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The Press and Journal (North-East) - - YL Magazine -

he movie world has changed a lot since the first Un­der­world film came out in 2003, but the ac­tion fran­chise has stayed slightly old-school when it comes to spe­cial ef­fects – much to Kate Beck­in­sale’s re­lief.

“From the very first movie – which was ap­prox­i­mately 100 years ago – we al­ways wanted to try and do ev­ery­thing as prac­ti­cally as we pos­si­bly could, so there’s never re­ally been that much green screen,” says the ac­tress, who has reprised her role as vam­pire Se­lene for the fifth film, Un­der­world: Blood Wars.

“I’ve never re­ally come into con­tact with a ten­nis ball; it’s al­ways a man dressed in a wolf out­fit, which has made it much eas­ier for me.”

The vam­pire-ac­tion genre wasn’t the most ob­vi­ous choice for an Ox­ford-ed­u­cated English rose, but Beck­in­sale – who has been pick­ing up awards buzz for her re­cent per­for­mance in the Jane Austen film Love & Friend­ship – has man­aged to con­vince as ‘death-dealer’ Se­lene, over and over again.

“I re­ally didn’t grow up ex­pect­ing to do this kind of movie at all, but it’s pretty cool when you feel like you did it, you got away with it, and you didn’t break your leg and die!” the 43year-old con­fesses.

There’s also the draw of play­ing such a pow­er­ful fe­male lead as Se­lene – who, in Blood Wars, must fend off bru­tal at­tacks from a ri­val were­wolf clan, the Ly­cans, and the vam­pire fac­tion that has be­trayed her.

“I feel re­ally priv­i­leged to be one of those few women who gets to do this kind of movie. I think au­di­ences like to see women tak­ing names and kick­ing ass,” says Beck­in­sale, who has a 17-ear-old daugh­ter, Lily, with her ex, Welsh ac­tor Michael Sheen.

This in­stal­ment also has a strong woman be­hind the cam­era for the first time, Anna J Fo­er­ster, whose pre­vi­ous cred­its in­clude hit TV shows Out­lander and Crim­i­nal Minds.

The Ger­man-born di­rec­tor wanted to hark back to the orig­i­nal Un­der­world film, di­rected by Beck­in­sale’s ex-hus­band, Len Wise­man.

“I re­ally liked the first Un­der­world be­cause it made a big state­ment at the time about a look and a world,” says the film­maker.

“I think it would be a mis­take to say, ‘OK, now we do ev­ery­thing dif­fer­ently’. In­stead, I de­cided to take ev­ery­thing I thought was ex­cit­ing about Un­der­world and build on top of that with new, un­ex­pected el­e­ments.”

This time around, Se­lene faces an emo­tional strug­gle as well as a phys­i­cal one, as she tries to pro­tect her daugh­ter Eve (who is part-vam­pire, part-Ly­can), from the clutches of vil­lain­ous Ly­can leader Mar­ius (played by Game Of Thrones star To­bias Men­zies).

As ever, Beck­in­sale’s char­ac­ter sports a skin-tight, corseted cos­tume, which, ac­cord­ing to the un­fail­ingly glam­orous star, is “fairly com­fort­able”. Al­though, she notes, “it’s not some­thing I’d want to wear when I’m gro­cery shop­ping”.

The LA-based ac­tress also wryly ad­mits the role gives her some­thing to do with her “enor­mous joke hands” – by plac­ing guns in them.

“My out­fit might stay the same, but what the char­ac­ter’s go­ing through and the world she’s mov­ing through has been quite dif­fer­ent each time. The rea­son I was in­ter­ested in Blood Wars is that Se­lene goes through so much emo­tional stuff dur­ing the movie. That was re­ally ap­peal­ing to Anna as well.

“Se­lene’s tough and in­cred­i­bly in­ven­tive about killing mon­sters and all of that, but her mo­ti­va­tion has al­ways been love. In Blood Wars, it’s the love for her daugh­ter Eve that keeps Se­lene go­ing.

Kate Beck­in­sale as death-deal­ing vam­pire Se­lene in Un­der­world: Blood Wars

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