Last year, Kate Beckinsale earned raves for playing Lady Susan, the scheming, quipping heroine of the Jane Austen romp “Love & Friendship.” Now she’s already back on action movie detail. In “Underworld: Blood Wars,” the English actress once again reprises her role as Selene, the “death dealer” battling both vampires and werewolves (OK, “lycans”). This round she finds herself at the center of a plot to steal her blood. It’s Beckinsale’s fifth go as Selene, having merely filed a cameo in the third installment, “Rise of the Lycans,” in 2009.
Beckinsale, 43, talks to us about not bearing tired of her most famous character, getting in shape and welcoming a female director to the franchise.
This is the franchise’s fifth instalment. What was it like to still be playing Selene?
It’s been quite a few years, so it is not like I get tired of it. We have done a few movies but over quite a long period of time. It’s particularly nice that we have people from the beginning; it’s a little bit like a little family getting back together.
Do you have to prepare physically for this role?
There is a lot of physical activity going on. You want to step up your workout so you have stamina and flexibility. I did a lot of yoga to make sure I didn’t get injured during it. And then of course learning all the fight choreography takes a long time, so there is a lot of training.
What was it like working with Anna Foerster, the series’ new director?
We always have a new director, so I’m quite used to it. The difference this time was that it was a female director, which felt very appropriate for the series. It felt like it was time to have that. And I feel very passionate about that.
Was her approach to your character different to that of a male director?
We had never had female werewolves. Maybe the male directors didn’t think they were cute enough. [Laughs] She really wanted to do little things like that. But to be honest, having not met her as a man, I don’t know what qualities are hers and what qualities are hers as a female. She came with a lot of visual ideas.
How was it filming that epic ice battle?
It wasn’t really ice, but it was still very cold because it was December in Prague, so it felt very much like it could have been ice, to be honest. But it was interesting because you had to do things in slightly smaller segments because it was a massive long epic fight. So with those ones it is really interesting to get to see the movie at the end and see how it all fits together.
What has Selene taught you over the years?
She taught me not to run like a girl, and how to throw punches. [Laughs] That’s it, really.