Surf's Up for New Star Bosworth
Beautiful 19-year old Kate Bosworth laughs when it is suggested that she could be the next 'it' girl. The press and industry hype on the talented and recent high school graduate is in overdrive, following reaction to her starring role in Blue Crush, a surfing film told from a female teenager point of view. Appropriately enough, we're sitting outside the Marriott Ihilani Hotel, a fair distance from the main tourism centre of Honolulu. It's the perfect location to talk about a movie that may well push this pretty teenager to the brink of stardom. Casually dressed in a simple top and jeans, Bosworth says that she doesn't "see myself in that way." Rather, she insists smilingly, "I just try to do good work. To be an 'it girl', you come and go." And Kate is determined to hang around, to avoid that 'come and go' thing, by adopting a few rules for herself. "I would never take a role for the money. I just think that is probably a bad way to go and I just listen to a combination of my heart and my mind."
A keen athlete in real life, the acting bug didn't hit the Boston-raised Kate till late in her teens. She never had a burning desire to act, but saw it as a natural progression from her days as an equestrian, of all things. "I think that my love for horses spurred my love for acting." While her love of acting may have surpassed her passion for horses, she still rides as much as possible. "Riding is sort of my therapy and on a horse is how I let everything go," she laughingly explains. Riding keeps herself grounded amidst the craziness of Hollywood. "There are certain things that I have for myself that allow me to stay true to myself." Besides riding, they include "the friends that I have had since I was one year old, and my parents; they are my anchors." As a result of Blue Crush, fame could come thick and fast to Bosworth, yet she is trying not to think about what impact that could have on her life, and at such a young age. "You do not really have any answers or game plan set out and you sort of just deal with it when it comes along. I have not ever dealt with large scale fame as yet, so I will tell you when I am there how I am dealing with it," she says, laughingly.
Kate's love of horses and growing fascination with acting came together with The Horse Whisperer, Bosworth's first film at age 15. From that time on, she was hooked and became increasingly attracted to acting throughout her later teens. "What attracted me the most about being an actor was that you go through different layers of yourself." Perhaps Kate discovered that acting became a way for her to hide from herself. Actually more the opposite, she says. "It makes you deal with certain issues, whatever they may be on your mind. I think it makes you allow other people to see certain sides of you." In Blue Crush, Bosworth completely manages to envelop the character of Ann Marie, a Hawaiian native in love with surfing, who is both obsessed and terrified of a major competition that remains male-dominated. Shot entirely on location in Hawaii, Bosworth sees Blue Crush as the perfect film for her to realise her ambitions of acting, the perfect film to introduce movie audiences to Hollywood's latest 'it girl' perhaps? "From the moment I read the script I saw the potential in it and am just really happy with the way it turned out. If I DO become the next 'it' girl, I really can't think of a better movie that I can break out in, because I got to play a character that's a great role model for young women."
While admittedly unprepared for movie stardom, Bosworth acknowledges that she remains ferociously ambitious. "I will kill myself before I quit a job. I think I am really one of the hardest working people I know. I am very determined and focused on what I need to do." THAT'S precisely why she got the role in Blue Crush, she says, "because of how determined, hard working and focused I was." As hard working as she was, Kate never realised exactly how tough it would be, to immerse herself into the gruelling world of the surfie. "I thought I would pick up my surfboard and it would just be inborn, you know, like oh I have this natural knack for being a pro surfer," she says amidst more hysterical laughter. "I definitely had a reality check. It was the most difficult activity I have ever experienced." Bosworth adds that the singularly most difficult aspect of making this movie was the surfing, no contest there. "It's hard to put into words why surfing is so difficult. It is just that you are trying to capture something that is not supposed to be captured, first of all. And learning how to stand up on a board that is six feet long and you are like sliding down the face of the water on a wave, is really hard."
Yet it was all worth the pain. Bosworth was a complete surfing novice before shooting Blue Crush and now she can surf with the best of them, not to mention the added plus of being that potential role model for young women. After all, there aren't too many Hollywood movies that go head-on into this world of surfing from the point of view of a teenage girl, and being a role model is just fine with THIS actress because "I have a lot of things to say to them." The number one thing she has to say is "that everybody makes mistakes, including role models, so you should just learn and grow from it." Even the best role models, Kate elucidates, "DO screw up and learn from their mistakes, and I think it is just completely unrealistic to say that role models are perfect. Personally, I think perfection is boring, and secondly, I just think that it's okay to make mistakes." Asked what her own biggest flaw is, Bosworth pauses slightly. "I think probably trying to please too many people. Sometimes I get so caught up in making other people happy that I just sort of forget about making MYSELF happy and you obviously need to make yourself happy."
Determined not to allow acting to take over her life, the recent high school graduate will head off to college in 2003, Princeton to be precise, where she hopes to study writing and psychology. "I took a psychology course in high school and it just intrigued me more than any other subject, learning how the mind works or why people do the things they do. It's just very interesting to me." Perhaps there are parallels between psychology and acting. "Acting is a little bit like that. I mean, I'm not a surf girl. My mother has always been there for me 100%. Yet, in Blue Crush I get to play a girl who grew up in Hawaii with no mother and hardly any income, plus I get to explore her brain and why she does the things she did." Bosworth also got to explore her maternal side in Blue Crush, as her character has to play mother and look after her young sister. "It's so funny, but this whole experience has made me so much more maternal. I'm an only child, so I've never even had a brother or sister and obviously, I don't have a child of my own." Now she is more than keen to try out motherhood for real. "There was quite a while, actually, when I was SO not into having kids. I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought, wow, I never want kids. And now I'm so maternal, I don't want them NOW, but I can't wait to have them." As for with whom, Kate laughs, "We have yet to see." Not her current boyfriend, she confirms. Not that she has plans on revealing his identity as hard as one tries to fins out. "I'm sure by the time you write this story it'll all be different anyway. It changes by the day, on again, off again."
In the meantime, it is Kate's acting career that is her focus, and wildly promoting Blue Crush, which she hopes will take her across the country and around the world. "I want to go to Greece and I'm dying to go to Australia and discover the incredible beaches you have there."
As for life after Blue Crush, Bosworth has already signed a two-picture deal with Universal. No wonder this beautiful Bostonian is perpetually smiling.
Blue Crush opens nationwide on August 16.
Paul Fischer is originally from Australia. Now he is an interviewer and film critic living in Hollywood.