Kate Bosworth had trouble seeing herself as early '60s starlet Sandra Dee in the new Bobby Darin biopic, "Beyond the Sea," despite sharing a blond-haired, blue-eyed gamine quality...

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Kate Bosworth had trouble seeing herself as early ’60s starlet Sandra Dee in the new Bobby Darin biopic, “Beyond the Sea,” despite sharing a blond-haired, blue-eyed gamine quality. “I watched two of her movies, ‘A Summer Place’ and ‘Come September,’ and then I freaked out, worrying about doing her voice and her style,” says Bosworth, 21.

So she called Kevin Spacey — who directed and stars as Darin, who was married to Dee — and he assured her that, “It’s not an imitation. The performance had to come from my heart.”

But one thing helped her identify with the role: Bosworth’s Hollywood romance with actor Orlando Bloom.

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She fell for the 27-year-old “Lord of the Rings” actor in 2002, but wouldn’t comment on reports of their engagement, saying simply that they are “together and very happy.”

She notes that unlike Dee and Darin, her dating life is private.

“Sandra and Bobby’s relationship was pushed to the forefront as part of their public relations,” Bosworth says. “It added a lot more pressure back then, I’m sure.

“Now, a relationship is something to protect.”

Born in Los Angeles, Bosworth moved to Connecticut at age 9. There, her love of horseback riding fostered dreams of becoming an Olympic equestrian.

At 14, she got the part of Scarlett Johansson’s doomed best friend in Robert Redford’s 1998 drama “The Horse Whisperer.”

“It was through my love of horseback riding that I found my love of acting,” she says.

Once she graduated from high school, Bosworth — who’s been accepted at Princeton University but has deferred enrollment — threw herself into the leading role of a tough wave rider in 2002’s “Blue Crush,” learning how to surf.

Gritty parts in “The Rules of Attraction” and “Wonderland” followed. Then she got a role Sandra Dee would have cherished: a small-town sweetie infatuated by a movie star in “Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!”

For “Beyond the Sea,” which opened Wednesday, Bosworth didn’t speak to Dee, who retired from acting in the 1980s. However, her research uncovered another difference between herself and the fluffy-sweatered star of “Gidget.”

“I love acting, but I think Sandra was satisfied just playing what Hollywood gave her,” she says.

“I never worried about playing a blond teen actress from a different era. Though it was a bit of added pressure playing an icon.”