While visiting The Graham Norton Show, Kate Beckinsale reflected on her experiences working with friend and director Michael Bay on 2001’s Pearl Harbor, commenting that Bay had assigned a trainer to the actress. Kate, who had just given birth to a daughter, Lily, now 17 years old, says she had conflicted feelings about having to be toned and physically fit for the role of a World War II era nurse. Beckinsale’s comments weren’t meant to direct harsh criticism at Bay, but, following the interview, Michael found himself receiving a public backlash for body shaming the Pearl Harbor actress. Now, Michael responds to Kate Beckinsale’s comments and to the ensuing public outrage.
Pearl Harbor Director Michael Bay Issues A Statement On His Opinion Of Kate Beckinsale
Following the backlash he received over Kate Beckinsale’s comments on Graham Norton’s talk show, director Michael Bay released a statement to clarify his thoughts about Kate in 2001, when they first met on the set of Pearl Harbor, and his thoughts about her today, after having known her for 15 years. The Pearl Harbor director suggests that Beckinsale’s remarks were misconstrued and ended up created drama between the actress and himself, where no conflict has ever truly existed.
“Kate and I are friendly. She is a fantastic actress, very funny, witty lady, sassy, speaks her mind, and I truly respect her. That’s why she has come to so many of my Christmas parties and Birthday parties. This so called ‘problem of us not liking each other’ was reported by a tabloid-esque reporter after Kate appeared on an edgy English talk show, speaking about our meeting 16 years ago while casting Pearl Harbor,” explains Bay in his statement. “The reporter made her story into some scandalous confrontation, when it was nothing of the sort. Spoke to Kate today and she felt she told a funny story.”
Michael went on to explain that the unnamed reporter also made a point to comment on Bay’s requirement that Beckinsale work with a fitness trainer for her Pearl Harbor role. Mr. Bay points out that many actors and actresses are expected to prepare for strenuous roles, such as the one undertaken by Beckinsale for Pearl Harbor, by working with nutritionists and fitness professionals. Kate had just given birth to her daughter, says Bay, and he felt the Pearl Harbor actress needed to tone up for the role, but he says that was never intended as a reflection of his opinion of her beauty.
Kate Beckinsale Says She “Baffled” Michael Bay
Ms. Beckinsale unwittingly instigated the criticism of Michael Bay over her comments to Graham Norton, suggesting that the director was unused to working with women who weren’t busty and blonde.
“I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren’t bigger than my head and I wasn’t blond,” said Kate.
Beckinsale went on to comment that she was told at the casting call that she would be required to work out and get in better physical condition if she was to be cast in the Pearl Harbor role. The actress says she felt that a World War II era nurse wouldn’t be the type to get into a fitness craze.
Kate also felt that Michael Bay might have worded his description of her differently, when talking to the press about casting her in Pearl Harbor.
“When we were promoting the film, Michael was asked why he had chosen Ben and Josh, and he said, ‘I have worked with Ben before and I love him, and Josh is so manly and a wonderful actor,'” Beckinsale recalled. “Then when he was asked about me, he’d say, ‘Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience.'”
Ms. Beckinsale reveals that the way in which Bay describes his reasoning for casting her in Pearl Harbor was unflattering and she seems to feel that it was a humiliating experience, even though the director certainly never intended to hurt her feelings.
“He kept saying it everywhere we went, and we went to a lot of places.”
[Image credits: Kate Beckinsale by David Becker/Getty Images, Michael Bay by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]