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

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.

Bill Nighy, Underworld: Rise of the Lycons

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'.


John A.

John Arminio

Anyone in a battle skirt is awesome in my book.

Jan 21 - 04:10 PM


Evan Godbold

I like Nighy a lot. He is hilarious.

Jan 21 - 04:29 PM

Hong N.

Hong Nguyen

Looking forward to seeing this... I think it's great they're doing the origin story so we know how the war begins, Lycans watch out...

Jan 21 - 04:40 PM


jack giroux

Bill Nighy is awesome and I really don't get why he does these movies but hey if he likes them, then good for him. Are they actually screening this for critics? P.S. Rhona Mitra is hot.

Jan 21 - 04:59 PM


Cam Shea

Hilarity, she wrote. Nighy is classic! Me thinks, however, that his policy of not watching these films is quite a sensible one...

Jan 21 - 05:14 PM


Nicola Meagher

This man is GOLD in my books

Jan 21 - 06:50 PM


idle one kenobi

Wow, Bill Nighy looks like Peter Cushing in both those pics. Great considering Peter Cushing was also the star of so many vampire films.

Maybe he could take on his role as a younger Governer Tarkin in the live action Star Wars TV show?

Jan 21 - 07:24 PM


Erica Bero

I love the soggy bum comment! Not to mention how creepy he looks in those photos...

Jan 21 - 08:36 PM


Rick V

I don't like these films much anymore, in all honesty. However, i really like Bill Nighy. He's cool, and to me one of the few positive features about this series.

Jan 21 - 11:52 PM


Rick V

Oh, and the part about hissing at people in the hotel was pretty funny :P

Jan 22 - 12:00 AM


jon doe

It'd be pretty cool to have the third installment succeed in spite of Beckinsale jumping ship, and contrary to all expectations. Probably won't happen, but I'm gonna root for it until those low teen tomato ratings dribble in.

I like how excited he is to do the vampire thing even the third time around. I think most actors in his situation would be detached and patronizing (I'm doing it for the kiddies). The guy just keeps being the best part of otherwise lame movies.
*cough* Pirates.

Jan 22 - 01:04 AM


Joel Adams

Glad he saw Love Actually 'cause that's my favourite of his parts. Shaun of the Dead was pretty good and Pirates was good for a bit but got old quickly. One of my favourite actors for sure, he just makes me smile whenever he shows up in a movie. And he's perfect for Viktor IMHO

Jan 22 - 10:08 AM

Marcus F.

Marcus Frost

I saw Underworld 3 last night and I have to tell you; it's about 100x better than the second one. As good, maybe slightly less than the first. Bill Nighy is the coolest.

Jan 22 - 12:56 PM


Katie Romanski

dear, sweet Bill. How do I love thee? This is just one more way.
I will totally watch anything with him in it no matter how rotten it is. The world is a million times more awesome because he's in it. Bill is priceless. :)

Jan 22 - 02:07 PM


Big Brother

Probably continues to do these since these were the films where he really got his start as an international star. I like Love Actually better, but admire the loyalty.

Jan 24 - 05:09 PM

Jim N.

Jim N

I think there's no question but that there will be a fourth installment now that the series has finally found its legs. Nighy and Sheen (and the underutilized Grevioux) are the center of gravity in this universe, not Beckinsale and Speedman. I sincerely hope Nighy returns with the enthusiasm and commitment he's shown to the series so far, because, using what they've learned from this iteration, the fourth could easily become a movie for the ages. (Wouldn't that be something? A movie series that gets better--except for the second--as it goes along, rather than worse?)

Jan 26 - 04:08 AM

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