and my mom and dad said, even if I do this once, it's great just o have the experience. You're 14, and six years later you're just going to ask yourself why you didn't do that. Even if it's just one. If you hate it, fine. You made a movie, and that's an experience you can stock in the memories.
They may have had a different point of view though when you're working with Robert Redford.
Kate Bosworth: Yeah, I think they were pretty impressed by that. I don't know. They've been amazing by wanting me to just have the most amazing experiences in life. Even differing from school, they were supportive of that. I don't know if they necessarily agreed with it, but they were never overbearing in any way, which is incredible. The older I get, the more I appreciate that.
Would you like to go back to school one day?
Kate Bosworth: Absolutely. I hate to say that because then the rumors are going to say that this fall I'm going. But I really do and for me it's about when I feel ready to go, I'll go. When I did "The Horse Whisperer," I did that then I was going to this new high school as a freshman and I thought there was no way I was going to walk in and be the actress and fly off every week. I wanted to find my way into this new place and formulate my personality and make friends and not have it be for any weird reason. I just wanted to be normal Kate. I was in school for four years and worked really hard and put work on hold. So this is really my third year of being out of school and I don't feel quite ready to leave work yet. I still owe that some time.
Do you think young actresses in your generation have more or less trouble than actresses in Sandra's generation with how they were supposed to look and weigh?
Kate Bosworth: She had tremendous eating disorders as well. I think the difference is that they weren't as open to talk about it back then. It's like everything was behind closed doors. That to me is more damaging. That's what led to alcoholism and depression I think because she bottled so much of that up. Then she had to paint on a happy face, which is really sad. Today I think it's just more of a well known thing. Back then they glorified these stars and glamorized them and put them on this pedestal and sat there and were just amazed by them. And now I feel like they kind of put stars on a pedestal and then can't wait to tear them down. It's a completely different thing today.
Sandra Dee basically gave up her career to be with Bobby Darin and start a family.
Kate Bosworth: That was just really what she wanted more than a career. I think it was as simple as that. I don't even think she sacrificed anything. I think she just wanted it. She really wanted Bobby to sacrifice his career, that was the problem. She was like, I want a family, I want a husband, I want a father, I want a house. And he was like, listen darling, I have this much time left so see you later. So that was the biggest conflict between them.
What can you tell us about your next film, "The Bee Season?"
Kate Bosworth: That's with Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche
and Max Minghella, and amazing young actor. He's such a wonderful young
man. It's about a family coming into their own spirituality at their own
time. I have a great part. I play a Hare Krishna that befriends Max's
character and helps him figure out his spirituality. It was a book that
was adapted by Naomi Foner, who's incredible.
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