In her latest appearance on The Graham Norton Show, the actress recalled being body-shamed by the Transformers director during the filming of 2001’s Pearl Harbor. Though Beckinsale, who played a nurse caught in a love triangle during World War II, was beautiful enough to capture the attention of both Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett‘s characters, Bay apparently didn’t think she was attractive at all.
“I don’t think I fit the type of actress Michael Bay had met before,” she said. “I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren’t bigger than my head and I wasn’t blonde.”
Beckinsale added that Bay was not shy about voicing his opinions about her looks. The 42-year-old remembered that the filmmaker had openly told reporters that he thought she “wasn’t so attractive” during the press tour.
“When we were promoting the film, Michael was asked why he had chosen Ben [Affleck] and Josh [Hartnett], and he said, ‘I have worked with Ben before and I love him, and Josh is so manly and a wonderful actor,'” Beckinsale said. “Then when he was asked about me, he’d say, ‘Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience.'”
She continued, “He kept saying it everywhere we went, and we went to a lot of places.”
In a 2001 interview with Movieline, Bay indeed did comment about how Beckinsale is supposedly “not pretty” enough.
“I didn’t want someone who was too beautiful. Women feel disturbed when they see someone’s too pretty,” Bay explained at the time. “I’m not saying Kate’s not pretty. . .[she] is very funny, could hang with the guys. She’s not so neurotic about everything, like some actresses.”
Bay, perhaps feeling like he hasn’t done enough damage enough already, went on to say that fellow British actress Kate Winslet isn’t attractive enough as well.
“When you look at Titanic, Kate Winslet is pretty, but not overwhelmingly beautiful,” Bay said. “That makes it work better for women.”
Who knew Michael Bay was such an expert in women, right?