Ana’s BFF Tells the Truth About What Happened on the “Fifty Shades” Set
Eloise Mumford, aka Katherine Kavanagh, talks sex swings and sequels.
In the Fifty Shades of Grey books, Anastasia Steele’s BFF Kate is kind of a meddler, to the point that Ana frequently refers to her as “damn Katherine Kavanagh.” When you use the full name, you know it’s bad. But in the Fifty Shades movie, actress Eloise Mumford made Kate bubbly and likable, so you could easily see why Ana would want to hang out with her (and hottest hot man Elliot Grey would want to date her). On the occasion of Friday’s Fifty Shades DVD and Blu-ray release, Eloise spoke to Cosmopolitan.com about sex swings, viewing parties, and the movie’s much-too-far-in-the-future sequel.
There was a lot of speculation about what the dynamics were like on set, but what was it really like?
There was so much pressure on this film to get it right, and since we weren’t doing it in obscurity, everybody had their eyes on the shooting of the film. We’d show up on location, and there’d be fans and paparazzi there, and it was all so crazy but also a lot of fun. It was wild, there were paparazzi on the roof! The way we let out that stress and adrenaline was through a lot of humor. We all became very close. Dakota and Jamie are both very funny people. So are Sam Taylor-Johnson and Seamus McGarvey, the cinematographer, and since they are the main people you’re going to be around when you’re shooting, there was a really great energy on set. I really connect with [my character] a lot.
We have a lot of the same traits and outlooks on life. She’s pretty nerdy and is a very studious person, and that was me to a T in school. I took school very seriously. I was very concerned about doing well on tests. I also think that Kate is an incredibly good friend, and I would like to consider myself that as well. She’s very protective and very loyal to a fault, which I think I am too. And she also loves a good romp! She’s probably a little bolder on the dance floor than I am though.
Describe to me what you think the perfect viewing scenario is for the at-home version of Fifty Shades. Who should you be with? What should you wear? What should you eat?
Definitely the comfiest clothes you can be in, like total loungewear, but loungewear that you love and look good wearing. Invite all your best girlfriends over, probably for a sleepover, so that you can really enjoy many bottles of wine. And I think some sort of sexy food — chocolate-dipped strawberries. Or it would be pretty fun to have a fondue party while you’re watching the film. Get all your friends who you want to have a great night with and live it up. I think it’ll be so fun to watch at home honestly, because then you can pause it and rewind it. I can say for sure that the first moment when Christian takes his shirt off — people will pause it! If there had been a rewind button in the theater, everybody would have been rewinding that moment over and over again.
Has anyone confessed to you that they’ve tried to reenact anything from the film? Or went out and bought a swing?
No, but I will say that with my close friends, it has opened up a discussion about that whole world and how adventurous we all are — and that’s all I’m going to say on that matter! I think what’s cool about the movie and the books is that it encourages women to be proactive about their sexuality and be honest about what turns them on. We’re all turned on by different things and that’s cool. Let’s celebrate that and not feel ashamed of that.
There are sort of two perspectives though — like you said, it can be empowering because it gets women talking about their sexuality, but some people saw it as anti-feminist because Ana was going along with something that she wasn’t comfortable with. Do you think Fifty Shades of Grey is a feminist film?
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I consider it a feminist film, but I wouldn’t say it’s not a feminist film either. I consider myself a real feminist, so it’s been a really interesting topic of conversation. I just don’t think that we have to put a label on it. What’s been so cool about it is that it’s raised this topic across the globe, and I love that. It’s really important for us to start talking about sexuality and what woman want to do with their bodies, and who has control over that and who we choose to give control to or not. That’s the whole point of [their relationship] — Ana is trying to figure that out for herself. It’s not like your typical, fairytale love story. Love is more complicated and interesting than just a fairy tale. You can have a lot of different versions of love, and as long as you respect each other and are open with communication — I think that’s what they’re striving for in the film. There’s a reason why it’s connected so broadly across the world, and it’s because women want to talk about these topics, and women want to start having a real conversation about what they find sexy and what turns them on and what they love and who they love.
So do you think Anastasia is a feminist?
Yes, my favorite thing in the film is that she is striving for equality, and I think if you asked her if she was a feminist she would say absolutely. And so would Kate.
What can you tell me about the next one —
Nothing! I can say that I’m really excited to get back on set with everybody.
How does the script look?
That I can’t say either! All I can say is I’m really excited about it.