Comic-Con 2011: Kate Beckinsale Interview UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING

     July 26, 2011


Underworld: Awakening marks the return of Kate Beckinsale to the popular genre franchise. Shot in 3D, the vampire Selene escapes imprisonment to find that humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans and are waging an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species. With Len Wiseman as a producer, and directing team Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein at the helm, the fourth installment is taken in a different direction, in order to keep things fresh and avoid the usual connotations that come with the fourth film in a series.

Prior to their Comic-Con panel in Hall H, Kate Beckinsale did a press roundtable interview to talk about how she never planned to do a fourth film, what fans of the popular franchise can expect from this latest installment, how her character Selene fits into things now, working with two directors this time around, whether she’d consider a fifth film, and how proud she is to play such a strong, tough and interesting female character. Check out what she had to say after the jump:

Click here for the audio.  You can also read our recap of the Underworld: Awakening Comic-Con panel here.

underworld-image-kate-beckinsaleQuestion: What can audiences expect from this Underworld? How is Selene involved in the story?

KATE BECKINSALE: In the very beginning of the story, she’s involved in no way at all ‘cause she’s been in a coma. She’s basically exactly who she is when she wakes up, it’s just that the world that she’s waking up into is completely and utterly different. Really, the first part of the movie is catching up, as she is, with everything that’s changed around her. The underworld is no longer really “under,” but it’s boring to call a movie World. So, it’s really a question of her waking up and going, “Where the hell am I, and what’s happening?,” and trying to figure that out, and who various significant people are. There are so many things that I’m not allowed to say. I feel very hand-strung.

Was it always in the cards for you to come back to the franchise?

BECKINSALE: No, not at all. Initially, it was conceived as a trilogy, and the third one was always going to be a prequel where I wasn’t born. I think, like everybody, I had and Len [Wiseman] and most people who are sensible, have a slight allergy to the number four coming after a movie title ‘cause it usually means it’s shit. But lately, there have been some movies that have actually taken it somewhere else. I guess we’re in a very different climate now, that that doesn’t automatically mean that. For us, it was really a question of, if you’re going to take these characters – and there are some people who really love them, but I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea – in order to make it justifiable to make a movie, you really have to do something different and take it somewhere else, and not just continue exactly where we left off in the second one. That’s really what clinched it for us. It was so different, and there’s so much new stuff going on.

How was it to work with two directors?

BECKINSALE: It was great! I’ve done two with Len [Wiseman], and I did marry him and everything, so I quite liked him. Contemplating doing it without Len felt kind of funny, and the fact that there’s two and they’re Swedish was so different. You were never going, “Well, but Len did it like this.” No, we were in London or we were in Narnia. They were just not in the same universe, and actually that was great. I do think that it seems like such a weird idea to have two directors, but everybody should have that. It’s such a good idea. We weren’t sure whether they were going to argue with each other and fight each other, but the way that they work is that one of them is on a Monday and the other one is silent and doesn’t speak, and just does other things that are boring, that directors do, like plan the next week or get on the phone, and does all that stuff that stresses directors out when there’s just one of them. If you go up to the one whose day it isn’t and you say, “What do you think?,” he literally is a mute and doesn’t say anything. And then, the next day, it’s his turn. So, what it means is that they’re always thrilled that it’s their turn, so you never get a director who’s tired and jaded and sick of it. You get someone who’s like, “I’m going to do better than that guy did.” It’s a very energizing, positive, nice environment.

Underworld4_awakening_poster_comicconAt the same time, were they also calm and composed?

BECKINSALE: So much so. And they have very similar taste, so it’s not like you’re suddenly doing it in a completely, radically different style or anything. It was a really good experience. I was wondering how that was going to work, but I thought it was excellent.

Now that you’ve down Underworld 4, do you feel like you’ve concluded the story, or would you like to go on with it?

BECKINSALE: I don’t know how long it’s seemly to rush about in that outfit. I don’t know. They’d have to do it quite quickly, I think. Otherwise, it would be sad. But, no, I don’t know. They always leave these movies on a, “Hmm,” so I think they’ve left it open-ended, but there’s certainly nothing planned, at this point.

What does it feel like to be one of this generation’s icons for action roles and to know that other young actresses want to be the next Selene, much like actresses wanted to be the next Ripley from the Aliens movies?

BECKINSALE: It’s neat. I have to say that it does feel like a real privilege to be one of the very few women who’s got a franchise, in this way, with a very strong, tough, interesting female character. I really am proud of that.

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