‘Underworld: Blood Wars’: Kate Beckinsale on Viewing Selene as a Tragic Character

     December 13, 2016

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Last December, a group of fellow journalists and I went to Prague to visit the set of Underworld: Blood Wars. For those who don’t know, the fifth installment in the franchise sees vampire death dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) traveling with David (Theo James) to train a new group of vampires against the growing lycan threat. The film also stars Charles Dance, Lara Pulver, Bradley James, and Tobias Menzies.

Unfortunately, while we didn’t get to talk to Beckinsale while we were on set, we did get to do a group phone interview with her a couple months ago. The phone connection wasn’t great, so there are some snippets where transcription was tough, but we did get some good answers during our brief conversation. Beckinsale talked about why she views Selene as a tragic character, if she’s already thinking about future Underworld movies, working with Anna Foerster, the franchise’s first female director, training with medieval type weapons as opposed to guns, and more.

Check out the full interview below. Underworld: Blood Wars opens January 6, 2017.

underworld-blood-wars-posterWhat about your journey in this film really jumped out at you and said that this was another ‘Underworld’ bringing to audiences?

KATE BECKINSALE: I’m not sure I’m allowed to say because of spoilers. I love the stuff that goes on but…

There’s a lot that goes on for the character in this movie. She has stuff happen to her that hasn’t happened before and, you know, we have a lot of new cast. It feels like a very different universe and world this time.

This is the fourth film where you’re playing Selene. How do you envision Selene’s story eventually coming to an end?

BECKINSALE: I don’t know! I think I envisioned it coming to an end after the first one. I never really planned on doing four movies playing the same character. And it’s an amazing privilege because there’s not that many girls that get the opportunity to be in a long-running franchise, especially an original story. So, I’m very happy about that but it’s not something that, you know, was always kind of a stretch or out of my comfort zone so [inaudible].

Do you think this is the last one or if you got another good script would you be interested in returning for more?

BECKINSALE: No idea. Can’t possibly answer [laughs]. I’ve always said “Not” but I think I’ve cried wolf a few too many times to properly answer that question.

It’s a female-led franchise but now you finally have a female director at the helm of an Underworld movie and I’m curious how important that is as an actress?

BECKINSALE: I mean, it’s great! My very first professional job ever was with a female director. She was guitarist from The Slits. I did a short movie with her, Viv Albertine, and it was, you know…I thought maybe that was, kind of, going to be more common in my life and it’s been, I’ve worked with Lisa Cholodenko, but I haven’t worked with that many female directors. In general, whether it’s not, I think it’s great to have a woman. But it’s especially nice given that Selene has some fairly emotional twists and turns for an action star. It was a very nice thing to work with Anna and I felt like she had a good understanding of the character.

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Image via Sony

These movies are always action packed and I’m wondering what the training was like on this one?

BECKINSALE: I mean, training has never been as extensive for the first movie because I’d really not done anything ever before in my life and had to be taught how to run, how to throw a punch, all those things. But it’s never been on the level of that. But there were a lot of different weapons, it’s a bit less gun-heavy for Selene and a lot more swords and medieval type weapons, so those were things that were new to me this time.

Selene has obviously gone through a lot of changes in the three Underworld movies we’ve seen but I’m wondering if there’s a particular scene or moment where you felt this really exemplifies who Selene and what she has to offer?

BECKINSALE: I don’t know, I think that’s the thing [inaudible]. The first one is the first introduction to the character and I always loved her thinking on her feet, shooting the hole in the floor and going through the floor, you know all of that. I thought that was a pivotal moment in that movie but to be honest, she’s fallen in love, lost her lover, had a baby without realizing it… It’s like a telenovella! There’s so much stuff happening for her that I don’t know if I could condense it down to one scene.

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Image via Sony

You mentioned that you weren’t sure if you would play Selene again or not but when the day comes that you don’t, how much do you think you’ll miss her as a character?

BECKINSALE: I mean, I don’t really think there…It’s a character that I’ve played I really enjoyed playing that people dress up for on Halloween, which is wild and cool and I really liked that. It’s not something that I necessarily miss in between. I think Selene really exists on her own and in her own world separately from mine. Sometimes I find myself wearing her trousers again and it’s weird but whatever.

What is it about Selene and these Underworld stories want to continue to portray her over the years? Like, when you got the script for ‘Blood Wars’, what was it that continued to be engaging about her and her journey?

BECKINSALE: I think one of the facts is that it’s an original story, because there’s no template for where it goes from here. It’s completely wide open. She’s had a very traumatic route. She’s always been a very tragic person, really. With her family being wiped out and generally being unlucky in love and being betrayed all over the place. So there’s a kind of [inaudible] about her that I found rather heroic. She’s kind of a good girl but she’s got savage temper and something about that I find really appealing.

For more from my set visit, click on the links below:

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