Kate Bosworth Talks About "Beyond the Sea" and Playing Sandra Dee

Kate Bosworth Beyond the SEa
Kate Bosworth as Sandra Dee in "Beyond the Sea". © Lions Gate Films

Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey poured his heart and soul into bringing the life of Bobby Darin to the big screen in "Beyond the Sea."

"Beyond the Sea" briefly shows Darin's childhood and then focuses on his life as an actor and singer. It also delves into the relationship between Darin and his wife, the ever-so-innocent Sandra Dee. Kate Bosworth ("Blue Crush") takes on the role of Sandra Dee, bringing to it that spirit of innocence and purity audiences always loved about the talented actress.

"Sandra Dee was the biggest box office star in the United States for about seven years running. She and Bobby were the most talked about couple in Hollywood. They were the Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston of their day, I guess," says Spacey. "Kate Bosworth is beautiful, funny, surprising, and completely right as the idea of an icon, an American sweetheart."


Did you know anything about Sandra Dee or Bobby Darin before making this movie?
I didn’t know anything about either of them. I knew the names, especially Sandra Dee from the spoof in “Grease.” That was pretty much it. And I’m sure a lot of my generation, that’s all they’ll know as well.

Did you look at her old films to get an idea of her?
I did. When I got the role, I rented a few of her films – “A Summer Place” - and I started watching them and got really nervous because I wanted to imitate or mimic [her], and I got really caught up in it.

I went to Kevin [Spacey] and said, “I don’t know. I’m trying to move like her exactly and I think I need a movement coach and a speech coach. I need a lot of coaches for this part. I’m not sure.” And he was like, “Oh, no, no, no. We’re not doing an imitation. That would be really boring. Take it with a grain of salt.

We’re creating characters from our own hearts as well.” So I starting watching films and started to read a lot. I read “Dream Lover” which Dodd Darin wrote, which was the most helpful.

Did you get a chance to meet Sandra Dee?
No. She just saw the movie last night, which is really exciting, and she loved it. That’s good. She’s a really private person. She’s seeing things in her own time. It must be really weird to have a movie made about you. I can’t even imagine.

Now that you got a little snippet of what it was like in the 1960s, would you have liked to have lived back then?
It was different. It was an exciting time. For me, it was stepping back but it wasn’t so far back. It wasn’t like playing somebody from the 1800s where it’s like really trying to imagine what it was like. It was just a bit further back for me. It was interesting, a real time of change.

What was it like working with a director who is also your co-star? He probably even catered this production.
I know. I feel like his name should be in every slot in the credits. It was incredible. I never felt jarred. I never felt like I was sitting there acting with him and feeling like, “Is he directing me? Is he thinking of something else?”

He was so 100 % focused and devoted to whatever he was doing in that moment. Then as soon as he’d say ‘cut’, he’d go straight into director mode and go right behind the cameras and watch playback and got right into director mode. He did it incredibly.

The text at the end of the movie says she loves him to this day. What do you think kept Sandra Dee so in love when we see how hard it was for her in this movie?
It think it’s just love. They’re in love. To me, love and war can be hand in hand sometimes, especially in their relationship. When they first got married, I don’t think they really knew each other. In fact she said that. She didn’t really know him and he didn’t really know her. They just met on this movie and were infatuated and then got married. She was in the situation where she hadn’t really thought it out.

All of a sudden she was in this house that was Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Darin’s house and she freaks. And then they got to know each other during the marriage.

I think it boiled down to the fact that they wanted two totally different things. Her wanting a family. She liked making movies, but didn’t really love it. She really just wanted a family, a house, child and a normal life and she never really had that so she wanted that. And Bobby wanted to do everything he possibly could in the shortest amount of time because he never really know how long it would last. So, these people really loved each other but were on two different journeys. It was difficult for them to match up a lot of the time. I think it was really about that. I don’t think they ever looked at each other and said, “I don’t love you anymore.” It was never about that. I was always about, “You want this and I want this,” and I think that was what was hard about it.

PAGE 2: Kate Bosworth on Stage Moms, Bobby Darin, and College

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What’s your opinion of Bobby Darin now? Do you think you would have been a fan of his?
Yeah. For me, all the people I listen to that I love, it’s really just about a passion and heart and soul. I think some people stand the test of time and he does. He’s like Sinatra that way. There’s just a classic sense about him and a love for what he does. You can just tell through his music, or seeing him, you know he lives for it.

Sandra had the epitome of a stage mom. Is your own mom the antithesis of that?
Yeah. She’s incredible. She’s amazing. She’s incredibly supportive but not overbearing. She really is the antithesis of a stage mom. I remember when I first got “The Horse Whisperer” and that’s something that was completely unplanned. I was crying because I didn’t want to leave school and my friends. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me and I was going to go off for three months and didn’t know what I was doing. I was freaking out. She just said, “You have to do this. This is going to be an incredible experience. Even if it’s one time and you only do this one movie and never do it again, it doesn’t matter. You’ll have this moment and you can go ‘I did that once and it was amazing’.” She was really incredibly supportive. I was thirteen so I was like [in a crying voice], “Okay, I guess. I don’t know.” Of course I loved it and, thankfully to her, I’m still doing it.

Did you get a chance to talk to Dodd Darin at all about his mom and what she was like?
I only met Dodd at the premiere. Kevin spoke to him quite a bit. But, it was amazing because they really just handed this over to [Kevin] and trusted him completely. You would expect them to be calling and going, “What’s going on?” But they really let it go, which was amazing.

When I met him, out of all the people I’d met along the way, it was really Dodd that I was most nervous to meet because he’s probably the biggest critic of it. I kind of crept up to him and said [meekly], “Did I do okay?” He was like, “Yeah, you did great.” So that was an amazing validation for me.

Did the scene with the sword laying in bed between Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin really happen?
Yeah, that really did happen. I’m sure [it’s] not exactly the speech, but that’s sort of how they were. It’s funny, I guess a lot of us can recall moments like this but when there’s so much emotion or anger or sadness, it’s almost funny. The Academy Awards scene. I remember Kevin and I doing it and really battling it out and we weren’t being funny. We were really going at it like a married couple may. And then we were watching and going, “This is hilarious.” This is what it must look like when you are really battling it out with somebody you love and all of a sudden you’re watching it on video tape and going, “We look like two ridiculous people.”

What was your favorite Sandra Dee outfit?
The Academy Awards dress was pretty beautiful. That was from real wardrobe archives, so that was like 1959, I think.

That was pretty incredible. And I loved the “Beyond the Sea” ones as well when she was younger, like the poofy purple and white checked one that was really pretty. That was really fun as well.

Do you have plans to go back and finish college?
As of now, I’m not going to go anytime soon. It’s interesting because in high school, I really devoted my time to school. When I got “The Horse Whisperer,” I was 13, just going into high school, and I put it all on hold which is, thinking back, pretty bold considering your moment could come and go like that. I was like, “I’ll just put that on hold for a minute, then I can come back to that after,” just expecting it to be there. Someone must be watching over me and was - but I really focused on school, really worked hard in school and did well.

After I graduated, Princeton sent me a letter saying, “We recommend you defer and go explore that part of your life in terms of acting.” So I did and I haven’t really felt comfortable yet to want to go back to school.

It’s something I want to do in the future because I love it. I really do, but I’m just not quite ready yet to focus on that again.

Do you miss the social part of it? The parties?
Like the beer-drinking keg parties? No. I was never really like that. Even in high school, I was never the Homecoming Queen or the Prom Queen. I was never on the court even. I wasn’t even a princess (laughing). I was really just kind of friends with everybody. It was never really my thing. I was more serious, I guess. I have a good social life now so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much.

PAGE 3: Kate Bosworth on Choosing Roles, Buffing Up for "Blue Crush," and Acting

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You were pretty buff after “Blue Crush.” How long were you able to keep that up?
(Laughing) I was off of that the minute I was off the movie. I was done. Literally, that was the most intense physical experience I have ever gone through, not exaggerating. It was seven hours a day of sheer work out. [It] took four hours of surfing and an hour of weight training and an hour of either running the beach or running under the water with a rock as in the movie.

I remember at first being really gung ho. “Yes! I’m going to do this. I want a surfer’s body. I want to be able to be exactly like a female surfer. I’m not gonna be this little actress trying to be a surfer. I gonna be a surfer.” Then like in the middle, my body was changing as well so it was really interesting, even the way I walked. It’s almost like assuming a character in a way. I was much more muscular. Then by the end I was like, “Okay, ready to stop this now. It’s been enough.” It was really hard. Also because I was going on to “Wonderland” after that, and I was playing a drug addict, so I kind of had to lose that healthy glow, so to speak.

Sandra Dee is like the ultimate goodie two shoes, really. What type of character do you like to do? Do you prefer the darker characters that have an edge to them or does it just depend on the script?
It starts with the script for me. It’s interesting because when I first finish a film, I don’t think about what I want to do next.

I never finish a film and go, “Oh, I’d really like to do a horror movie next.” I don’t think like that. It’s about reading a lot, about scripts coming in and reading and going, “I know that’s not the one. Next. No, that’s not the one. Next.” Then there’s always just one where I go, “Oh, that’s the one I want next.”

It often comes to me at a point in my life where I need it. Like “Blue Crush,” I had just moved out of my parents’ house and I was on my own and I was really scared. I was in L.A. by myself at 18. I really needed that female empowerment and I got that through “Blue Crush.” After that, I really wanted to explore a darker area and “Wonderland” came along. It’s really about what I want to explore at that time in my life that I’m attracted to.

What do you want to explore right now?
Well, next I’m doing this movie called “Awake” with Jared Leto and Helen Mirren, and it’s a psychological thriller.

In the ‘60s, a lot of studios were setting up publicity dates. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever been asked to pretend you are with somebody for a movie premiere or other outing?
Yeah, Val Kilmer [laughter]. No, no, no. They’ve never done that.

If your younger self came to visit you now, what do you think would surprise her?
I think it would be a shock to just be doing what I’m doing. When I was younger, I wasn’t sitting there wanting to be an actress. I didn’t really know. I wanted to be like a waitress on roller skates, I think, when I was young. I wanted to be the girl that came up to the cars and gave them food.

It would be a bit shocking to see where I am now and what I’m doing.