RT Interview: Bill Nighy talks Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Fangs, skirts and buckets full of alginate

Bill Nighy in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

What he likes most about playing Viktor...
I do like hissing. I like giving it a bit of vampire cat. When you get your fangs in, when you get your battle fangs in I should say, because as you probably know there are two level of fang. There is your usual street fang and then there is when you get engaged and they suddenly become much longer and fiercer. When you get your battle fangs in and hiss, I enjoy that. There was a scene the other day with Michael Sheen where I don't think there was any dialogue. It entirely consisted of him roaring at me and me hissing back him. I do enjoy that stuff.

On the pleasure of playing a villain...
Yeah, they are meant to have more fun. And in terms of acting it is great. You try to be as obnoxious as you possibly can which you never get to do in life. You never get to use the muscles in your face that make you completely obnoxious. So it is kind of refreshing in that way. And it is fun to see how bad and awful you can be.

When one hapless journo asked if it was hard to shrug off Viktor once the camera stopped rolling...
No it is not. How dare you. It is absolutely effortless. Actors always talk about taking their work home and I always think: 'What are you on? You just turn it off. You are at work and then you go home.' But maybe you should ask people's wives and families because they are best placed to know. I don't go back to the hotel and hiss at people. At least I don't think I do.

On the experience of returning to a franchise with a new director and a new female star...
It is nice to welcome new people and they have all come with a respect for it. The director, Patrick Tatopoulos, has been associated with the movies anyway and he has been tremendous.  I don't think of him as a first time director because he doesn't seem to be a first time director. He has been completely brilliant. And you also feel doubly reassured because like Len he comes from a design background and a genre background so he is steeped in the language of these movies and movies like these movies. And Rhona Mitra has come in and she is brilliant and beautiful and lovely and can do all these things that I can't do like fight, ride and look tough. She is always up for it with the sword or horses. She just rides about, does dialogue, hits the mark, gets the sword out, and gives someone a hard time effortlessly. She has been a brilliant addition to the whole series. It is a bit like returning to school and there are some new boys on the block. It is a vampire/werewolf movie and the people who are here dig vampire/werewolf movies otherwise they wouldn't be here. It is a successful franchise and everyone is happy to be a part of it.  

Rhone Mitra, Underworld: Rise of the Lycons

On watching himself on screen...
I never watch my own films. I had to watch Love Actually once. I don't know how other actors do it. I know actors are supposed to but if I can possibly avoid it, I do. I hadn't seen Underworld until we were filming Underworld: Evolution. I watched it in the hotel a couple of nights before we started filming. I just can't. I don't know why everyone isn't the same. There is nothing in it for me to watch myself. All I see is how far short it falls from what was going on in my head or what I was attempting and I don't need that information. I would rather live without that information. There was one occasion when I was with my daughter when she was younger and I took her to see a movie and it was too weird for her to see her father hanging out in the lobby. I couldn't rationalise it: 'Well Dad goes away now because he finds the sight of himself physically repulsive'... you can't really explain that to a child. 'What is wrong, Daddy?'. Well, you can hardly respond with 'It makes me nauseous when I lay eyes upon my own image'. You can't do that. She held my hand the whole way through it and every time I came on she just squeezed my hand. That worked.

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