Kate Beckinsale Addresses Michael Bay Body-Shaming Controversy: ‘It Surprised the S–t Out of Me’

Letting bygones be bygones? Kate Beckinsale doesn’t have any beef with director Michael Bay, even though he once told her she should hire a personal trainer. As previously reported, Beckinsale said during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show this past May that prior to filming Pearl Harbor in 2001, Bay told her to work out.

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“It was such an old story that I’d been asked about a million times,” Beckinsale told Yahoo Movies during a new interview published on Monday, October 10. “It surprised the s–t out of me, and him really. Pearl Harbor was a long time ago. It’s true there was a bit of that going on, but the shaming of people is something I’m against in general. I’ve seen him since, and we’ve gotten over it. I didn’t feel it was personal, and I wish him nothing but the best.”

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Kate Beckinsale Michael Bay
Kate Beckinsale and Michael Bay Michael Boardman/WireImage.com; Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage.com

The director, who has had beef with Transformers star Megan Fox, was reportedly hesitant to cast Beckinsale in the World War II drama because of her appearance. 

Kate Beckinsale Pearl Harbor
Kate Beckinsale in ‘Pearl Harbor.’ Touchstone Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Because I wasn’t blonde and my boobs weren’t bigger than my head, I didn’t make sense to him as an attractive woman,” the Love & Friendship actress, 43, said on Graham Norton. “So there was a lot of panic and concern about, ‘How on Earth are we going to make her attractive?’ You think you’d take that really personally, but I sort of managed not to. It was so extreme I kind of didn’t.”

“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,” she added, referring to the birth of her daughter, Lily Mo, in 1999. “And I just didn’t understand why a 1940s nurse would do that.”

After the body-shaming story made headlines, Bay issued a statement in June clarifying his remarks.

“Yesterday I read in the press that I don’t think Kate Beckinsale is ‘a stunning beauty,’ huh?” he wrote on Facebook. “And they went on to suggest that Kate and I don’t like each other? Well, totally untrue. Kate and I are friendly. She is a fantastic actress, very funny, witty lady, sassy, speaks her mind, and I truly respect her … So I guess I was the ‘bad guy’ 16 years ago for suggesting a trainer because she just had her new beautiful baby girl — and she was about to enter into an intensive action movie. Note to reporters: 95 percent of leads in movies have trainers and drink green juice!”

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