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July 31, 2012
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SJP


Biel prepares for the next phase
By JIM SLOTEK, QMI Agency


Jessica Biel (WENN.COM)

LOS ANGELES -- Jessica Biel turned 30 in March. If you're a fan going back to the TV series Seventh Heaven, that should make you feel old. She's feeling unsure about it herself.

"I think, I'm definitely afraid about the aging process to be brutally honest," says the actress, who breaks through the action film barrier alongside Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale this week in the remake of Total Recall.

"That's a scary thing (aging), being a woman and everything that comes with that.

"I've never been afraid of death per se. But just now, I've started to think, 'Oh yeah, I'm going out at some point. I never thought about that before."

There is, of course, another rite of passage that may have her thinking about the circle of life - her upcoming marriage to boyfriend Justin Timberlake.

"Maybe that's part of it. Maybe it's another new stage, a new moment in life moving forward to the dark end," Biel says with a hearty laugh. "No that part hasn't felt macabre or dark to me, the idea of getting married. It actually feels inspiring and fun and positive.

And how are the wedding preparations going? "I've done almost nothing," she says. "I've just been enjoying being engaged. I feel like, y'know, there's a lot of time and nothing needs to be rushed. Everybody tells me being engaged is a very special moment. Not to say it gets bad after you're married, but it's just this thing where you're in this romantic breathless bit. So I'm trying to extend that."

She also claims to be open to new challenges, hence her four months in Toronto last year, studying martial arts, dieting and exercising herself lean and muscular, the better to be ready when she and Beckinsale, the action babe of Underworld fame, would fight in a manner that could not in any way be described as "girlish."

Based on the short story by Philip K. Dick (and following certain plot points of the '90s Arnold Schwarzenegger movie), Total Recall takes place in an environmentally-poisoned world, where the only two livable places are on opposite sides of the world, in Northern Europe and Southeast Asia. The latter, known as The Colony, sends workers to do medial work in The United Federation of Britain though a hole in the Earth called The Fall.

Farrell plays a factory worker whose identity unravels when he goes on a mental vacation at a clinic called Rekall. Suddenly, people are trying to kill him, his wife (Beckinsale) is not his wife, but a lethal government operative, and Biel shows up as a rebel soldier with whom he apparently has a romantic past.

It's all shot in the frenetic style of Underworld director Len Wiseman (Beckinsale's husband).

"I think it was pretty clear we didn't want to take anything from the original film besides a few iconic bits, like the girl with the three boobs," she says with a laugh.

"But I didn't expect it to be as fun as it was. Colin and I would watch bits and pieces of it during filming, during whatever downtime, and we'd just laugh and smile."

"Obviously there was a lot of physical preparation, with these incredible martial artists - a lot of kickboxing, Muay Thai. Colin and I did a little French parkour.

"I love and hate the same things about it. I love the discipline. I love the schedule of pushing your body to an extreme, learning a routine.

"But the loving is also the hating. Two months in, the diet you're on and the crazy training is a brutal nightmare. And in the same breath, it's what's wonderful about it.

"You're not drinking alcohol, you're keeping your body clean. But you have no life and all you dream about is cakes and pasta."

There was no such self-denial in her next role. She plays the actress Vera Miles opposite Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho.

"I guess it's an example of a confidence that I maybe didn't have before, stepping up to the challenge of playing someone who's still alive."

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