At a time when questions of diversity, both in front of and behind the camera, are at the forefront of discussions about Hollywood, the Underworld franchise isn’t resting on its laurels. For Blood Wars, the fifth installment in the series, Outlander director Anna Foerster was tapped to direct, beating both Marvel and DC to the punch of releasing a female-directed movie in what is essentially a superhero franchise. Screen Rant talked with Foerster at the Blood Wars press day about the “back to basics” approach she brought to the film.
This film is touted as being a return to the original, “back to basics”. Could you tell me a little more about that?
Anna Foerster: Yeah. I mean, to me what was important in the first one, and what I truly loved about this new concept, was that you have a completely new world that’s its own world. And there is this real, like, mysticism, and there’s a real feeling of, like, an old story. There is this way they live in this kind of Gothic area. And yeah, there’s this aloofness and this eloquence, how they talk—especially the vampires—that was important to me when I saw the first one, and I thought that rang true. And there were the performances from the British actors, mostly, Bill Nighy for example as one of them, that had that almost little bit of stiltedness, that created a charm for that. And I really thought that was something, for me, that made that franchise interesting. And I think through the course this got like—there were variations on it. And so when I got involved it was important to me to kind of go back to that idea of—as well to the idea of really dealing with character.
The feel of the film is very medieval, and I know that you guys shot in Prague and Czech [Republic], and that’s also back to the basics. And it kind of had that lore of the old school Dracula feel to it. What big set pieces from that time did you have to play with?
Anna Foerster: Well we had those big castles, and we had those big interiors—most of them actually we had to build, because they get destroyed, and there will be people in wires, and you know all the technical stuff—
The sets were very practical then?
Anna Foerster: Yes they were, absolutely, they were very practical. So that was one part. But then the other thing, which I always loved, is we’re going to the north, right? We’re going back in time, almost, and then they’re taking that train. And to me it was almost like going back [to] the very original vampire ideas of the vampires taking the train, the Transylvanian train, and going into the north and into the snow. So there were elements of that we definitely played with.
Interesting. Last question: Kate [Beckinsale], at the New York Comic Con, said that Blade from Marvel Comics was possibly going to be introduced in this Underworld film. Do you know anything behind that, if there’s a story behind that at all?
Anna Foerster: I know nothing about that.