Ms. Bosworth Takes a Gamble
by Paul Fischer
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Kate Bosworth had reason for feeling tired at the end of a long, Las Vegas day during which she was promoting her latest movie, 21. The 25-year old actress had just returned from Australia where she was a bridesmaid to her Australian assistant who she befriended during the Superman Returns shoot. “Yes, and I was a bridesmaid for first time,” Bosworth says from her Vegas hotel room. Always a bridesmaid never a bride? Not quite, despite being happy with her current beau, British musician and model James Rousseau. “It’s funny, someone asked me in an interview, about getting married and I said, ‘Do you see the horizon over there? It’s past that, like around the world. I’m quite happy just being 25 and enjoying life.” That includes dating yet another Brit following her much publicised romance with Orlando Bloom. “Don’t worry, I haven’t swayed from the Brits,” says Bosworth, laughingly, who recalls being embarrassed at the ridiculous amount of publicity garnered at this Sydney wedding. “I swear to God. I felt slightly embarrassed just because it was HER day, but I said to her earlier ‘Look, at least it’s going to be well documented. At least you’ll be able to pull out good pictures and it’ll be the most publicized wedding in Sydney for the year,” she says, laughingly.
Kate Bosworth has always managed to laugh at herself even when the press labels her as a ‘fashion icon’ rather than referring to her as an actress. In the years I’ve known Kate, this together, mature and smart young woman has tried not to accept Hollywood’s generic labels, from once being defined as the new ‘It’ girl after the release of her breakout film Blue Crush, to this latest fashion icon description, which she refuses to take seriously. “I find it so ridiculous. I swear to God everyone on this junket kept throwing around the world “icon” which you cannot throw around. Honestly, at the end of the day, I feel like I’m an actor and that’s my job, which I love. I enjoy fashion because I like dressing up in costumes for work. I think you get to portray a certain expression of how you’re feeling for the day or your mood and you know, it may sound superficial, but that’s why I enjoy it. It’s fun getting dressed up sometimes and then it’s fun going a little bit more moody or however it might be. But I usually opt for comfort and right now I’m in a sort of pretty simple get up.”
As an actor, Bosworth has made a conscious effort to mix it up, venturing from risk-taking Indie projects as last year’s The Girl in the Park, in which she plays an unsympathetically manipulative character opposite Sigourney Weaver, to the more flashy, but entertaining studio film 21. Here she plays one of Kevin Spacey’s card-counting team members out to buck an unbeatable system on the Vegas Blackjack circuit. “I just loved the concept,” Bosworth explained in discussing her rationale for picking this ensemble drama. “I thought it was just a fantastic concept, and the fact that it was a true story was incredibly intriguing to me. These five kids were students just living a monotonous day-to-day life and were able to use their mathematical abilities take on the major corporations. It’s kind of a classic David versus Goliath, underdog story. So I thought that would be quite fun, just to be a part of it. I remember Kevin [Spacey] explaining why he chose to option the book in the first place. He said, ‘Look, we all love intense, dark, seedy material, but at the end of the day, we often in this business have fun, make movies and just enjoy it.’ I think that’s kind of how I felt with this. I also loved teaming up with Kevin again who called me and asked ‘Come play with me in Vegas,’ so he’s quite difficult to say no to. I also think Laurence Fishburne is a tremendous actor who does a great job in the film and I got to meet all these wonderful, upcoming talents. All five of us became incredibly close and speak regularly, so that does not happen all the time.”
The movie is loosely based on real events, and she says her character, Jill Taylor, “was very loosely based on one of the team members, whom I met her in Boston.” One would imagine that a considerable amount of research would go into something like playing someone who mathematically counts cards in order to win Blackjack. Bosworth laughs slightly. “Well, quite honestly, the extent of the research of the film was we all landed in Vegas and the five of us were put into sort of a blackjack boot camp,” Bosworth recalls. “And we just sat there and learned basic strategy with some of the best players in a little room in one of the hotels, which was fun.”
As Bosworth’s career goes from strength to strength, she is able to take on parts that reflect her innate desire to prove herself and her critics how serious she is as an actress. She got rave reviews for Girl in the Park, a film she hopes will see the light of day. “I think they’re figuring it out exactly and all the political logistics that I’m not so involved with, but I think it will.” She was gratified to have been given the chance to co-star in the film, the directorial debut of playwright David Auburn. “It was an extraordinary gift. I mean I have never read a dialogue as strong or as real as the script for Girl in the Park. I didn’t even know, to be quite honest, that David Auburn was a Pulitzer Prize winner, who had written that script when I first read it. I try to read scripts without really knowing much about it so that I can be unbiased in a way and I read that and I thought ‘Wow, I’ll do anything to do this. I will do anything to do this’. It’s a little scary because she’s such a wonderfully complicated character but I remember sitting down with David and saying ‘Please let me play this character and it was a year later that they offered it to me. They had to get the finance together and all that but I very badly wanted to do this.” Bosworth admits the character was very close to her in some ways, such as “her childlike qualities. If you were to speak to my friends or my family they would see a lot of myself in that character and I was very set on having Louise be a beacon of light, although she is flawed. I wanted her to be that sweeping crashing light that breaks into Sigourney’s life, chips away and does anything she can to get inside of her, into her heart.”
At the same time, Bosworth is not adverse to doing commercial fare, such as Superman Returns or its much discussed sequel, which looks happening and Bosworth will be back as Lois Lane if it all happens. “I mean we really don’t know. Kevin and I both contracted to do another film. We heard from a journalist the other day that Brian Singer was had made a deal or is making a deal. I wish I could tell you more, but I don’t. I’d love to do it. I enjoyed it so much, and I’d love to do another one.” This despite gripes from fanboys that she was miscast in the role. “To be quite honest, I’m not really aware of that, so thanks a lot,” she responds laughingly. “I feel fortunate to be cast, but you can’t please everyone. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in this industry is that if you sit there and try desperately to please everything you’re just going to run in circles and drive yourself mad. So I feel really fortunate to be cast by Bryan Singer and I’ll tell you, not someone who is easily influenced. He’s very meticulous, so if some of the bloggers don’t think I was right for the choice but he did, then I’m fine with that. Look, you’re going to get that with a film that’s so iconic and everyone’s going to have a really strong opinion about everything, so I understand it.”
To prove her consistent diversity, she spent several months in New Zealand shooting Laundry Warrior, directed by Sngmoo Lee. “It’s fantasy, martial arts combined with the old west,” and the actress does get to kick ass in this movie. “Yeah, I get to swordfight, knife throw, I’ve got wild red hair wear chaps and I mean it’s totally outrageous.” She enjoyed working in New Zealand but with reservations. “It was a tough film. I mean I enjoyed it, but it was challenging, because the character is so kooky, and playing fantasy, is something I’ve never done before. I feel like I’m constantly jumping into the shoes of the unknown with every project, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I was consistently playing the same thing, I’d be bored as hell. But Geoffrey Rush is in it and it was a blast. It was really good. If I were to pitch it very simply and I hope it lives up to this pitch, it’s a bit of Ang Lee, a bit of Coen Brothers, and a bit of Tim Burton all thrown into one. It really does sort of create its own genre.”
It also is what makes this luminous actress different from what one expects, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love delving into a darker world, exploring the different layers of myself and subsequently putting them into a character. At that moment, we’re also in an industry where the great parts for females are few and far between. There are a lot of good actors out there, so I’ve consequently sought to find things for myself to produce. I’ve optioned a book called Lost Girl Who Loves Hotels which has a really strong female character.” The film will be adapted and directed by Nadia Conners, who directed the documentary The Eleventh Hour.
One would assume that the busy actress was ready to take a break and maybe join her boyfriend in Australia. But no such luck. “I’ve got press, man. I’m here in Vegas, I go back to L.A. because unfortunately, I just had a death in the family, and so I’m going to spend some time with them. And then I’m going to New York then fly to London, to do press. So, I’m going to be a busy bee promoting this. Meanwhile, in between, while I’m in L.A. I’m going to be working on Lost Girl with Nadia.” Yet still has time to enjoy her private life. “I took a road trip in New Zealand. James and I drove from Auckland to Queenstown and just turned our phones off for ten days, horseback rode on the beach, up in the hills, took a helicopter ride up to a glacier, went hiking, and sky dove over Queenstown at 15,000 feet. And that was kind of great because it was just letting go of everything for a while.”
Paul Fischer is originally from Australia. Now he is an interviewer and film critic living in Hollywood.
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