|Måns Mårlind Director||previously directed Shelter|
|Björn Stein Director||previously directed Shelter|
After the events of Underworld: Evolution, the world has discovered the existence of Vampires and Lycans and have waged war against. Selene was captured and put into hibernation. She awakes 12 years later and escapes from her prison only to find out she has a daughter.
Jalmari Helander was offered a chance to direct.
|J. Michael Straczynski||Screenplay|
|Stephen Rea||Jacob Lane|
|Michael Ealy||Detective Sebastian|
|Kristen Holden-Ried||Quint Lane|
|Jacob Blair||Officer Kolb|
|Adam Greydon Reid||Med Tech #1|
|See Full Credits|
Underworld: Awakening is a horror/fantasy film starring Kate Beckinsale, released in 2012. Swedish duo Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein directed, while the screenplay was written by John Halvin, Allison Burnett and series creator Len Wiseman, who also acted as producer for the movie.
A follow-up to Underworld: Evolution was first conceived as early as December 2005 by franchise co-creator and then-director Len Wiseman. Prior to production of the original Underworld film, Wiseman, along with Kevin Grevioux and Danny McBride, plotted out the history of their universe and in doing so, outlined possibilities for future sequels:
“We sort of mapped out an entire history and story... a massive collection of ideas and stories that we're putting out at certain times.”
However, in June 2006, Wiseman announced that the next instalment of the franchise was to be a prequel, leading to the production of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Despite this, rumours of a possible sequel to Evolution began to circulate throughout 2008 (prior to the release of Rise of the Lycans). The rumours eventually were proven to be correct, leading to the announcement of a fourth installment in the Underworld series. The movie also marked the return to the characters and story arc outlined in Underworld and Evolution, albeit in a significantly later time frame.
Taking place 12 years after the resolution of Underworld: Evolution, Selene awakes from a coma to find that she has a daughter, named Eve. Like Michael Corvin, she too is a vampire/lycan hybrid, but has since disappeared. It is up to Selene to track down Eve so they can combine their forces to destroy Biocom - a corporation attempting to create genetically superior lycans - who are still a threat.
Following a report by Bloody Disgusting in 2009 claiming that she‘d signed on for a new movie, lead actress Kate Beckinsale suggested that although she was not entirely against the idea of returning to the franchise, she denied the project was active:
“I don’t know anything about a 4th Underworld. I don’t know anything about that at this point…I think if they came up with an amazing script I wouldn’t be adverse to it. But it’s not planned or anything. I don’t think my daughter needs to see my bottom in rubber for another ten years. But I don’t know, I’ve heard they’re talking about a 4th one, but I don’t know if that’s officially happening or that it’s a rumour. As far as I’m concerned it’s just a rumour.”
However, in September 2010, reports surfaced that Beckinsale had agreed to reprise her role as Selene, in a project that was then simply titled Underworld 4. At this point, it was also revealed that Wiseman would not return as director due to his commitments with his Total Recall remake, but would continue to produce the film - a similar arrangement as had taken place for Rise of the Lycans. In March 2011, various entertainment outlets reported that Takers star Michael Ealy was to appear in the movie as Detective Sebastian. In a press release in April 2011, Screen Gems revealed several of the other cast members, most notably India Eisley as Eve, while also confirming for the first time that the movie would be shown in 3D.
Prior to the commencement of shooting, Sony Pictures launched a campaign entitled 'Faces of the Fan', as a means of casting an undiscovered actress to play a role in the film. Potential candidates were asked to download a section of the script from their website and then record and upload their audition for it to be reviewed by a panel of studio and production executives. The press release revealed they were looking for “a fresh talent to play a pivotal role as a female teenager”, while Screen Gems’ Clint Culpepper said that he was excited by being able to “source people from all over the country to find unknown talent and give them a shot at something they may not have otherwise been able to do”. In May 2011, the 'Face of the Fans' website reported that the role had gone to young Brit, Lucie Carrington, who would play a barmaid in the movie.
Shooting for Underworld: Awakening began in March 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Leaked set photos from the shoot revealed that filming was taking place in Simon Fraser University, which was acting as the location of a company called Antigen. The photos also depicted a stunt woman in Selene’s costume jumping off the university’s library, in a similar fashion to a scene in the original film.
Originally, Awakening was not pitched to Marlind and Stein as a 3D movie and prior to production, neither had planned to change this. However, the pair soon came round to the idea and chose to shoot the movie in 3D, shunning the option of a post-conversion. They also revealed that this decision presented its own issues which needed addressing. In order to ensure 3D had the desired effect, as well as the unwieldy large cameras, they had to set up longer takes and use fewer rapid cuts in a scene. Additionally, between 750-800 effects shots designed around the 3D aspect needed to be edited. Despite this, writer and producer raised his concerns over the viability of the concept:
“To be honest, I wasn’t comfortable at all. Like many others, I was nervous about certain aspects of 3D. Does it help? Does it hurt? Underworld: Awakening wasn’t greenlit as 3D. … It was months in to it that we decided on the 3D. It took a lot of testing; there hadn’t been a lot of live-action movies [in 3D at that point]. I don’t think it’s the future of films”
Marlind and Stein also employed a somewhat unusual approach to co-directing. The duo would take it in turns as director, with that day’s inactive director acting as the other’s “best buddy”. The inactive director would not interact with any of the cast or production crew at this time, instead only offering advice and notes to the active director about that particular day’s shoot. Although unorthodox, they claim that this approach keeps them from suffering burnout from gruelling shooting schedules. The choice to co-direct meant they also briefly found themselves in trouble with the DGA, who believed each movie should only have one director. Eventually, however, they managed to convince the DGA that their arrangement was legitimate and therefore were allowed to continue with the film.
A comic-con panel for Underworld: Awakening was held in Hall H, featuring Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein, Len Wiseman, Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy and Theo James. At this event, the first ever trailer was shown, a clip that Stein promised would not be shown anywhere else. They claimed that consequently, the video would be significantly more violent than the theatrical trailer that would be later be released in August. Marlind and Stein intentionally omitted any Lycans from both trailers, but after fielding questions at the panel, assured fans that they would once again play an important part in the main narrative. They also confirmed that different variants will be present, while hinting that there would be more Lycans present than in the previous instalments.
Wiseman revealed that he had been working on a series of anime shorts that would take place in various periods of the Underworld universe and announced that they would be included as bonus content on the DVD. Wiseman also admitted that future Underworld movies were a definite possibility, expressing an interest in taking already established characters and placing them into a significantly different situation than previous films.
The event also marked the first occasion that the movie was billed by its official name, Underworld: Awakening. Previously, the project was known as Underworld 4, before later receiving the title Underworld: New Dawn.
For more details about from the Comic-Con panel, check out Rorie’s news report.
Though several critics did enjoy it, reviews for Awakening were, overall, negative. On Rotten Tomatoes, 18 of the 67 reviews were positive; the movie received a 27%, categorizing it as "Rotten" (a 60% is needed to be considered "Fresh"). On Metacritic, the film earned a 39; it was in the lowest color, Red, and the second lowest category, "Generally Unfavorable." It is worth noting that merely one more point would have bumped the movie up to both a higher color and a higher category. 5 of the Metacritic reviews were positive, 5 were mixed, and 7 were outright negative.
Awakening was the highest grossing Underworld movie yet at both the domestic and foreign box office.
Awakening opened to a healthy $25 million in the US and closed with around $62 million; the final tally was significantly higher than the original Underworld and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (which did not have the sci-fi setting of the other pictures), but was within $200 thousand of Underworld: Evolution (and that was not counting inflation). A high percentage of Awakening filmgoers saw the movie in 3D.
Overseas, Awakening made nearly $100 million; this far surpassed all of the previous entries in the series, none of which had passed the $50 million mark outside of the US.
Here's What You Missed: Underworld
Want to catch up on the Underworld series before Awakening comes out? Probably not, but here's this anyway!
Trailer 2: Underworld Awakening
The continuing mystery of these films is how precisely Kate Beckinsale continues to fit into these outfits. I guess blood is a low-calorie food.
Trailer: Underworld: Awakening
At some point, a studio name like "Screen Gems" really starts to seem like false advertising.
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