Kate Beckinsale envies movie legend Ava Gardner, who she plays in new film THE AVIATOR - because the screen siren escaped the media scrutiny of today's stars.

Beckinsale researched GARDEN OF LIES beauty Gardner's life for her role in Martin Scorsese's biopic of Howard Hughes' life.

And she was shocked to discover that, unlike contemporary actresses, Gardner's reputation and privacy were protected from the media.

Beckinsale says, "I remember thinking Ava Gardner didn't really have to deal with (British) magazine HEAT trying to get a photo of her picking her nose.

"There was a slightly protected quality to them that we don't have any more and there was a robustness to the legend that surrounded them. Now we just want to explode it and find out what kind of bikini wax Gwyneth Paltrow is getting."

17/12/2004 19:59