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Kate Beckinsale trained for 'Van Helsing'

NEW YORK, May 15 (UPI) -- Kate Beckinsale told reporters in New York she prepared for the very physical role of a monster slayer in "Van Helsing," by doing "Underworld."

"I didn't have any training for this movie because I started it right after I finished (the modern vampire movie) 'Underworld,'" she said. "But I would have been in huge trouble if I hadn't done 'Underworld.'"

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Before Beckinsale became a Hollywood action hero, she was the corset-wearing heroine of period films like "Pearl Harbor," "The Golden Bowl" and "Much Ado About Nothing."

"Occasionally, Kate would pull the English rose thing, but then as soon as 'Action!' is said, she's tougher than all of us," said co-star Hugh Jackman.

"One stunt I was nervous about was when we were on wires about 50 feet up in the air and as close to real as possible we're supposed to land on a mat with Kate astride of me with her knees on either side of my head. I did it once with the stunt double and she nearly landed on my shoulder. I thought, 'Just a few more inches and I'm going to get a knee in the face.' We did it three times and Kate got it right every time like an Olympic gymnast."

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"If you tell an English girl you want a crotch in the face, you're going to get a crotch in the face," Beckinsale quipped.

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