Kate Bosworth on swapping surf for spying
Sure, she’s blonde, beautiful and has skills on a surf board. But for Kate Bosworth, success hasn’t always come easy. Now starring in a huge BBC blockbuster, she tells Victoria Moss how she’s finally making the power roles her own
She’s on every best-dressed list and made her mark as a kick-ass surfer in the cult movie Blue
Crush. But Hollywood actress Kate Bosworth’s new role couldn’t be more different as she stars in the BBC’s blockbuster thriller SS-GB (see our interview on p20). Tonight’s Oscars are as much about the gorgeous dresses (I personally wish there were more disasters, I can’t help it!) as the awards. On p30 we chat to the stylists responsible for getting the A-listers red-carpet ready. And check out our spring shoe edit on p36, with a point, kitten, flat and heel to suit everyone. Have a great week! Marianne Jones
On paper, Kate Bosworth – beautiful, blonde, American, often on a best-dressed list – fits a certain Hollywood mould. And yet, like her striking eyes – one blue, one hazel – the 34-year-old isn’t that predictable a read. For a start, her cheesy romcom appearances have been fairly few and far between; and since her relationship with Orlando Bloom ended more than 10 years ago, you’d be hard-pushed to pin any gossip-column tattle on her. As it turns out, she’s been steadily working through a series of psychological thrillers of varying success, with the odd headliner in between – she took a small but powerful turn as Julianne Moore’s daughter in Still Alice (2014).
Kate’s latest move fits this pattern: starring in the BBC’s adaptation of Len Deighton’s 1978 thriller SS-GB, the second episode of which screens tonight. The story recasts the Second World War in a slightly chilling ‘alternative reality’, whereby in 1941 the Nazis are running an occupied London.
Filmed over four and half months in and around London, Kate explains that to be surrounded by Nazi insignia all day ‘was a devastating feeling. You held your breath, but it never got normal. Then it got more surreal as you’d have a soldier in SS uniform [on a break] playing on his phone – that was bizarre.’
The five-part series has heavyweight backing – written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the duo behind Bond films
Spectre, The World is Not Enough and Skyfall; the lead is taken by the excellent Sam Riley, whom Bosworth had wanted to work with since seeing him portray Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis in Anton Corbijn’s Control (2007). Kate plays the glamorous American journalist Barbara Barga, who is on assignment in London to cover the occupation. She slinks across the screen: a Veronica Lake vision with Katharine Hepburn quips.
After reading page one of the script, Kate was ‘hooked on this character. I didn’t really know her or what she truly felt until the end. The writers allow the audience to discover her. She’s a bit of a femme fatale.’
She and Sam have potent on-screen chemistry, and the plot is unpredictable. ‘Everyone in the country feels like they can’t trust anyone,’ says Kate. ‘Barbara herself is falling in love with a man who isn’t willing [to commit], so there’s that emotional conflict as well as dealing on a basic level with good versus evil.
‘That’s what’s interesting about this show: everyone has their conflict about what, how and when to do it. At what point do you stand up against the regime?’
The period definitely suits her – and her outfits in the show are used to illuminative effect. Her entrance in a striking pink coat is key; later on her turn around the dance floor in an incredible ice-blue gown gives her a definite – and intended – Hitchcockheroine edge. ‘I’m always very involved in the costumes on any project,’ Kate says. She worked closely with the costume designer to track down vintage pieces, which were either used or precisely recreated to ensure
Left With Sam Riley in new drama SS-GB