Serendipity came at the perfect time in Kate Beckinsale’s career. It was right after her biggest role to date in Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. Prior to that, she had been a successful working actor in England, but the year 2001 changed all that. Pearl Harbor made her a bona fide star in America. While 2003’s Underworld cemented her as an A-lister, Serendipity was the hit that directly followed her breakout role. And it showed her in a completely new light.
But while the romance was beloved by millions, Kate had some major issues with it when she first read the script…
6 How Kate Beckinsale Was Cast In Serendipity
Right before Serendipity, Kate Beckinsale signed on to star in Michael bay’s Pearl Harbor. According to various reports, this wasn’t exactly the experience Kate signed on for. Not only was she asked to lose a ton of weight to play a wartime nurse, but she quickly found out that this wasn’t the traditional period piece she was used to in England. But the success of Pearl Harbor was what opened the door to Serendipity.
“I thought I was making a period piece about Pearl Harbor. It was a massive shock because it was very much not that. And then the two movies overlapped. And I still to this day don’t know how I functioned, because I had a 1-year-old who still hadn’t slept through the night once, Pearl Harbor was a six-month intense sort of boot-camp situation, and the last month I was flying back and forth between New York and L.A. doing both at the same time with this baby, as a single mom. I hadn’t seen her dad in about eight months. He was off doing other things,” Kate explained during an interview with Vulture.
5 How John Cusack Helped Kate Beckinsale Get Cast In Serendipity
Aside from her star-making performance in Pearl Harbor, Kate left an impression on John Cusack. While he initially tried to get her onto another movie he starred in, he worked extra hard to cast her in Serendipity as his leading woman.
“I actually met John [in a meeting for] High Fidelity. I was enormously pregnant. And more enormously pregnant than most. I got a call and they said, ‘John really wants you to be in this movie,’ and I said, ‘There is a problem. I am the size of a f***ing beluga whale.’ And they were like, ‘It’s fine! Lots of people work when they’re pregnant.’ And I was like, ‘I guarantee you, you’re not going to want me in the movie. I can barely fit through a door or sit in a normal seat.’ So I went, and of course, that was the case. I think they thought I’d be sort of neatly pregnant, where I could stand behind a lamp, but I was Jabba the Hutt. They were kind about it, but I think he was keen to work together, and that was nice, and this was the next film that came out as soon as the baby was out of me.”
4 Kate Beckinsale Initially Hated Her Serendipity Character
There are many details from Kate Beckinsale films that fans may have missed, including the fact that the original Sarah Thomas was nothing like the character we got in the 2001 film. And that’s because Kate did what she could to change her.
“As is often the case, there was a sort of central problem with the female character not necessarily being totally believable,” Kate said to Vulture. “So we had a lot of meetings about it. I didn’t want this character to be this kind of wispy fool, even though she was so interested in fate. You can be like that without being this sort of ghastly supernatural person.”
3 How Sarah Thomas Changed Thanks To Kate Beckinsale
The main issue Kate Beckinsale had with the character of Sarah Thomas was that she was a therapist.
“You don’t want her to be a bad, embarrassing therapist, but she’s also obsessed with the notion of serendipity and fate. So trying to marry those two things without making her a character who seems completely implausible. You can be a kind of whimsical, positive, open person who’s also intelligent. There was a possibility of her being really irritating and kind of going on about fate. There was a fine line for me,” Kate explained. “There were some lines that were very wafty. And I thought, ‘You can’t ask people to believe this is a functioning therapist in San Francisco saying any of this.’ And those things were cut. And the director [Peter Chelsom] and everyone was pretty deferential about being like, “We are men. So do guide us on this. If you’re going to say it’s not feasible for an intelligent woman to say something like this, we’ll defer to you.”
2 Is Kate Beckinsale Secretly A Lot Like Her Character
Given the entire conceit of the film and the perspective that the character of Sarah Thomas has, it’s only natural for fans to wonder if Kate feels the same way. So, does Kate believe in destiny and fate?
“Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t,” Kate said when she was asked the question in her interview with Vulture. “There have been periods of my life where there have been so many interesting coincidences about a particular person, where it feels like they were meant to be in my life in some way. Paying attention to some of those coincidences is kind of fun, and feels like magic. But at the same time, I do think people make their decisions. I don’t think it’s all predestined. We get in there and we can f*** things up.”
1 Kate Beckinsale On The Impact Of Serendipity
“I’ve done so many of what I’d broadly and badly call ‘boys’ movies,’ action movies and such — but if a man comes up to me and says I love a movie, it’s always Serendipity,” Kate said when asked about the impact the film has had on her fanbase. “Every single time. I find that really cool. When you’re making something that’s a whimsical rom-com, you think it’ll skew more toward female audiences. And it absolutely doesn’t. And I think that’s partly because John is such a great romantic lead — he’s not cheesy, he’s a real dude, he’s interesting and cool. But I know when a man comes up to me they’re going to talk about Serendipity. They always do. From a very young age, I was really obsessed with Grease, like everybody was. I learned all the dances, and I can still do them. And one night, I was at a hotel, washing my hands in the bathroom, and this very nice woman came out of the stalls and said, ‘Oh, are you Kate?’ And she said, ‘I’m Jeff ConawayKenickie!’s girlfriend.’ He’d passed away. And she said, ‘I want to let you know Serendipity is his absolute favorite movie. We watch it on Christmas every year.’ My 7-year-old self fell apart. I think it’s the best thing anyone has ever said to me. And again — very serendipitous. Very on-brand.”
Next: Fans Are Shocked By Kate Beckinsale’s Experiences With Harvey Weinstein