Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter… well, reported that Lakeshore Entertainment would be rebooting the Underworld film franchise. No one is up in arms. Let’s face it, the four Underworld features were not gamechangers like the Iron Man films. Nor were they critical successes, or even broad, campy crowdpleasers like the Fast & Furious movies. In fact, other than the moody mix of murk, melancholy, and bombast that director Len Wiseman employed in the first film to introduce the franchise’s then-novel concept — Romeo and Juliet, but if Romeo was a werewolf and Juliet was a vampire — the series has been mostly forgettable.
If ever there was a spark of light and life to Underworld, it was certainly Kate Beckinsale as the protagonist Selene, a haunted heroine with ice blue eyes, delicate fangs, and a sentimental side. Some might say that any pale starlet in a latex catsuit could have played the role with equal competence. Possibly. But, it’s notable that the third film in the franchise Rise of the Lycans did not star Beckinsale; who among us can now remember who the hero of that film was without going straight to IMDB? (Of course, it doesn’t help that the prequel’s plot was as grim and lifeless as the pre-undead dead.)
An Underworld reboot will most likely mean an end to the character of Selene and the departure of Beckinsale as anything more than, I’m assuming, a cameo. More than her twin pistols and that extraordinarily tight get-up, we will miss the sinister poshness she brought to the role. Beckinsale was alternately kick-ass, aristocratic, stiff, and remarkably tender as if, had vicious war not broken out between doggies and bats, she might be someone in a Jane Austen adaptation.
And, so, we salute you Kate Beckinsale — our one true Selene. Real vamps never die.