Joining Kate Beckinsale in Columbia Pictures’ supernatural action-thriller “Underworld Awakening” are new cast members India Eisley and Theo James who both play pivotal characters that could propel the popular franchise to greater heights.
“Underworld Awakening” brings a stunning new dimension to the epic battle between Vampires and Lycans, as the first film in the franchise to shoot in 3D. Beckinsale returns in her lead role as the vampire warrioress Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species.
Newcomer India Eisley plays the teenaged Eve, whose life has been lived as a test subject for the biotech conglomerate Antigen that imprisoned her mother – none other than, Selene. Eisley, who takes on her first major film role in “Underworld Awakening,” captivated the filmmakers with her solemn precocity and otherworldly beauty. “India has an exotic quality to her,” says producer Gary Lucchesi. “She’s also completely believable as Kate’s daughter. She tested the first day of casting and we never topped her.”
In the film, Eve is discovered by Selene huddled in a damp underground hallway where she has taken shelter from a Lycan attack. “She’s spent her whole life at Antigen as kind of a lab rat,” says Eisley. “She broke out in her hybrid form, but she has no idea what to do because she’s never been outside. Once she gets out into the real world, it’s a complete shock.”
Eve is a bundle of contradictions, says the young actress, unaware of her powerful abilities, she’s frightened by everything she is experiencing for the first time. “Eve is both really tough and vulnerable,” Eisley says. “Like most teenage girls, she has extremes of emotion, but it’s enhanced. She has these conflicting impulses within her that she can’t control, so it goes from being very restrained to being completely animalistic.”
As a longtime fan of the franchise, Eisley applauds the changes that “Underworld Awakening” brings to the story. “It is really great how they’re re-introducing Kate and at the same time introducing new characters,” she notes. “They’ve interwoven all of the storylines seamlessly. Kate’s one of my favorite actresses and she’s just as lovely as I thought she would be. I just feel lucky to be working with her.”
Also new to the franchise is the Vampire David, played by Theo James. David has been searching for Selene, whose reputation has inspired him to want to fight back against human aggression. “For David, Selene’s a kind of legend,” says James. “She’s this super hot Vampire, but also hard as nails. When David hears she may be alive, nothing can stop him from trying to find her.”
David and his coven, which is led by his father Thomas, have taken shelter from ongoing human attacks below ground. But David is aching to take action. “The script is really strong,” says James. “We’ve got a mix of blood ties, family bonds and revenge, plus the genocide angle. I did a lot of work to make sure I knew exactly where my character was coming from, where he sat in the history of it.”
David is the first Vampire that Selene encounters at a moment when she fears there aren’t any left in the world. He takes her to his secret coven, where the remaining Vampires are hidden, but his father wants to turn Selene and Eve away. “To be fair, Selene has a reputation for killing Elders and causing all sorts of trouble,” says Beckinsale. “David becomes a champion of sorts for her. She’s never had anyone on her side before.”
Adding new young actors like Eisley and James opens up more possibilities for the franchise, says Lucchesi. “The story that does not feel complete at the end of the movie. You really feel that the franchise must go on and I think you’re going to see prominent roles for Eve and David in future Underworld films.”
Opening across the Philippines on Friday, Jan. 20 in IMAX 3D, Digital 3D and regular theaters, “Underworld Awakening” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit www.columbiapictures.com.ph to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games.