'They were baffled because my boobs were not bigger than my head': Kate Beckinsale details her shock at being told to 'work out' ahead of breakout role in Pearl Harbour

Kate Beckinsale was told to 'work out' if she wanted to win a role in 2001 Hollywood action movie, Pearl Harbour.

The talented actress, 42, detailed her shock at being told by the movie's director, Michael Bay, that she may need to shed the pounds if she wanted to bag her breakout role as Lieutenant Evelyn Johnson.

Appearing on Friday night's The Graham Norton show to promote her new film Love And Friendship, Kate explained: 'I don’t think I fitted the type of actress Michael Bay, the director, had met before.

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Shocking: Kate Beckinsale was told to 'work out' if she wanted to win a role in 2001 Hollywood action movie, Pearl Harbour 

Shocking: Kate Beckinsale was told to 'work out' if she wanted to win a role in 2001 Hollywood action movie, Pearl Harbour 

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'I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren’t bigger than my head and I wasn’t blonde. 

'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 and I just didn’t understand why a 1940s nurse would do that.

'And then, when we were promoting the film, Michael was asked why he had chosen Ben (Affleck) and Josh (Hartnett) he said, "I have worked with Ben before and I love him and Josh is so manly and a wonderful actor". 

'And then when he was asked about me, he’d say, "Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience".

'He kept saying it everywhere we went and we went to a lot of places.'

Truly beautiful: The talented actress, 42, detailed her shock at being told by the movie's director, Michael Bay, that she may need to shed the pounds if she wanted to bag her breakout role as Lieutenant Evelyn Johnson

Truly beautiful: The talented actress, 42, detailed her shock at being told by the movie's director, Michael Bay, that she may need to shed the pounds if she wanted to bag her breakout role as Lieutenant Evelyn Johnson

Stunning: The 42 year-old - who's currently promoting new movie Love and Friendship - made the revelation during The Graham Norton Show, which was filmed in central London on Thursday

Stunning: The 42 year-old - who's currently promoting new movie Love and Friendship - made the revelation during The Graham Norton Show, which was filmed in central London on Thursday

The film, which documented the Japanese Navy's military strike against the US in 1941, was Kate's first major role and saw her play Nurse Lt. Evelyn Johnson.

It was only her second part in a major Hollywood film - after 1999's Brokedown Palace, which saw her and Claire Danes co-star as teenagers jailed in Thailand on drug-smuggling charges.

Since then she has appeared in more than twenty projects, including Underworld, Laurel Canyon and Everybody's Fine. 

Talking about her childhood and the amount of drive she had, she says: 'I was going through an ugly stage around seven or eight and my best friend, who was totally beautiful, came into school one day and announced she was going to be in an advert. I thought the world had ended. 

'I went home and wrote a letter saying how keen I was to be in an ad, and it had to be really soon! But I sent it to the BBC and I didn’t know they didn’t do ads!'. 

Action shot: Kate pictured in character during the 2001 film - looking virtually flawless and certainly in shape

Action shot: Kate pictured in character during the 2001 film - looking virtually flawless and certainly in shape

Line-up: Matt LeBlanc, Emilia Clarke, Graham Norton, Kate Beckinsale, Dominic Cooper and Corinne Bailey Rae during the filming of the Graham Norton Show

Line-up: Matt LeBlanc, Emilia Clarke, Graham Norton, Kate Beckinsale, Dominic Cooper and Corinne Bailey Rae during the filming of the Graham Norton Show

Big break: It was only her second part in a major Hollywood film - after 1999's Brokedown Palace, which saw her and Claire Danes co-star as teenagers jailed in Thailand on drug-smuggling charges

Big break: It was only her second part in a major Hollywood film - after 1999's Brokedown Palace, which saw her and Claire Danes co-star as teenagers jailed in Thailand on drug-smuggling charges

Promoting her new movie, Love and Friendship, she also detailed a party booking that backfired.

'You used to get this free magazine with lots of ads for kissograms and I thought it would be hilarious to book a stripper – but when the stripping vicar ‘Reverent Balls’ turned up he looked like the worse serial killer – we really hadn’t thought it through. 

'There were just four of us posh 14 year-old schools girls and this man. He asked if we wanted a full strip and we all shouted ‘No!’ He flung off his pants and shouted ‘meet my friend from the mission’ and it was all tucked into a cheap red elephant thing. 

'We were completely traumatised and crying. It was very bleak. I didn’t tell my mum for at least 10 years!'.  

Making friends! A sharp-suited Matt LeBlanc looked handsome and hunky during his appearance

Making friends! A sharp-suited Matt LeBlanc looked handsome and hunky during his appearance

Ta-dah! Matt made his first appearance on a chat show since becoming the new face of Top Gear

Ta-dah! Matt made his first appearance on a chat show since becoming the new face of Top Gear

Other guests on the show included Dominic Cooper, Matt LeBlanc, Emilia Clarke and Corrine Bailey-Rae.

Dominic, talking about his film Warcraft The Beginning and asked what it is like to be part of such a massive franchise, he says: 'I had no idea about the game when I read the script and when I went to Comic Con it was interesting to meet the fans and see the scale of it. 

'People are really into it and have very strong opinions on characters. It was intimidating because they knew far more about the character than I did. I was petrified to say the least!'. 

Handsome man: Dominic Cooper and his fellow guests were certainly colour co-ordinated 

Handsome man: Dominic Cooper and his fellow guests were certainly colour co-ordinated 

Meanwhile, Matt - making his first appearance on a chat show since becoming the new face of Top Gear - talked about car fixing, the show’s international success and his obsessive love of cars.

Asked if hosting it is his dream job, he says: 'It has been fun – the show is a lot bigger than I thought it was. It's an international juggernaut of a show – it’s massive. It premieres this Sunday and by Wednesday it will be in 83 countries on six continents. It’s just huge.'

Asked how the job became his, he says: 'I did it the first time to promote Episodes and went around the track which went pretty good (Matt is reminded he was the fastest ever), and I went back again in a new car to see if I could beat my old record. 

'Then they had a clip show – Top Gear The Racers, which I introduced. Chris (Evans) was on board already and I was asked if I'd like to be part of it. It sounded cool and I wasn't doing anything else! It’s a lot of fun.' 

The Graham Norton Show, BBC One 27th May 10.35pm

Special guest: Emilia Clarke during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at the London Studios in London

Special guest: Emilia Clarke during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at the London Studios in London

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