She's starred in renditions of Shakespeare, indie dramas and Hollywood blockbusters. In this gallery, we take a look at a career that has spanned over two decades. Which of Kate Beckinsale's many films is your favorite?
Anna Lee: Headcase (1993)
While her career began as a 2-year-old in the TV series Couples, Beckinsale's first movie was about stuffy detective agency where she's assigned a seemingly straight-forward case: find a young girl who's gone missing. As it turns out, the case involves quite a bit more than a missing girl.
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
Kenneth Branagh's interpretation of William Shakespeare's classic play about soon-to-be-wed lovers Hero and Claudio co-starred Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton and Keanu Reeves! Kate played Hero in this film, which was nominated for a Palme d'Or at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.
Royal Deceit (1994)
Yes, that is a young Christian Bale embracing Kate in this re-telling of Hamlet which goes back to the original Danish source material. The plot is still the same - Hamlet's father is murdered by his brother who then weds the widowed mother - but the ending ditches Shakespeare's version and concludes like a true Viking epic.
Cold Comfort Farm (1995)
In the first role that made U.S. audiences notice her, Beckinsale played a young woman whose parents die and leave her only 100 pounds to her name. She stays with distant relatives at Cold Comfort Farm, where everyone is a bit quirky. Poste though is determined to sort things out and write her great novel in 30 years.
Kate's first thriller finds her character, Julia, trying to decode an enigmatic message hidden in a painting of three people playing chess. She consults a chess genius to re-create the game shown in the painting. With each piece removed from the board, someone dies.
David (Aidan Quinn), a young man tormented by the accidental drowning of his sister years ago, returns to England to continue his work debunking claims of the supernatural. He ends up at Edbrook Manor, which is reputed to be haunted. There, he meets the comely Christina (Kate Beckinsale) and her brothers (Anthony Andrews and Alex Lowe). Despite their warnings, David persists in his quest until the vision of his dead sister appears to him.
Kate takes on Jane Austen in Emma, as the title character, who insists on playing matchmaker for her friend Harriet, causing her friend grief. Sharp words from Mr. Knightley and an opinionated Mrs. Elton lead to Emma softening her attitude. This movie marked the last of the classic English stories that Beckinsale starred in.
Shooting Fish (1997)
Two con artists who plan to steal enough money to buy a house hit an unexpected snag when pretty girl enters the picture. That pretty girl, of course, is Beckinsale, who stars as Georgie in this love triangle romantic comedy from British director Stefan Schwartz.
The Last Days of Disco (1998)
And now, the beginning of the Hollywood years. Kate stars alongside Chloe Sevigny as two Manhattan book editors who frequent a local disco. Kate co-won the London Critics Circle Film Award for best supporting actor (shared with Minnie Driver in Good Will Hunting).
Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998)
In her final TV movie. Beckinsale dons the blonde locks and trademark blue dress of the title character, Alice, and travels down to Wonderland.
Brokedown Palace (1999)
Two years prior to her first big-studio role, Kate co-starred with Claire Danes in this thriller about two women who are arrested for smuggling while on vacation in Thailand. The movie was banned in that country. Jennifer Love Hewitt was originally cast in Kate's role, but had to give it up due to scheduling conflicts.
The Golden Bowl (2000)
Nominated for the 2000 Palme d'Or, The Golden Bowl finds Italian Prince Amerigo marrying Kate's Maggie Verver even though his true love is Uma Thurman's Charlotte Stant. Which, in hindsight, brings us to an interesting smackdown - Thurman's Kill Bill Bride versus Selene from Underworld. Who wins?
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Back before Michael Bay was destroying cities with CGI transforming robots, there was this $140 million WWII action flick that marked Kate's big break. The Oscar-winning (hey, a Sound Editing Oscar is still an Oscar) went on to gross $450 million worldwide and launched Kate's career to a new level. She filled in for Charlize Theron, who had dropped out before filming began.
"Oddly enough, every time I'm approached in an airport by a man - especially if it's sort of a very fratty-looking man - it's always, always about Serendipity. I think that's more of a girl's movie, but they'll say, 'My favorite movie of yours is Serendipity.' and I'm like, 'Really? I'm running around with a machine gun in the Underworld movies and that's the one you like? How interesting!'" Kate once told EW.
Laurel Canyon (2002)
Kate reunites with Christian Bale for Lisa Cholodenko's drama about a young man and his fiancee who move into his libertine mother's house, resulting in a clash of morals. Cholodenko would go on to pen/direct the 2010 Oscar-nominated movie The Kids Are All Right.
Using dwarfism as its theme (and not in the awesome Lord of the Rings sort of way) Kate plays Matthew McConaughey's pregnant wife who begins to have feelings for Steve's dwarf brother, Rolfe (played by Gary Oldman. Yes, that Gary Oldman). The couple is fearful that the baby will inherit the dwarfism gene.
Kate never imagined she'd make a plausible action star when she first donned the skintight leather suit for the first of three Underworld movies. "The idea of me even holding a gun seemed ludicrous. The [stunt coordinators] said, 'Just throw a couple of punches,' and I did it with my thumb tucked in - which you're not supposed to do because you'd break it immediately.'" (EW) Thank goodness things worked out.
Van Helsing (2004)
Staying within the action adventure genre, Kate next co-starred with Hugh Jackman as Anna Valerious in The Mummy and The Scorpion King director Stephen Sommers' Van Helsing. Sommers wanted Kate for the role but was afraid that it was too similar to Underworld and that she would turn it down. Once Kate got the script, she became the final principal actor added to the cast.
The Aviator (2004)
Nominated for 11 Oscars and winning five, this Howard Hughes biopic finds Kate taking on the role of silver screen actress Ava Gardner. Gwyneth Paltrow was originally cast for the role but dropped out at the last minute. Kate then gained 20 pounds to play the role. In an interesting side note, Jim Carrey was originally considered for the Howard Hughes role.
Underworld: Evolution (2006)
Picking up where the 2003 movie left off, Selene and Michael (Scott Speedman) hunt for clues about the history of their races and the war between them. When first creating the character, Kate wanted to use movies like Aliens and Terminator as the basis for ther character. Husband/director Len Wiseman suggested she check out Russell Crowe in L.A. Confidential instead. Kate would go on to earn an MTV Movie Award nomination for best hero.
Taking a break from vampires, werewolves and the action adventure genre, Kate starred in this Oscar-nominated Adam Sandler comedy about a man who can fast forward and rewind through his life via a magical remote control. Up until 2010's Grown Ups, this was Sandler's highest grossing movie, totaling $238 million worldwide.
Snow Angels (2007)
Kate returns to her smaller independent drama roots in David Gordon Green's Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-nominated Snow Angels. Of her more recent films, she often cites this movie as one her favorite films that she's starred in that no one saw.
Starring as Luke Wilson's wife in Nimrod Antal's horror thriller about a young couple who is stranded at an isolated motel and finds video cameras in their room, Kate earned a Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice Scream. Again, Kate filled in for an actress who dropped out at the last minute, this time for Sarah Jessica Parker.
An ensemble piece about strangers who survive a shooting in an L.A. diner, Fragments co-starred Guy Pearce, Forest Whitaker and Dakota Fanning.
Nothing But the Truth (2008)
In this Rod Lurie-directed drama, Kate plays a Washington, D.C. reporter who faces the potential of jail time for outing a CIA agent and not revealing her source. The movie was a major dud, costing $11.5 million to make and grossing just over $3,000 domestically.
Continuing her string of smaller dramas, Kate plays a U.S. Marshal tracking a killer in Antarctica as the sun is about to set for six months. Kate was Joel Silver's first pick to play the lead, though when the project was first announced back in 2002, Reese Witherspoon was attached to the role. It too was a dud.
Everybody's Fine (2009)
This Golden Globe nominated movie co-starring Robert De Niro and Drew Barrymore finds Kate playing De Niro's daughter. De Niro's performance helps salvage this stereotypical Christmas dramedy. After it, she took a break from acting.
After a three-year hiatus from the big screen, Kate returns, this time playing Mark Wahlberg's wife in Baltasar Kormákur's gritty Contraband. Set in New Orleans, the movie examines the cutthroat underbelly of international smuggling with Giovanni Ribisi pulling Wahlberg back into the smuggling game.
Underworld Awakening (2012)
Selene is back! After sitting out the third movie in the Underworld franchise, Kate returns guns blazing as she wages war against humans and a Super Lycan! Though written by Len Wiseman, the movie is directed by the Swedish duo of Bjorn Stein and Mans Marlind, who worked on Shelter, Storm and the short Disco Kung Fu.
Total Recall (Aug. 3)
Helmed by husband Len Wiseman, Kate plays the evil villainess Lori who chases down our protagonist, Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell). Her character is a combination of Sharon Stone's Lori and Michael Ironside's Richter from Paul Verhoeven's 1990 film which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.