In a Hollywood landscape where DC and Marvel have yet to release their first female-led movies, the Underworld franchise—the vampires vs. werewolves series that began all the way back in 2003—is releasing its fifth installment in January. In Underworld: Blood Wars, series star Kate Beckinsale returns as the rebellious vampire Selene, who finds herself dragged back into the ongoing war between her people and their Lycan enemies.
Screen Rant sat down with Beckinsale at the Blood Wars press day to talk about where we find Selene at the start of the new movie, what it was like working with director Anna Foerster, and what comic book character she would love to play.
So, Selene has been through a lot. In Blood Wars, here does she start, and what kind of journey do we see her go on, what kind of obstacles does she have to overcome?
Kate Beckinsale: Well we pick up basically where we left off the last movie, where she’s kind of on the run from the vampires, from the Lycans, she’s estranged from her daughter, she doesn’t know where Michael is. She’s at the worst point she’s ever been in the whole franchise, and really not interested in engaging in the war anymore. And then sort of gets dragged back into it. We have new villains, new problems, all sorts of other obstacles for her.
This film is very much back to basics. You guys shot in Prague and Czech [Republic], and the set pieces were amazing to look at. One thing I loved was Anna Foerster. She’s a great director. What new dynamic did she bring to this film?
Kate Beckinsale: I mean we very often have new directors, or first-time directors, or pairs of directors, or something that’s different, and it felt very much appropriate that it was time to have a woman at the head of this particular franchise. But she just had some really great—she was a really big fan of the movie and of the character, which is kind of a requirement. But she had some really interesting visual ideas that she wanted. She really wanted to feature female Lycans, that’s the first, you know, that’s the most female thing I think that she did, which I think is really great. And she’s very collaborative, you know, she made a very easy, nice set to be on.
There’s already rumors of a sixth Underworld film, which I’m sure you’ve heard.
Kate Beckinsale: [laughs] Not really. I mean, I’ve heard them, but I’m usually the last person to know. I found out Anna was directing the movie because somebody I know ran into her in a bar. So, I tend to get the memo last.
Where would you like to see Selene go in terms of the next journey for her, if there is a sixth film?
Kate Beckinsale: To be honest, I’ve never thought beyond that—I never thought there would be a second one, so I’m probably the worst person to ask. But I can’t quite think what we would do that would be more extreme next time. [laughs]
Well you’ve made Selene an iconic character at this point. Is there any other kind of comic book characters—or any other characters at all—that you’d like to see brought to life, played by you obviously?
Kate Beckinsale: Like comic book characters? Um, I don’t know. You know I was quite fond of Catwoman.
I was gonna say Catwoman.
Kate Beckinsale: Yeah, but I feel like I’ve worn those pants though, does that preclude me? Maybe.
I said to myself if I ever met you that I had to ask you: one of my favorite films is Cold Comfort Farm—
Kate Beckinsale: Me too.
I love that film. Is there ever a chance we could see some kind of revision of those characters? Cause they’re so good.
Kate Beckinsale: I would love that. I mean I was so in love with the director, John Schlesinger, who is sadly no longer with us. But I recently worked, for the second time, with Whit Stillman, who did Love & Friendship, and he was a huge fan of that. So if anybody was to revisit Cold Comfort Farm, I would do it with him.
So you’re in?
Kate Beckinsale: Oh God yeah. [laughs]