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Feature: Underworld: Evolution

Evolution of the Monsters

Viktor returns

We visit the set of the new monster showdown to meet director Len Wiseman and star Kate Beckinsale

Itís a cloudy and damp day at the spacious Vancouver Film Studios, home for the filming of Underworld: Evolution, sequel to 2003ís surprise hit Underworld. This is the site of a climactic battle between vampires and werewolves, a war thatís been raging for centuries. Itís a long way from Budapest in Hungary, which is where Evolution director Len Wiseman filmed 2003ís Underworld, and thatís just the way Wiseman likes it. ďItís funny because people think we shot Underworld in Budapest for the Eastern European flavour Ė the castles, the villagers, all of that Ė but it was really just about saving money because we didnít have much,Ē says Wiseman. ďThe fact is that most of Underworld was shot in a studio, not on location. The problem was that no one on the crew spoke English and none of us spoke Hungarian. With Evolution, we have a lot more money to make this film and weíre filming at a big studio, which we need because we have bigger effects. Itís also nice to be in Vancouver because itís close to Los Angeles so Kate and I can fly back and spend time with our child. Vancouver has the best crews in the world. We had $20 million to make Underworld and $50 million to make this sequel, and that means that Evolution will have a lot of effects I wasnít able to put in Underworld, namely bigger and badder werewolves.Ē

Suddenly, a beautiful and slinky Vampiress, covered in black leather from head to toe, moves behind Wiseman and puts her hands over his eyes. This is Selene, Death Dealer turned fugitive in Underworld: Evolution, played by actress Kate Beckinsale, who just happens to also be married to the director. ďObviously, one of the biggest differences between Underworld and Underworld: Evolution is the fact that Kate and I are married,Ē says Wiseman. ďItís so weird to be working with your lead actress, and thinking of her as an actress but also knowing sheís your wife. Itís been great working together. The only difference is that Iím much more careful with Kate in terms of allowing her to do dangerous stunts. When we made Underworld, I mightíve been willing to let her do a dangerous stunt. On this film, Iíll call for a stunt performer. The biggest change is that Kateís had a lot more input on her character and the direction of the story in the sequel.Ē

Evolution, which Wiseman originally considered to be just a working title for the sequel, is an unusual sequel in that the film is both a prequel and a sequel to Underworld. Evolution continues the adventures of Selene, the worldís sexiest Death Dealer, and Lycan hybrid Michael, played by Scott Speedman, as they try to uncover the dark secrets of their respective bloodlines, all of which leads to an epic battle between the warring Death Dealers and Lycans, at least those that werenít killed by Michael and Selene in Underworld.

by David Grove

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Shivers #125

Photo © Screen Gems Inc
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

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Shivers #125
January 2006
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