Kate Beckinsale has been the face (and teeth) of the Underworld franchise and now you can see her in the original film on super streamer Netflix.
Underworld stars Kate Beckinsale as Selene, a member of an elite group of vampires called Death Dealers. She is caught in the middle of the vampire/werewolf secret war that has been ongoing for generations. Selene also has a personal interest in this war. She is hell-bent on revenge against the Lycans as they murdered her parents when she was a child.
Selene discovers, during a fight against the Lycans, that they are looking for a seemingly ordinary man, medical student Michael Corvin. After rescuing Michael from a group of Lycans, Selene also realizes that Lucian (Michael Sheen), who was previously thought to be dead, is still alive. Selene and Michael escape, but not before Lucian bites Michael.
Kraven, a vampire noble, was the only one who saw Lucian die (by his hands) so Lucian’s appearance leads Selene (Kate Beckinsale) to believe that Kraven is secretly working with the Lycans. She, along with Michael, return to her coven’s mansion where she prematurely awakens the vampire elder Viktor (Bill Nighy).
Viktor is unhappy with his awakening and immediately is skeptical of Selene’s accusation. As Selene awaits her fate for defying Kraven, she tells Michael of her history with the vampires. She has Michael chained, fearing he will turn into a werewolf on the full moon.
The Lycans, though, are still in pursuit of Michael and eventually take him. At the same time, Selene captures a Lycan scientist, Singe.
While captured, Michael is told the true story of Lucian, who fell in love with Viktor’s daughter Sonja. It was a forbidden love, one that ended with Viktor killing his own daughter to prevent a vampire/werewolf co-mingling.
Singe, now being interrogated by Viktor, informs him that Selene (Kate Beckinsale) was correct about Kraven’s betrayal and though Viktor stopped vampires and Lycans from becoming one, they actually do have a common ancestor and that is why the Lycans want Michael. He is the direct descendant of the vampire-werewolf hybrid line. Michael carries a unique genetic strain that could make him an unstoppable vampire-werewolf. The Lycans want his blood.
Do the Lycans get his blood? Does Selene get her revenge? More secrets are spilled as Selene and Michael re-team to fight both sides.
Len Wiseman brought Underworld to the big screen from a script written by Danny McBride (not the comedian-actor). The film, which was a surprise hit bringing in almost $96 million at the box office on its $22 million budget, was not without its controversy though.
White Wolf, Inc and Nancy A. Collins filed copyright infringement claims against the movie saying the film resembled White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse video games and Collins’ Sonja Blue novels. White Wolf alone filed 17 claims of copyright infringement. The lawsuit concluded with a confidential settlement between all parties.
The other “controversy” involved Kate Beckinsale, Michael Sheen, and director Len Wiseman. Beckinsale and Sheen previously were in an eight-year relationship and had a child together. They never married but remained close. It was Beckinsale who convinced them to hire Sheen for the part of Lucian.
When Kate Beckinsale met director Len Wiseman on the set of Underworld, they immediately fell for each other. Wiseman was married at the time and though the two denied ever having a sexual relationship during filming, Wiseman’s ex-wife felt differently.
Wiseman split from his wife and he and Kate Beckinsale married the following year. Their marriage lasted 11 years and included four more Underworld films – Underworld: Evolution, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Underworld: Awakening, and Underworld: Blood Wars.
Kate Beckinsale’s career began across the pond on British television shows like Couples, Devices and Desires, One Against the Wind, and Rachel’s Dream. Her first feature film was the 1993 film Much Ado About Nothing that boasted an all-star cast that included Kenneth Branagh, Michael Keaton, Denzel Washington, Emma Thompson, and Keanu Reeves.
Kate Beckinsale was next seen in Royal Deceit, Haunted, Shooting Fish and The Last Days of Disco before she grabbed bigger roles in bigger films such as Brokedown Palace, Pearl Harbor, Serendipity, and Laurel Canyon before her fist big action picture, Underworld.
The Underworld franchise didn’t do Kate Beckinsale wrong. The five films have grossed over half a billion at the box office and boosted her standing in Hollywood. Even with all the success the franchise has brought her, a sixth film is not in the cards. Not that Hollywood wouldn’t make one, but Beckinsale says her time in the franchise is over.
During a recent interview, she was asked about a possible sixth film and her answer was short, sweet, and to the point. “I wouldn’t return. I’ve done plenty of those,” she said via Movieweb.
This doesn’t mean Kate Beckinsale wouldn’t return to the action genre, because she is. After being seen recently in the 2018 film Farming, she was then seen in the series The Widow. Those two, smaller films/series set Beckinsale up for Jolt, an Amazon Original that has an anger-management problem that she keeps in check with an electrode-lined vest. She shocks herself to bring her anger down when she begins to feel homicidal.
If you’re in the mood for some vampire and werewolf action, head on over to Netflix and join Kate Beckinsale in her battle against both in Underworld.