Kate Beckinsale talks going back to Underworld
English actress Kate Beckinsale talks about returning to Underworld in new sequel Blood Wars
It was a sunny day in California and the temperature was above normal for autumn, but London-born Kate Beckinsale would not have had it any other way.
She looked so flawless it was hard to look away during the press junket for her upcoming film Underworld: Blood Wars at the posh London Hotel in West Hollywood.
She wore a black and white sleeveless dress with a cutout at the waist, flaunting her toned midsection.
The 43-year-old actress was as beautiful as she is on screen - probably more - and charming and funny, causing several of us journalists to chuckle during the interview.
It has been nearly five years since the release of the last instalment Underworld: Awakening, and the fifth movie opens here Dec 1.
The lycans now have a new leader in Marius (Tobias Menzies), and Beckinsale as the vampire Selene and her vampire-lycan hybrid daughter Eve are being tracked down.
Her mission is to end the eternal war between vampires and lycans with the help of a few new allies.
No Underworld movie would be complete without the iconic black suit that Selene wears, and for Beckinsale, it was just like old times.
"It's a little like, 'Oh, here we go again'", she told M.
"It's like trying on your wedding dress every five years or so and wondering if it still fits.
"I didn't have to give up eating or anything. I've got fairly low blood sugars so I have to eat nearly constantly or I'd die."
While other actresses might dread having to fit back into such a restricting outfit, it did not bother Beckinsale, who said she goes to the gym all the time, which explains her amazing figure.
One thing she did work on was her stamina for all the fight scenes and learning to use the new weapons.
What separates this film from others is that it was directed by Anna J. Foerster and is the first film in the series directed by a woman.
Beckinsale's ex-husband Lens Wiseman helmed the first two - Underworld (2003) and Underworld: Evolution (2006), Patrick Tatopoulos directed the prequel Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (2009), and directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein did Underworld: Awakening (2012).
"I think it's very visceral on a lot of levels," said Beckinsale.
"I think the themes like children, love, birth, death, life, existence - all play into this film.
"The wonderful thing about Anna is that she's very collaborative. Two women together really working to bring out those themes was a nice treat actually."
Since Underworld thrilled us 13 years ago, there have been quite a few female-led franchises, proving the fact that people want to see strong women on the big screen.
"You want different things from your female action heroes, and one of them is to have an intense emotional life," she said, adding that she thinks the most brilliant female action hero is Charlize Theron's Furiosa from last year's Mad Max: Fury Road.
"She's damaged, hopeful, a loving person...It was very important we had that, too."
Earlier this year, Beckinsale was given stellar reviews for her role in the film Love And Friendship, a period drama based on the Jane Austen novella, Lady Susan, which had everyone wondering why isn't she in more similar films.
But Beckinsale said those movies are more aligned with her personality, while Underworld was something not in her "comfort zone".
"For me, it's all about trying lots of things," she said.
"I don't want to do only things that come easy to me. It's been weird being well known for the thing that's the biggest stretch for me."
And Beckinsale will continue to stretch herself in the Underworld films.
"I never predicted one and was amazed I was even cast in the first one," she said.
"I don't need to make five more Underworld movies. I've played the character and all that, but I feel if the relationship (between fans and the movie) is still alive and engaged, I wouldn't say no."