Talk about switching gears! Camilla Luddington has gone from portraying the future Queen of England, Kate Middleton, to being the latest fair damsel to bare all on David Duchovny's racy Showtime "Californication."
"It was the first time I'd ever done nudity," says the Ascot, Berkshire-born actress, who did a smashing job as Kate in Lifetime's surprisingly not-terrible "William and Kate" movie last year. "Of course, it's written into the contract that I signed that I'm okay to do it. I thought, 'Maybe I'll be the one character, like a nun, who doesn't sleep with anyone all season.'
"Of course, that doesn't happen. I was so naive. But it turned out I was surprisingly comfortable with it. At the end of the day, you just kind of have to let go of all your inhibitions and all your hang-ups and be free with it and have fun with it," she says. Besides, "Everyone on the set has seen it a thousand times."
Luddington also credits Duchovny, who told her, 'Anything you're uncomfortable with, call me or the director and we'll work around it.' A camera angle, a shot, anything whatever."
The 28-year-old is equally adept at British and American accents but says she chose to go into "Californication" meetings carrying on in the English way, "to stand out a little bit. The lines sounded almost more ridiculous that way, talking about sexually explicit things with a proper British accent." Of course, the "Californication" team was well-aware of her Kate Middleton performance, too. She's often been called "Your Highness" around the set. "There's even a part at one point where I do a little curtsey and say, 'Thank you, my lord.' I think they wrote it in as a playful little wink."
Luddington is portraying the new nanny for Charlie and Marcy (Evan Handler and Pamela Adlon); she seems innocent at first but turns out to be a manipulative little schemer. Yes, it's a long, long way from our favorite royal bride — just as the actress hoped.
"From January to April last year, it was all about Kate Middleton," Luddington says, "and then I got the part in 'Californication' the day after doing press in England. I thought it was really fun, and the sides for the audition were really funny."
With this season's episodes already in the can, what's next?
"You know what? I would love to do a horror movie. I've been a massive horror movie fan since I was a kid, and I would love to do a great horror movie with a cult following."
THE FRIGHT STUFF: Speaking of U.K. actors and scary projects, ABC's promising "The River" chiller, from the creators of "Paranormal Activity," features handsome and charismatic British actor Paul Blackthorne. Ironically, Blackthorne confesses, "I absolutely can't bear the idea of watching anything scary. I used to get nightmares from 'Dr. Who' — hiding behind the couch watching that," he says, possibly not 100 percent seriously.
He plays the crafty reality TV producer who volunteers to take a missing adventurer's (Bruce Greenwood) family on a search into the Amazon jungle to find him — if he can document the whole thing for a show.
Blackthorne says he had some fun with his part when they shot the first season (the series premieres Feb. 7) in Hawaii. "Playing a reality show producer who has a mission besides their search, he's obviously trying to create a lot of conflict and drama for their show. But the game changes when things start to go bump in the night."
Filming found them "digging holes in the ground in the middle of the night" and such, but Blackthorne says he loved it. "In the paranormal world, all sorts of strange things can happen, can't they?" he notes archly. "They've come up with all sorts of amazing twists and turns already."
MEANWHILE: Speaking of reality, Blackthorne is currently editing a documentary of his own: "American Crossroads." He and an Australian buddy (Mister Basquali, a famed Australian photographer) road tripped across the U.S. right after the 2008 economic collapse, talking to everyday folks, from farmers to preachers and cowboys to folk singers, about the state of America.
What did they find out there? "The optimism and basic hope people do have, in spite of the country's state at the moment," he replies. "People have that in common regardless of background." Nice to know.
EARLY CHRISTMAS: Wow … if we ever doubted how very loved is the 1983 film "A Christmas Story," the avalanche of responses to our item the other day about plans for a sequel would have convinced us. Already, some fans appear to be poised to do battle against the evil forces who are daring to tamper with Ralphie and his family. Others are more open-minded, saying that the new pic, with Ralphie as a teen, sounds like it could be fun. Mind you, it's not even cast yet, so it's too soon to judge.
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