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Comic Con 2008: Return to 'Underworld' for 'Rise of the Lycans' Prequel

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Jul 30, 2008 | 7:10am EDT

Remember when vampire Selene fell hard for human turned hybrid Michael Corvin in the first Underworld film? Great; well you can forget all about those two because they won’t be in the new franchise prequel; Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans. Heck, they weren’t even born yet. Instead the film focuses on the Lycans revolution against the vampires as they rise up out of slavery and turn on their masters.

When Hollywood.com met up with the cast down at Comic Con this year we found out the story centers on the romance between Lucian (Michael Sheen) and Viktor’s daughter Sonja (Rhona Mitra), something only previously seen in flashbacks. Luckily, the loose lipped bunch was ready to spill a few more secrets as well. Here’s what we found out:

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The Lycans POV: 

Patrick Tatopoulos (Director): "You will be watching the movie through the eyes of the werewolf this time…through the eyes of the slaves so the tone, the essence will have to be different. The main character is Lucian so you see everything through him, although the relationship [with Sonja] and the connection is very close like Romeo and Juliet, but the tone of the movie will be different by that and that drives the rest of the movie. It is more violent, it is more macho in some ways because it is seen through those guys’ eyes. It feels different, which makes for a different female character as well."

Viktor’s Return as the Resident Badass: 

Bill Nighy (Vampire Elder /Viktor):

"I get to do things that I don’t get to do in other parts. I get to kill werewolves with one hand, I take down a 12 foot werewolf and I get to occasionally pretend to wield a sword…I like the fact that I get to hiss at people. There are entire scenes with Michael Sheen and I with no dialogue whatsoever where we simply try to hiss louder and longer than each other. It gets stupid and I dig it when it is daft. When they shout cut you just fall apart laughing because it is so stupid, but so cool. I like the fact that I wear a battle skirt and fangs. You know, how many times do you get to wear a battle skirt? It feels cool and I get very cool armor and I look kind of manly. I don’t normally play masculine type roles, I don’t get those parts. I get people who are falling apart and sad people who are middle aged and shy and lame. I don’t very often get to play alpha male so it is as near as I get.

Get With The Times (no more silver bullets and harnessed daylight): 

Kevin Grevioux (Lycan/Raze):

This time instead of carrying a gun I carry an axe. There is also a lot of hand to hand fighting as well. This is a lot more physical than the other one was because we don’t have the aid of technology, things of that nature.

Character Cameos:

Patrick Tatopoulos (Director): You are going to see glimpses of past characters, but again these people – William the werewolf is in jail, [Marcus] is not around, he is in his coffin. You know in Underworld how a vampire will be in his coffin when it is not his time? This is the time of Viktor…you won’t see Marcus, there is maybe glimpse of Marcus at some point.

Love is in the Air: 

Rhona Mitra (Vampire/Sonja): When they were children, when they were little kids [they found love]. He was Lycan, he was a half- breed and I am obviously the daughter of Viktor. It struck up when they were about 8-years-old and it continued on for some time. They had to really play out the love story behind closed doors and in secrecy for all of those reasons. It sort of comes to a head in this movie.

Recreating Flashbacks:

Patrick Tatopoulos (Director): It was a painful process [to reshoot the flashback from the first film]…we always planned on designing the sequence of the death of Sonja in one of those great rooms we had designed. Then suddenly – nobody raised a thing about this – and then suddenly, we were like ‘Hold on, we have to match the first movie.’ The panic came and suddenly we started to dig out all the material from the first film. We wanted to see how we could use some of that by mixing it in with our footage for the close ups. This idea went for a little bit, but then suddenly we scrapped everything and said you know what, it is about the emotion of the two characters and when you watch the new one there will be many things that are similar. The room is slightly different; the female character is obviously different. Lucian we didn’t use the old footage because they look different, it was almost 10 years back. Viktor looks different; it was a few years back. It made more sense for us to recreate the scene. In that fashion we decided to not recreate it exactly as it was. The story told is exactly the same.

Sonja vs. Selene:

Patrick Tatopoulos (Director): Rhona’s character Sonja is the single most important character that hasn’t been introduced before. It is interesting when you look at the first Underworld, Viktor tells Selene that she reminds him so much of Sonja so there was a certain aspect of Sonja that we really wanted to designate an identification between the two, but she is a tougher, bolder character and less sophisticated in some ways.

Raze the Alpha-Male Human?: 

Kevin Grevioux (Lycan/Raze): I am a human at first and I get turned later so I’m reacting to everything as if this world is new to me. So my physicality is nullified by my humanity, however there are some things that happen and I’m sure you’ll be surprised when you see it…you must remember too that Raze is a very alpha male physical creature so he is always going to look at things from the standpoint, ‘How can I physically deal with this?’ Not that he doesn’t think, but these are creatures trying to kill you so you can’t talk to them you have to physically engage them.

More Werewolves Than You Can Shake a Stick At:

Patrick Tatopoulos (Director): Definitely one thing that is happening that is a challenge for us in this movie is that in the old Underworld you always saw a couple of werewolves jumping across – you never saw 200 werewolves so in this movie you are going to see hundreds of werewolves attacking the castle. In that instance the technology is limited with the suits so we use a lot of the practical werewolves still in the same fashion they were used in the other movies. Now we have big sequences that are going to be full blown with CGI rendered werewolves. That is the challenge…a werewolf leaping off a castle and fighting with like 200 vampires, you can’t do this with a bunch of guys in suits. It just doesn’t work.

No Unsophisticated Feeding Frenzies in this Coven: 

Rhona Mitra (Vampire/Sonja): It is actually not brought up, you don’t see any of the feeding you just see us drinking it from the glass. There is the dream fasting, when Viktor can bite into a neck and all the video, the person’s story gets played out. Dream fasting – I don’t know if that’s a word I made up for it or if that term really exists.

Forget the Research (this is a prequel after all):

Patrick Tatopoulos (Director): I am sure you can watch the movie, because it is the roots of the two other stories. However, I think it will be an asset to have seen the two other ones because there are little things that bring you back to the future.

Check out more photos from the film!

Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans opens Jan. 23, 2009

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