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“Blood Wars” gets first woman Director for “Underworld” franchise

Clementine Nicholson and director Anna Foerster on the set of Screen Gems' UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS.
Clementine Nicholson and director Anna Foerster on the set of Screen Gems’ UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS.

To bring Columbia Pictures’ epic action thriller Underworld: Blood Wars to the big screen – the latest instalment in the blockbuster franchise — the producers turned to their first-ever female director, Anna Foerster.

Besides directing several episodes of the hit TV show Outlander, Foerster has also served as the second unit director on the sci-fi films Alien: Resurrection, The Day After Tomorrow and Æon Flux among others. Underworld: Blood Wars is her feature debut.

Starring Kate Beckinsale, Theo James (the Divergent franchise), Bradley James (TV’s Merlin) and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Underworld: Blood Wars follows Vampire death dealer, Selene (Beckinsale) as she fends off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Dance), she must stop the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

“Underworld is a really exciting series that gives you really amazing opportunities as a filmmaker, visually and creatively, to create a new world,” says Foerster. “With Underworld you have rules that are very specific for the story and for the franchise, but you can veer off from that. On purely the visual and creative side, it is extremely exciting.”

“Because we have a lot of action scenes, it was very clear to me from the beginning that every single action scene has to be different,” says Foerster. “There has to be different styles in every action sequence so it is not like just another action film.”

Foerster cut her teeth as a cinematographer and feels that she brings a strong visual concept to her Underworld film. She has at least five scenes, including one action sequence, that are all shot in one take.

“What I bring to this movie is a defined visual concept,” she says, “the way the camera moves, the type of shots, the way I introduce characters in certain scenes.”

She is especially pleased with the characterisation. The director says that her favourite vampire film outside the Underworld series is the original, Swedish version of Let the Right One In, which is a critically acclaimed, character-driven piece.

“Let The Right One In was all about characters,” she notes. “It was so character-driven. And the character arcs in our script have evolved and developed over time. They have come a long way. To me, that is the most exciting part — to work with these exciting actors and to work on character. That sounds funny because if you think of Underworld and vampires and werewolves you don’t immediately think of character arcs.

“But maybe this is the secret of the original two Underworld films,” she adds, “that there was deep character in the backstory and in the mythology.”

“The honor I have on this movie is to be able to work with some really, really exciting actors,” concludes Foerster. “And I can create new roles, which we did for our story. There will be some surprises with different vampires that have different capabilities and different backgrounds.”

Opening across the Philippines on Nov. 30, “Underworld: Bloodwars” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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