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Shining A Light On The Cast
The filmmakers of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans were thrilled to have been able to reassemble the cast that created some of the series' most unforgettable characters, an ensemble that features several distinguished British actors with busy careers. "I had no idea that we'd be able to maintain the cast that we've had,” says Wiseman. "I was thrilled to be able to get so many of them back.” 

The script explains centuries of enmity between adversaries Lucian (Michael Sheen) and Viktor (Bill Nighy) with plot twists that may subvert fans' expectations. "Because both those characters were very complex, it was really nice to be able to resurrect them for the prequel in the new context of the historical past,” says Wright.

Sheen, a BAFTA nominee for his work in The Queen with Helen Mirren, has appeared as Lucian in all three movies, taking the character from apparent arch villain to hero. "One thing that Michael always brings to his work is passion,” says Tatopoulos. "There's nothing that escapes him and every detail of this character is very precise.” 

Co-star Nighy agrees. "Michael is one of those very rare actors who will deliver any role with great intelligence, great wit and great power. Nobody in the history of cinema delivers a werewolf as brilliantly and as powerfully as Michael Sheen. I say that with complete confidence.” 

After seeing Lucian die in Underground: Evolution, Sheen was happily surprised to have an opportunity to play the character again. "I got the chance to show the story that we heard about in the first film,” says the actor. "In the beginning, you think that he's the bad guy and then you start to get more information about him. The idea of showing how the character came to be is very attractive.”

After portraying the character twice in the past, Sheen can now explore another side of him. "One of the things in our story that I was most interested in was the idea of Lucian's relationship to the animal in him,” he continues. "Viktor used Lucian as a teenage boy to create more Lycans. Lucian was so disturbed and traumatized by this experience that he reacted against this animal side of himself, and in fact spends his life up until the point of our story killing werewolves. 

"This gives Lucian a very strong inner journey. In trying to find freedom, he has to accept something about himself that he has avoided his entire life. That takes the story slightly further than just a myth.” 

Lucian also emerges as a leader for the first time, observes Sheen. "He is someone who is able to inspire brotherhood amongst people who have never felt it.” 

The film also reveals a new side of Viktor, the Vampire leader who plays a central role in the other films. "We get to see why Viktor becomes the way he is in the first film,” says Wiseman. "Bill brought a take on Viktor that was different from the one I first saw on the page. He brought a tone to it that I love and I think people get a kick out of his approach.”

Tatopoulos praises Nighy's tremendous investment in the part. "You never know what the next thing's going to be, but you expect anything,” he says. "Bill goes from a smile to this incredible twisted face in a second. He's created a character that's on the edge of Grand Guignol. It makes him quite scary and intriguing.” 

Nighy's long career on stage and in film and television has made him one of Britain's most honored actors, and he brings the same commitment to the Vampire ruler as he does to his stage work. "Vampires are, by dint of being Vampires, cool,” Nighy says. "Being senior Vampire, I get to snarl and sneer and to be tortured, too. He is of two minds about some of the stuff that he gets up to. You are led to believe that he has feelings of a kind of normal nature, but that he is emotionally challenged. This is a man who drinks his<

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