Michael Bay Cast Kate Beckinsale In ‘Pearl Harbor’ Because She Wasn’t ‘Attractive’

Michael Bay reportedly made sure to point out that he didn’t find Kate Beckinsale, who starred in his romantic war-epic Pearl Harbor, all that attractive. “I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren’t bigger than my head and I wasn’t blonde,” she recalls in a new interview on The Graham Norton Show.

The British actress starred in the 2001 blockbuster alongside Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett, and she says not only didn’t she fit Bay’s standard of beauty, but she was also advised to lose weight. “I don’t think I fit the type of actress Michael Bay had met before,” Beckinsale said. “I’d just had my daughter and had lost weight, but was told that if I got the part, I’d have to work out. And I just didn’t understand why a 1940s nurse would do that.”

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on the morning of December 7, 1941. The event led to the United States’ entry into World War II. Bay directed and produced a film inspired by the tragedy from a script penned by Randall Wallacon, and co-produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The Pearl Harbor cast also included Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, and Alec Baldwin. The film was a box office smash, earning $59 million on opening weekend and grossing nearly $450 million worldwide. Pearl Harbor was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning Best Sound Editing. Funnily enough, it was also nominated for six Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture.

“When we were promoting the film, Michael was asked why he had chosen Ben [Affleck] and Josh [Hartnett], and he said, ‘I have worked with Ben before and I love him, and Josh is so manly and a wonderful actor,'” Beckinsale said. “Then when he was asked about me, he’d say, ‘Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience.'”

Kate’s tale is not the first to be told about Bay’s rumored less than stellar attitude and narcissism. Many industry insiders and players who have worked alongside him on various projects have alleged that Michael does more barking and insulting than actual directing. Others have noted the racism in his films, such as the jive-talking “Black” autobot in Transformers.

The Wrap reported back in 2010 that actress Megan Fox quit Transformers 3 because Bay was “verbally abusive” toward her and “she had enough and decided to get out early,” an individual close to the actress told the entertainment site. Bay’s alleged history of abusing his leading ladies also includes Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen star Isabel Lucas, who chose not to participate in the publicity tour for the film because she didn’t get along with Michael.

Persistent whispers from female talent in Hollywood say Bay is “too powerful” and “not well-liked,” and how it’s no secret that he has a reputation for being “too controlling.” A source told The Wrap that Bay “wants his actresses to look a certain way, and if they can’t meet his absurd standards of beauty, he gets rid of them.”

Megan Fox called the director “a tyrant” during an interview with Wonderland Magazine in which she also compared him to Adolf Hitler and Napoleon. Interesting to note that her rising star power has plummeted since publicly blasting the director.

Shia, Fox, Bay

Bay’s comment about Kate was made during an interview with Movieline back in 2001 while promoting Pearl Harbor. After praising the film’s two male stars, he initiated misogynistic mode when asked about Kate, saying, “I didn’t want someone who was too beautiful. Women feel disturbed when they see someone’s too pretty. I’m not saying Kate’s not pretty. When you look at Titanic, Kate Winslet is pretty, but not overwhelmingly beautiful. That makes it work better for women. Our Kate is very funny, could hang with the guys. She’s not so neurotic about everything, like some actresses. She was solid and I think the three of them had some really nice chemistry.”

Michael Bay is currently prepping Bad Boys 4 and Transformers: The Last Knight. He also serves as a producer on Ouija 2, which is currently in post-production, and The Purge: Election Year, which opens in U.S. cinemas July 1, 2016.

[Photo by Andy Kropa/AP Images]