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For Kate Beckinsale, the most challenging aspect of working with “Succession” star Brian Cox was having to loathe him. “If Brian and I were at school, we’d be separated instantly,” Beckinsale says. “We’re quite naughty and make each other laugh and we’d sit there, giggling, so we did have to get ourselves together a bit for the movie.”  

Beckinsale stars opposite Cox in Catherine Hardwicke’s “Prisoner’s Daughter,” which bows Sept. 9 as a Toronto Intl. Film Festival Gala presentation. The gritty family drama follows Max (Cox), a dying convict who tries to make amends with his estranged daughter Maxine (Beckinsale) and grandson. However, his violent past threatens to come between their reconciliation.  

Why were you drawn to “Prisoner’s Daughter”?  

I found the script really emotional. It’s got a lot of difficult family things in it, which I feel is relatable to everybody. There’s estrangement between the father and the daughter, and then everybody in the movie has got an unresolved pain that they’re just getting along with. I thought it was quite old-fashioned in the sense that it just really exposed the things that kind of rock you, whether it’s one’s child being unwell or a parent having cancer or estrangement in the family — all those kinds of things and how people get on with their lives and then suddenly, everything comes to a head at once. I thought it was just very profoundly moving, the relationships in the film.  

How would you describe your character Maxine and her relationship with her father throughout the film?  

Maxine is someone who is very much struggling to keep afloat. She’s got a difficult relationship with the father of her child, who she’s no longer with; her child has epilepsy. She’s struggling to pay the bills, she can’t afford medicine for her son’s epilepsy, and she hasn’t spoken to her father in years.  

I don’t think, at the beginning of the movie, she’s ever expecting to speak to him again. She knows he’s been in prison; she wants nothing to do with him. For financial reasons, she ends up having to have a relationship with her dad again, sort of against her will.  

What was it like working with Brian Cox? 

My godfather is an actor called David Bradley, and he was in the Royal Shakespeare Company with Brian. I saw Brian as Lear and Titus Andronicus, so I was a massive Brian Cox fan when I was, like, 14. I think my most thrilling theater experiences of my life have involved Brian.  

I worked with him on a terrible movie [“Royal Deceit”], actually, with Christian Bale and Helen Mirren. It was sort of a version of Hamlet that was dreadful, and Brian played my dad in that. So, I was so excited to have another go at being Brian’s daughter in a movie that was actually good [laughs]. It wasn’t that hard; I feel like I’ve had such a long history with him.  
 

What was it like working with Catherine Hardwicke? 

She makes a lovely environment for actors, especially with [Christopher Convery] who played my son. It’s hard sometimes — [child actors have] these funny hours and they’re the only very young person on the staff. She just made it such a fantastic atmosphere to do scenes with him and for his and my relationship to be really fun.  

I ended up buying him a cat. Catherine really does make an extraordinary environment where you do insane things like suddenly buy someone a cat.  

What are you working on next? 

I’m doing a movie called “Canary Black” with Pierre Morel, who directed “Taken.” That’s been quite different, there’s been lots of rushing about. It’s a really fun CIA movie.