The director issued a statement on his website Wednesday, in response to the comments Beckinsale made during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show last week about working with Bay on 2001’s Pearl Harbor.
“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,” Beckinsale said. “And I just didn’t understand why a 1940s nurse would do that.”
Bay shared a photo of a poster from the film featuring Beckinsale in character, writing on his site that it’s “hung proudly above my desk for 15 years.”
The 51-year-old called any insinuation of problems between he and Beckinsale “totally untrue.”
“Kate and I are friendly. She is a fantastic actress, very funny, witty lady, sassy, speaks her mind, and I truly respect her,” Bay wrote. “That’s why she has come to so many of my Christmas parties and Birthday parties.”
He concluded, “So I guess I was the ‘bad guy’ 16 years ago for suggesting a trainer because she just had her new beautiful baby girl – and she was about to enter into an intensive action movie. Note to reporters: 95 percent of leads in movies have trainers and drink green juice!”
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Beckinsale said that, at the time, she felt like she didn’t fit “the type of actress” Bay was used to.
“I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren’t bigger than my head, and I wasn’t blonde,” Beckinsale explained to Norton.
She continued, “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’. Then when he was asked about me, he’d say, ‘Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience.’ ”
Bay added on Wednesday that he had spoken to Beckinsale since the appearance, and that “she felt she told a funny story.”