RT Interview: Bill Nighy talks Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Fangs, skirts and buckets full of alginate
On being invited to play a thousand year old vampire...
Well, I tell you what, I was amazed to get the gig but then I am always amazed to get the gig. I do remember it was a very bad day when I got Underworld. I was on a tube in London town and it was very hot and someone threw themselves under the tube and died. I had to get off the tube and everyone was quiet and awful. And then I remember having to walk for miles to get to the place where I was meeting Len for the first time. Not that this means anything, I am just telling you because it was a horrible moment. And then I have to go for this job and I met this very nice man and I did my version of a vampire and then he walked away and you think: 'that will be the end of that'. Like most actors I have done 690 of these things and you get maybe 12 or something. You get used to just walking away and thinking they won't happen. But I did admire the script. I remember thinking this is serious because I really do like vampire stories and they are not always that great. There are obviously some very distinguished exceptions to that but a lot of them don't do it justice and this one did. And I was keen, I was very keen.
The thousand year old bit... had I known what the thousand year old bit meant... if I truly knew what being asleep for a thousand years in the first one meant I would never have turned up. It was six hours to put the prosthetic on. First of all they fly you to Los Angeles and pour a bucket of alginate over your head and just before they pour the bucket the young man says, 'um... do you get... like... claustrophobic or anything' and it is a little late for that actually. They put things up your nose so you can breathe and then they wait for it to harden. You can feel it hardening around your shoulders and head and they take that off and then they put it all over your torso and you stand up. And they all stop laughing at your jokes because you have to stand up for some time while it hardens around your rib cage and it all gets a bit spooky and a bit quiet and you're wondering why it has all gone a bit quiet and then afterwards they crack you out of it and tell you that half the people faint apparently because it gets so tight around their ribs that they can't breathe properly. They have to catch you when that happens which is why it all goes a bit quiet. By the time you leave the building they have a full length model of you and they can do anything to it. They can cut your head off, they can cut your legs off, anything they want.
I would love to have one in the hall actually; if it had the right skirt on.