As film franchises embrace the interconnected, serialized aspects of modern day television, it makes sense that TV directors increasingly are asked to helm big budget film series (see Alan Taylor’s transition from Game of Thrones to Thor: The Dark World & Terminator: Genysis). Films, since the 1950s, have embraced the ‘auteur theory’ – wherein a director imprints his particular vision and style onto a story. But with TV, the opposite is the case – a television director must adapt their style to fit into the pre-existing template of a series (which is why – you’ll never see a Wes Anderson-helmed episode of the Big Bang Theory). The skills of a TV director – adaptability, the ability to work well with actors, shooting standard coverage quickly – enable them to come into big-budget franchise films, say an Underworld or a Resident Evil, and serve the overall vision of the ‘series’ as opposed to the individual film.
Anna Foerster, a noted television director whose credits include Outlander, Criminal Minds & Madame Secretary, fits this trend to a tee – taking over as the director of the newest Underworld sequel – Underworld: Blood Wars. Stylistically Blood Wars is indistinguishable from the first two films in the series, all monochromatic sheen and blue tinted backgrounds. Even the story itself feels like an episode in the ongoing Underworld saga. This time Selene’s (Kate Beckinsale) on the run from both Lycans and Vampires, who both want to capture her for their own nefarious purposes. With nowhere to turn, Selene must rely on the only allies she has left, Thomas (Charles Dance) and his son David (Theo James), to battle both warring factions.
In the above interview with Foerster, she discusses keeping a consistent style between Blood Wars & the earlier Underworld films and the similarities between directing a TV show and a big budget franchise film. For the full interview, watch above.
- Anne Foerster on how much she looked to the previous Underworld films stylistically
- On how the Underworld series has evolved over time
- On if she looks to any films outside of the Underworld canon for inspiration
- On the similarities in directing a TV show and joining a big budget film series
- On the original cut vs. final cut for Underworld: Blood Wars
- On what got cut out of the finished film