Ok, so I admit that the choice between being a lycan and being a vampire is sort of a no-brainer (who really wants to have hair sprouting all over their bodies and constantly run around on all fours, for starters?), but I nevertheless couldn’t resist posing the question to “Underworld: Awakening” co-stars Theo James and India Eisley when I sat down with them recently at the film’s Los Angeles press junket.
“Vampire,” said Eisley with zero hesitation.
“Yeah, you go through less t-shirts,” concurred James (who recently starred in the first season of the British supernatural series “Bedlam”).
“It’s cleaner,” continued Eisley. “And after experiencing the [lycan] fangs, I’d much prefer to have the dainty little vampire teeth.”
James and Eisley are both new to the long-running action/horror series, with James playing David, a vampire who rallies his fellow bloodsuckers into fighting back against the humans who have forced them underground, and Eisley portraying Eve, a lycan/vampire hybrid who is heralded as “the key to ending the war” that’s broken out between the humans and the supernaturals.
The two co-star, of course, alongside Kate Beckinsale – back for her first time in the franchise since “Underworld: Evolution” – as vampire assassin Selene, who near the beginning of the film is freed from her imprisonment in a cryogenic tomb after 12 years. Prior to getting the role, Eisley and her mother, British movie actress Olivia Hussey, actually ran into Beckinsale and series creator/producer Len Wiseman at a cafe. It was an unexpected run-in that must have left the young actress feeling pretty good about her chances of scoring the part.
“[Kate and I] had actually only met once prior to filming, before me even getting the job actually,” she explained. “It was after I had gone through this string of callbacks, and I walked into a coffee shop, and I came back to the table, and my mother said, ‘you’ll never believe who walked in with her husband and daughter – Kate Beckinsale!’ And so then Len Wiseman came over to the table and he just said, ‘did you recently audition for ‘Underworld’?’ And I said, ‘yeah I did.’ And he said, ‘yeah we just watched your tape, we loved it.’ And then a couple of weeks later, I got the offer.”
Also a newcomer to the franchise is actor Michael Ealy (“Takers”, “For Colored Girls”), who here plays the role of Detective Sebastian, a bona fide human in a franchise best known for its legions of fanged monsters. I asked him if he’d ever felt left out given that his character doesn’t really factor into the majority of the film’s go-for-broke action sequences.
“You know it’s interesting, when we were actually shooting, I was never shooting at the same time as some vampire/lycan battles were going on, so it was always separate,” he told me. “So I never really saw them fighting and felt like, ‘ah man, I wish I could do that!’ But when I saw the movie, yeah, when I saw the film, I was highly jealous. But I was also glad I had my guns, you know? It was the best I could do.”
He did, fortunately, get to do a bit of his own stunt driving in the film, though he confessed there was one bit the production wouldn’t allow him to take part in.
“There was one [stunt], a long 180 [degree turn], that they did not allow me to do,” he admitted.
I’m gonna say that was probably for the best.
You can check out the full interviews with all three actors below! And follow me on Twitter @hitfixchris.
Theo James/India Eisley:
“Underworld: Awakening” hits theaters this Friday.