Twenty years after the 2003 release Underworldthe deadly vampire Selene remains one of Kate Beckinsale’s most famous roles.
It was not an easy nor a smooth road to action stardom for the now fifty-year-old Beckinsale, the British actress told us during an interview in 2016. Role reminder interview (watch below).
“I was in America for a while and occasionally went looking for parts [like] a cop or someone who’s more badass, and people would say, ‘Oh, but she’s a bit Jane Austen-y and she’s very period-y, and a bit vulnerable,'” Beckinsale said, referring to her early breakout roles in costume dramas like Much ado about nothing (1993), Cold comfort farm (1995) and Emma (1996). “Oh, I thought, ‘I can’t have that.’
“And then suddenly I was sent this script and I also thought, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I could do that. I never even thought about being that kind of person.”
The role of Selene in the action thriller written by Danny McBride (no That Danny McBride) and directed by Len Wiseman (whom Beckinsale married in 2004 and divorced in 2019) would require her to play a fearless vampire slayer at the center of a generation-long battle between her ageless race and the Lycans, an ancient species of werewolf. .
Why the reservations?
“It was really scary because I had never fired a gun before. I ran like a girl. I mean, it was a disaster. I really had to get guidance in that.”
It was a work in progress during production. “I remember the stuntmen being super shocked. [They’d say]’Give a few punches.’”
Beckinsale then mimicked how she hit at the time. It wasn’t pretty. “They said, ‘Oh my God. This will take a while. ”
In the end, it all worked out for Beckinsale.
Released 20 years ago on Monday, Underworld became a surprise hit, grossing $95 million worldwide on a budget of $21 million.
The genre film didn’t fare well with critics (it received a 31% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but earned a quick fan base. And no one complained about Beckinsale’s shooting, running or hitting.
It even earned Beckinsale Best Actress nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror’s Saturn Awards, and the Teen Choice Awards.
It also launched a franchise, which led to four sequels: Underworld: evolution (2006), Underworld Rise of the Lycans (2009), Underworld: awakening (2012) and Underworld: Blood Wars(2016). Beckinsale only appeared briefly at the end of the prequel Awakenbut reprized her role in the fourth and fifth entries.
Beckinsale has left open the possibility of making a sixth installment payment.
‘I always am [in shape]. But you know you get a little, but even more, worried when you have a tight-fitting suit and have to jump off a building. You increase the cardio a little bit,” she told us in 2016. “By the way, I hate working out, I hate it. I like to sit and read.
“I never had the feeling that there would be a sequel. So I feel exactly the same as always, that Underworld is in the past, I’ve felt this way ever since [after] the first. I think I still could. I highly doubt I would do another one. I feel like I’ve played that character a lot, so I highly doubt I would. But then again, I’ve been saying that since the first one. So I don’t trust myself.”
Wiseman, meanwhile, has reportedly been developing a TV spin-off since 2017, but it has yet to materialize.