#NYCC16: Director Anna Foerster Talks Underworld: Blood Wars


The Underworld series has been roaring along for many years now, constantly adding to its own mythology, backward and forward in time. Director Anna Foerster comes to the series as a first time feature director with an inherent respect for that rich history, stating that she is always mindful of those elements that keep fans coming back. “You take that mythology and you build on it” which includes further exploring the hierarchy of the vampires and the militaristic way in which they deliver and carry out marching orders… the pack nature of Lycans even when they are in a fully human form with that beast lurking near the surface… perhaps even sub-sets of vampires and Lycans where we see different forms and powers.

The film takes place an indeterminate number of years after the last film. The number of years is left murky as “vampires don’t experience time the way we do, so it is not important to them.” When you have forever ahead of you, the lifetime of a human must seem like a passing storm… or rather an odd holiday marked on the calendar as an afterthought. The crux of the film deals with Selene having lost everything, at a point in her life where she almost has a death wish. She’s lost her coven, her lover, her daughter, and she realizes her blood (literally) could cause more bloodshed than any catalyst that has come before. Can she prevent this? Can she rediscover something to fight for? A parallel story forms around David (Theo James) who is a reluctant hero type. He must accept who he is and find his place in the vampire world. The two character’s paths cross as they both struggle for a deeper meaning in their lives.

I asked Anna what she might want to add or enhance in the series with her turn in the director’s chain, having taken in all the previous films. She remarked “I wanted to explore the different facets of Selene. She’s this incredible, bad ass woman, but she IS a woman and has vulnerabilities. I wanted to explore those vulnerabilities without losing sight of the bad ass female action hero.

On the topic of monsters, I asked what Anna might prefer in realizing the film’s creatures on-screen; practical effects… digital… puppetry? Anna mentioned her background as visual effects director of photography with her first film in the states being Independence Day. “I love the idea of doing as much as possible, practical… in camera… in a way that actors can interact with it, but then you come to the point where you ask how much is actually possible working like this. Time and money become a concern. But we really did use practical as much as we could. Every time there is a direct interaction… a foreground Lycan, practical is definitely used. In this movie we probably have the highest Lycan count ever, so there comes a point where it is completely CG. There are HORDES of Lycans!

I asked how far the technology has come in creating hordes of creatures, since we’ve seen CG armies marching into battle that range from amazing to Gumby. Anna mentions she believes the effects look “really quite good” at the moment, with work still being completed at this moment. That’s not just someone who works on the movie giving a biased opinion (though you may think what you will of the statement), but having seen the previous films and comparing, she said the new movie’s werewolves absolutely hold up, mentioning that with every new film using CG effects, film fans expect more and everyone on this production is taking great pride in creating the best monsters they can.

The look of the Lycans will be familiar (in keeping with past films in the Underworld series) with slight changes, particularly in how they run, noting the proportions when they are standing or crouched on all fours is an “interesting thing” to observe. One Lycan will stand out from the rest with a new look and abilities. There aren’t new creatures on the film beyond those vampires and werewolves, but in exploring the mythology, we see different classes among those two creature types and this new Lycan is one of them.

Underworld: Blood Wars is “definitely gory, the battles are big”, but at the core, we see Selene come full circle as a vampire. “You’ll feel like you’ve seen this complete arch in her evolution.” Sounds like something that will make die-hard fans start lining up for opening day!

You’ll find Underworld: Blood Wars in theaters beginning January 6, 2017, from Sony Pictures Entertainment. Stay tuned for lots more between now and then!

Alongside series star Kate Beckinsale, Theo James (the Divergent series) returns as Selene’s ally David, reprising the role he played in Underworld: Awakening. British actors Tobias Menzies (“Outlander,” “Rome”) and Lara Pulver (“Sherlock”) take on the respective roles of a formidable new Lycan leader and a fiercely ambitious Vampire, and Charles Dance (“Game of Thrones”) again plays Vampire elder Thomas.

Rounding out the film’s stellar international cast are James Faulkner (“Game of Thrones”), Peter Andersson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), newcomer Clementine Nicholson, Bradley James (A&E’s “Damien”), and Daisy Head (Fallen).

Anna Foerster directs. Foerster, who previously directed episodes of the television series “Criminal Minds” and “Outlander,” is widely known for her work as cinematographer on epic blockbusters such as Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and White House Down.

The screenplay for Underworld: Blood Wars was penned by Cory Goodman (The Last Witch Hunter, Priest) and based on characters originally created by Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, and Danny McBride. Lakeshore Entertainment’s Tom Rosenberg (The Lincoln Lawyer, Million Dollar Baby), Gary Lucchesi (Million Dollar Baby, Underworld), and Richard S. Wright (The Lincoln Lawyer, Underworld) are producing, as is David Kern (Underworld: Awakening) along with Len Wiseman (Underworld, Total Recall).

For more info visit the official Underworld Facebook page.

Vampire death dealer Selene (Beckinsale) fends off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David (James) and his father, Thomas (Dance), she must stop the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Underworld: Blood Wars



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