I find it fascinating that the fortunes of Screen Gems over the last decade have been primarily decided by two married couples, each with a filmmaker husband and an action star wife.
What's funny is that Beckinsale seems unconvinced that she's an action star. When I sat down to talk to her, I mentioned that the last time we spoke was for "Snow Angels," and she thanked me for being one of the six people who saw the film. I really love her work in that film and in "Laurel Canyon," and I think when given the right material, she can be a very effective performer. But for most people, the most indelible image of her so far on film is wrapped in tight black latex for her role as the monster killing badass at the center of the "Underworld" movies.
We discussed the thought process that would lead her husband, Len Wiseman, to cast her as the thunderously awful Lori, Quaid's fake wife in the new "Total Recall," and it seems to entertain her that she was asked to play such unrepentant evil by Wiseman. It certainly must have made for some interesting days on set.
We talked about the unusual creative partnership the two of them have, and all kidding aside, I thought it was quite telling that Beckinsale seems to love that Wiseman sees things in her that she doesn't even see in herself. He's the one who initially envisioned her as an action lead, and together, I think they've managed to make her look iconic in her action work, even if she doesn't feel that way herself.
I think Beckinsale's got a lot to offer on film that we haven't seen so far, and while she and Wiseman have carved out a very profitable niche for themselves, I am curious to see if they ever mix it up and try something different in their creative partnership.
If not, at least they'll always have black latex.
"Total Recall" opens everywhere tomorrow.