For “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans,” actor Bill Nighy likes the fact that he gets to wear a battle skirt and fangs. “How often do you get to wear a battle skirt? It feels very cool. I get very cool armor and I feel kind of manly. I don’t get those kinds of parts,” Nighy said at a roundtable interview at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con.
“I usually get people who are falling apart, sad people who are middle-aged and sad and lame. I don’t often get to play the ‘Alpha Male,’ so this is as near as I get,” he said.
“Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” is a Prequel of Sorts
In this, the third movie in the “Underworld” franchise, Nighy reprises the role of Viktor, the vampire king who takes an almost perverse delight in torturing and tormenting Lycans, the community of werewolves. “I get to do things that I don’t get to do in other parts. I get to kill werewolves with one hand; I bring down a 12-foot werewolf,” he said.
“Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” is a prequel of sorts, looking back at the origins of the feud between the Death Dealers, who are led by Viktor, and the Lycans. Nighy said that Viktor definitely shows his true colors in the prequel.
“He’s just absolutely appalling in this movie, really, really as bad as it could get. Really unforgiveable stuff. There’s no question about it, his true colors are revealed,” Nighy said. “I’m about 2,000 years younger, which is a bit of a stretch. It’s the origins of the ‘Underworld’ story and you get to see the origins of the werewolf/vampire split,” he said.
Six Hours in Makeup to Become a Death Dealer
Nighy’s involvement with the “Underworld” franchise began about 6 years ago when he walked in off the street and met Len Wiseman, the director and co-writer of the first film. “He had a camcorder and said ‘How tall are you and have you been working lately?” Then he said ‘Would you like to do the vampire thing?’ and he gave me the gig on the spot,” Nighy said.
Despite the fact that he had to spend 6 hours in the makeup chair to turn into Viktor and another two hours to remove his makeup, Nighy said “Underworld” was a very cool movie and he was happy to be in it.
“I turned out to be a vampire enthusiast; I do like vampires. I liked that script; “Underworld” was very hip and very slick and funny, and I don’t mean funny like in jokes, but witty. Any film that contains glass bullets that contain harnessed daylight is kind of up my street,” Nighy said.
“I like the fact that I get to hiss at people. There are whole scenes with Michael Sheen with no dialogue at all where we simply try to hiss louder and longer than each other. It gets stupid. When they shout ‘Cut!’, you simply fall apart laughing because it is so stupid.”
“Underworld: Rise of the Lycans,” rated R for bloody violence and some sexuality, opens nationwide on Friday, January 23.