Kate Beckinsale on ‘The Widow,’ playing a vampire and her backup career

“The Widow” star Kate Beckinsale, who is English, says that before “Underworld,” the perception of her was “we can smell crumpets when she walks in the room.” Quickly after, she says, it became “she looks like she’d go at you with a baseball bat.”

Kate Beckinsale has starred in period dramas (“Much Ado About Nothing,” “Emma”), action films (the “Underworld” series, “Van Helsing”) and comedy (“Serendipity,” “The Last Days of Disco”). The British performer’s genre-jumping continues with her move into television drama via Amazon Prime’s eight-part miniseries “The Widow.”

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Beckinsale, who jokingly described her genre-jumping career as “schizophrenic” during a recent stop at the Los Angeles Times studio, plays the bereaved Georgia Wells in the streaming series. Georgia believes she lost her husband in a plane crash over the Democratic Republic of the Congo three years prior until she spots him in a news report about unrest in the troubled region. She sets out to find her husband, but what she finds on each step of the journey only deepens the mystery … and strengthens her resolve.

“The Widow” star Kate Beckinsale discusses the kinds of roles available to women in TV and movies, how the perception of the kinds of characters women can portray has changed, and the part “Underworld” played in that change.

“It’s quite a nice thing to start with somebody who’s at their most vulnerable who does end up finding reserves they may not know they have,” said Beckinsale of her character’s trajectory. She also discussed the challenges of starring in her first major television series, the sheer physicality of her role as vampire Selene in the “Underworld” franchise, and what she might have done if the acting thing didn’t work out. “I’d like to have been a doctor,” she said. “I’d still like to be a doctor; it’s just that I’m phobic of vomit.”

Click the video below to watch the full interview.

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