VOD Spotlight: Kate Beckinsale returns in “Underworld: Awakening”

Possibly the best thing the creators of the Underworld franchise could have done with Underworld: Awakening was to develop its lead character, Selene (Kate Beckinsale), by making her a mother. Up to now, Selene has been a cold killing machine warring against the Lycans. Now, as a mother, she finds herself with instincts that have her fighting for something.

Winning the part of Selene’s daughter was something of an endurance test for India Eisley — she tested on the first day of casting, and no one ever topped her. “She was terrific,” producer Tom Rosenberg recalls. “I remember her enchanting mother, Olivia Hussey, when she first came on the scene in Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, so it was very exciting to find India.”

To hear Eisley tell it, the fates just seemed to be in her favor, including a nod from her onscreen mother-to-be. Not long after her audition, Eisley happened to be in a coffee shop in Santa Monica and was spied by Beckinsale and her husband, Len Wiseman — producer of the film and director of the first two installments — as they were sitting with their daughter, Lily. “[Kate] turned to Len and said, ‘Look at that girl,’” Eisley recalls. “‘You should go ask her if she wants to be in the movie. She’s like a mini me.’ And he told her, ‘We just saw her audition tape.’”

Having acquired the part, as she worked on Underworld: Awakening, Eisley got to know her character better and was excited by her emotional complexity. “Eve is both really tough and vulnerable,” she 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.”

Underworld: Awakening is available starting May 8 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.


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