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Q&A: Kate Beckinsale

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In the political drama Nothing But the Truth, the British actress Kate Beckinsale, 35, tackles her toughest role yet as a newspaper reporter who reveals the identity of a CIA agent and spends almost a year in jail when she refuses to name her source.

How did this role affect how you feel about doing interviews?
I spent time at the Los Angeles Times watching women reporters on the phone, and it didn’t feel as personal when they were interviewing somebody else. There’s more of a noble reason to it. When somebody’s asking me how often I have sex with my husband, I don’t necessarily feel the world urgently needs to know that.

How strange was it to film at a functioning prison in Memphis?
It felt odd to be wearing the same uniform as the prisoners and yet I knew I was going to be able to go home. The level of panic about germs — I hadn’t anticipated that. The warden was terrified of me touching a wall or a chair. He’d rush at me with hand sanitizer. It made me think, ”My God, what do you know that I don’t?”

As a British citizen living in the U.S., were you a news junkie during the election? I really enjoyed the whole debate process. We don’t have that in England. And I was so shocked to see people admitting to being Republican on their front lawn!