Kate Beckinsale is back to the Underworld franchise as Selene, the vampire warrior caught up in the war between Vampire and Lycan (werewolf) clans. In Underworld: Awakening, humans discover the existence of these immortal enemies and the only Vampire/Lycan hybrid (India Eisley). Beckinsale, Eisley, and fellow castmate Theo James sat down with Buzzine's Emmanuel Itier to hash out their weapon of choice on set, playing such terrifying creatures, and filming with 3D animation.
Emmanuel Itier: You’re back! We missed you! Why did you come back? Was it the 3D? Was it the urge to kick *ss? Was it the two Swedish guys (Måns Mårlind and Bjorn Stein)?
Kate Beckinsale: Well, you know it’s hard to resist two Swedish guys. No, it was just the fact that I love this character, I love this franchise, I love the fact that I’m one of the few girls that gets to do this, and I think the fact that the story was taking the character in a lot of different directions was what attracted me.
EI: What about 3D? Is that a gimmick that you like, or it’s a little bit of a pain?
KB: It depends. When the film has been shot in 3D, I find that it doesn’t make me feel nauseous. But sometimes when they convert it, it can make me feel a bit funny. So I’m okay with 3D if it’s supposed to be 3D.
EI: It’s number four – if you look at the franchise, how to you explain it being so successful and people loved it, and what has been your favorite sequence from all of them?
KB: I don’t know. I’m always amazed and thrilled that people buy this English girl [laughs] shooting guns and jumping off of stuff. I do think people do like to see a successful film with a character who is a woman that kicks *ss. I think they don’t work that often, so when they do, I think people really love that. And my favorite sequence…I don’t know. We have a lot of really cool fights in this one that I love doing, but I will never forget my first shooting at the subway because it was my first time firing a gun ever, and I really freaked out, but it was great.
EI: What do you think about the other vampire movies, like Twilight? This movie kind of really inspired people to get back into the vampire mood. So do you like Twilight?
KB: I do. My daughter is a big fan of the books, so she was very outraged when she heard they were making a film about it. And she said, I’m never going to see the film,” and then her father got a part in the film, so then of course she had to change her mind on that. So I’ve seen it because her daughter’s dad is in it. And I think vampires are really fascinating. That is probably a little bit more geared toward the pre-teen and teenage girl; this is definitely an R-rated movie and a little bit more sick in the fighting and violence department.
EI: What do you think the two Swedish guys brought to this movie? What is the touch that they brought?
KB: They have such a wonderful sensibility. First of all, two directors, I think, is a great idea, and with them, it works really well. And they get so into it. They love all the action, and all that is fine, but just in the dramatic scenes, they’re the most sensitive, crying… I love that. It was really a pleasure to have them so engaged.
EI: After so many movies, what is your favorite way to slay the enemy and your favorite weapon?
KB: I’m very happy with a gun. I don’t mind a machine gun, I’m perfectly happy with my pistols, but I always panic if I’m given… I have an ax in this movie, and I had a lot of angst about the ax. I just felt like, “Is anyone really going to buy me…?” And it actually comes out okay, but axes and knives I’m a bit more nervous; with guns, I feel like I know what I’m doing. [Laughs]
EI: Are you going to be in the next one?
KB: I didn’t know there was going to be a fourth one. Don’t ask me. I’m the worst person to ask. I said we were done after three, so I don’t know. Let’s see if anyone likes this one. [Laughs]
India Esley & Theo James
Emmanuel Itier: Tell me about working with Kate on Underworld. What do you like about this type of franchise, and what was your favorite sequence in the movie?
Theo James: It was great. It’s a very rich franchise. It’s got the whole history of the first three movies, and it’s a very rich world that you’re placed in.
India Eisley: I thought the whole fight sequence between Kate and the...is it still called an uber-lycan?
TJ: Uber-lycan, yeah, I think it was. That's pretty cool, actually.
IE: Yeah, I thought that whole sequence was really cool.
TJ: Yeah, definitely.
EI: Were you into vampire movies? Do you like the Twilight type of movie and all that, before doing it?
TJ: Interview with a Vampire was always a big favorite of mine.
IE: I loved True Blood. I’m a huge Alan Ball fan.
EI: Tell me about working with these two Swedish guys. How was it to have two directors, and what do you think they brought to the movie?
TJ: It was interesting to see because, on the base of it, you see you’ve got two directors and you don’t know how it’s going to work out, but it actually worked out really well.
IE: They’re like the same person broken up into two different specimens. [Laughs]
TJ: Yeah, they are one mind. And they’re fun guys.
IE: Yeah, they’re just really sweet. And I think they did a great job.
EI: What do you think is the coolest way to kill these beasts? Is there a way that you prefer the best?
TJ: I kind of like using a silver whip. I think that’s a good way to destroy someone.
IE: I like using my claws and my fangs. [Laughs] Just taking a big chomp out of them is nice.
EI: How do you explain the success of the franchise? It’s number four, they are talking about number five. What do you think people get from these movies, and what do you get yourself from Underworld?
TJ: I think there’s the appeal of two clashing clans. First of all, in other movies, it’s popular as well, with the werewolves and the vampires. And then, on top of that, it’s a very primal movie. It’s about animal drive and bloodlust. And then with this, I don’t know – is it the darkness of it? The gothic nature?
IE: Yeah, I think it just definitely has a gory edge to it that a lot of other vampire franchises don’t have.
TJ: And as I said before, the whole richness of the history of it.
IE: Yeah, it has a very medieval feel to it at the same time of being… It’s weird; it has a modern vibe, but also a very historic quality.
EI: Now that you have a taste for blood, are you ready to be back in the next one? And what do you expect if they do a next one? What would you like to have? What things would you do?
TJ: Let’s see how this one goes down, I suppose, but just seeing these kinds of stories – the way that they’ve developed the Underworld stories, you can go so many places because they’re quite complex stories.
IE: Yeah, there are so many options that are left open. It can go in so many different directions. I think I just repeated exactly what you just said. [Laughs]
Screen Gems' 'Underworld: Awakening' is released in theaters on January 20, 2012.