RT Interview: Bill Nighy talks Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Fangs, skirts and buckets full of alginate
The world of Vampire and Lycan will once again clash with much nashing of teeth and bloody battle, but this time in the form of a prequel. With the release of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans there are a number of familiar faces to be found amongst the warriors, including everyone's favourite thousand year old vampire, Viktor, played by Bill Nighy.
RT, along with a small contingent of journalists, were invited into the heart of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans while it was filming in New Zealand where we were able to explore, first hand, the full scale castle set that acts as home to the privileged vampires and prison to the enslaved werewolf clan. We all took time out from snooping around the subterranean cages and scaling the castle's parapets to talk to Bill Nighy about fang etiquette, skirt wearing and his repulsion of his own image.
On playing the role of Viktor for the third time...
It's been great actually. I am very fond of these movies and I am not just saying that. Len Wiseman and Danny McBride and Richard Wright, the producer, are very decent guys and they are believers. They are not just making some vampire movie. They are committed. They come out of a graphic novel background and a design background and are deeply tutored in vampire lore. Anyone who writes about 'daylight harnessed in bullet form' is in pretty good shape as far as I am concerned. I love all that stuff. I love it when it gets technical. The phenomenon of vampires has always appealed to me. Everyone kind of likes a vampire story because it almost could be true. There are those moments when you get another report of some remains found in Transylvania that indicate that perhaps it was possible in 1107AD that there was a guy who existed purely on blood. It is almost true. It is just a funky kind of lore. The whole idea of them is great.
On creating the character of Viktor...
Viktor is lordly in as much as he is king dog around these parts so I drew on that and from my experience of the genre and watching other movies. I wanted not to be too obvious. There is a sort of traditional way of playing such guys but I wanted to give it my own spin. I hate to start talking like this because it sounds so pompous whenever you start talking about acting. A lot of the choices I make are based on what I don't want to be. It is just trying not to repeat stuff that is done elsewhere. It is like when people do Shakespeare. For generations, when people have been asked to do Shakespeare they bend one leg, put their other hand on their sword, put their chin up slightly and start talking funny. It is like it is handed down in the DNA. It is really bizarre. It is to be resisted because it is not good for anybody and it is not good for business. Apart from that I don't know what I drew on. They put me in a skirt which always has a very profound effect on me. It is very liberating. I recommend it. Except in the wet. The problem with genre movies is everything is wet. You forget that. So when I said: 'Yes, I will wear a full length velvet skirt' it sounded like a good idea until I got on set. The set looks perfectly alright now but as soon as you start shooting the guys come in with the hoses and it starts dripping so everything is wet all of the time. It is a vampire world and it is a castle and you can't have a dry castle. It's got to be wet so you end up with a very soggy bum. You don't need to know that detail but now you do. It is a battle skirt obviously. We should always preface the word 'skirt' with the word 'battle'.