The Warrior's Way - Kate Bosworth
Actress Kate Bosworth arrives at "The Warrior's Way" screening © 2010 Getty Images

Kate Bosworth made her feature film debut in Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer at the age of 14, and has gone on to star in such movies as Superman Returns, Beyond the Sea, Blue Crush, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton and Remember the Titans.

In the new martial arts western The Warrior’s Way, she portrays Lynne, a spirited knife-thrower-in-training who befriends a mysterious stranger named Yang (Jang Dong Gun) who arrives in her town, Lode, with a baby girl.

Orphaned by a terrible act of brutality, Lynne has spent ten years plotting against her attacker, the Colonel (Danny Huston). When he and his men ride into town in the midst of their Christmas celebration, Yang is forced to reveal his true identity in order to protect Lynne.

What was it about this script that intrigued you?

It was unlike any other script I’d ever read. I never really imagined myself playing a knife-throwing, red-haired, crazy cowgirl from the Old West.  Lynn is a childlike character who has a lot of love to give. She’s incredibly impulsive and very inappropriate.

Yang’s a warrior and he carries a lot of emotional armor. He has never let anyone into this heart. They have a symbiotic relationship in which he calms her heart and she opens him up That forces Yang to engage, and when he starts to engage and his heart starts to open up, her love for him grows. So to get something original, thoughtful, profound, beautiful and poetic, I didn’t see how I could say no.

How much input did you have in the look of the character?

The Warrior's Way - Kate Bosworth
Lynne (Kate Bosworth) © 2010 Laundry Warrior Ltd

She’s kind of a tomboy, so we put her in men’s clothing. I wore shoes that were five or six sizes too big, which gave her a real clomping, childlike walk that was essential to the character. And I was the one asking for more dirt and more dust. I feel as the girl I get the short end of the stick for that, ‘No, we need you to be pretty.’ I was like, ‘No, I want to look grimy and real, so I was constantly battling that.’ I was very into making sure my fingernails were very dirty and my teeth were yellow.

The costumes were the grounding force because we were living in this fantasy world, we were in the random desert somewhere, in a deserted carnival village and we had to imagine it. So it was really very nice to have such amazing costumes so that we’d have the visual aid.

Was there a lot of training?

There was a lot of training but because the film happened so quickly it was one of those things as soon as everyone signed on it felt like it went very quickly. I would have loved to have had a little more training, often we would learn a specific move and then shoot it that day or the next day. They really kept us on our toes, I’ll tell you that much. We were constantly going on adrenaline with the physicality and that meant we had to trust each other quite a bit, especially Danny and I.

It’s part of classical acting training to learn fencing, but this is totally different that a standard stage fight.

The Warrior's Way - Jang Dong Gun and Kate Bosworth
Yang (Jang Dong Gun) and Lynne (Kate Bosworth) © 2010 Laundry Warrior Ltd

It felt so much more like it would have helped to have had a dancer/ballet background with this because it was so specific with the footwork, and balance, more so than any kind of flashing each other with big knives, it was so much more of an integral  dance.

Danny Huston plays a pretty nasty character in this.

It’s hilarious that he plays an incredibly wicked character, because he’s actually one of the nicest, funniest guys you’ll ever meet. Danny always has a smile on his face. He is the life of the party with a great sense of humor. Shooting with him could be difficult because it was hard to imagine him as a really horrible person.

What was working with Jang Dong Gun like?

The Warrior's Way - Jang Dong Gun and Kate Bosworth
Lynne (Kate Bosworth) and Yang (Jang Dong Gun) © 2010 Laundry Warrior Ltd

Jang is so lovely so it was very easy for me to organically form a relationship with him, even if it was just in a look. It was effortless to be honest. There was no force that needed to happen. I suppose we were lucky that there was an ease between us in the very beginning. And the relationship was very well formed on the page, so I suppose if you have two actors that can naturally work together it will work.

We had a bit of rehearsal, and I know he was most concerned with the English aspect of it, so I think for him it was a little bit of a challenge to master this language and also it’s putting the emotions to it as well and not just saying his lines, but embodying the emotional side of things. We rehearsed a lot for that reason, and then as soon as we were on set we worked with the scenes – it was very easy.

When a remake of a Sam Peckinpah movie comes across your desk, do you jump at it?

I actually had never seen Straw Dogs so I read the script before I watched the movie. I knew of the movie, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll read the script just to see how it holds up,’ I didn’t really want to be too influenced by the film because I thought, ‘Of course the film’s going to be interesting and wonderful,’ so I didn’t want that to influence my decision. The script was great and I love Rob Lurie, he’s a very talented man. Sso after reading the script I watched the film and that’s when I was like, ‘Gosh, this is going to be quite a ride.’

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.