The knife thrower — formerly the surf goddess, the porn star's girlfriend, the wise innocent, the new Lois Lane, and, most recently, the blackjack geek — wanders into her trailer, a little beleaguered, frowning. She is wearing an absurdly elaborate blood-orange dress, her face partially hidden by a fiery red wig piled high on top of her head. She is mostly interested in locating lunch.
But for the moment, she is surrounded by an assortment of people from the set, a little distracted, unfocused. It's the last time she'll seem that way. In one motion, she cocks her head to the side and then, from inside the flurry of people around her, crosses her eyes and sticks her tongue out. "Here she is, the deranged wench!" she says. "I can see it now, 'Kate Bosworth, deranged wench, walks into the trailer...'"
"Oh, God," she says. "I look like a ridiculously ornamented cupcake! And the character, she usually looks like a badass! She's usually in chaps — she's a knife thrower, this is a disguise for a scene. Now I come in looking like a cupcake, like a deranged wench. What a disappointment for you."
Catherine Ann Bosworth is 25 years old, in costume, and not a disappointment. She sits down, asks the people in her trailer — hovering, possibly to make sure she is not asked any questions they do not wish her to be asked — if they wouldn't mind leaving, begins chewing on a greasy chicken leg, and happily sails into discussing “Laundry Warrior,” the surrealistic western she's making here in New Zealand, even though she's been instructed not to discuss it — too early for publicity purposes, or something. But she's unstoppable. And she's not in fact much deranged at all.
What she is, among other things, is more interested in talking about Cormac McCarthy and José Saramago than about Hollywood, more interested in asking questions than answering them. It's mostly pointless to resist.
"At least I can make you laugh," she says.
I complain weakly that we need to talk more about the other stuff.
"No, let's talk about books," she says.
"We need to act like professionals," I tell her.
"It's much more fun to act like human beings," she says.
Bosworth's breakout movie, “Blue Crush,” in which she played a beachy blonde, a working-class surfing hopeful, might have typecast her forever. But from the chilling crackhead she portrayed in “Wonderland” to Lois Lane in “Superman Returns,” she's escaped that trap. She may be blonde again in her new release, “21,” with Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne, as a student who is part of an MIT team counting cards at Vegas blackjack tables — though in this one, she gets to wear a black wig for part of the movie, and, well, she's playing an MIT student — but the point is she has, thus far, avoided doing the same sort of thing twice.
"I guess I just don't do comfort zones," Bosworth says. "But then, at the beginning of the film — well, pretty much all the time, but particularly at the beginning of a film — I always feel I can't act ... What am I doing in this business? ... I'm a phony ... I need to get out ... I should start thinking about something else to do. I guess one way to look at it is, it keeps me on my toes. I don't ever want to think, 'Oh, I'm just great.'"
So she's not exactly in thrall to her own ego. She does admit to freaking out at all the attention that has been paid to her life — the tabloids have eaten out endlessly on her off-screen activities — but she may have stumbled across an excellent way to deal with it, perhaps, in researching another project. "Do you know you can rent a room in Japan," Bosworth asks, "and just smash the s--- out of it? I haven't done it yet. But I think it's great. I think we should have smashing-to-s--- rooms everywhere. You get to go in and release everything."