'UNDERWORLD 3' comes to life

Creature F/X king Patrick Tatopoulos will helm Underworld prequel film Rise of the Lycans.
Movie F/x master Patrick Tatopoulos, who developed the creatures for the first two Underworld films, has been promoted to director for Underworld 3: The Rise of the Lycans, with Rhona Mitra (The Number 23) to star alongside series veterans Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy, reports Variety's TATIANA SIEGEL.

"For the first time we will experience the Underworld universe through the eyes of the Lycans," said co-producer Len Wiseman, who directed the first two Underworld features, and married star Kate Beckinsale.

Series writer Danny McBride scripted the origin story of the ancient blood feud between the aristocratic vampires known as Death Dealers and their onetime slaves, the Lycans (or werewolves). In the Dark Ages, young Lucian (Sheen) and his secret lover, Sonja (Mitra), rally the lycans to rise up against cruel vampire king Viktor (Nighy).

The film, which begins shooting in January in Auckland, New Zealand, marks Tatopoulos' feature directorial debut. He has been a frequent collaborator with Roland Emmerich, including on Independence Day and Godzilla, in which Matthew Broderick's character was named Dr. Tatopoulos.

"Patrick has always played such an essential part in helping to create Underworld from the start," said Wiseman, who most recently helmed Live Free or Die Hard. "So I feel it is both exciting and fitting that [he] now takes the helm."

"Groan," commented Moviehole's CLINT MORRIS, "zzzzz; aargh."

He added that Beckinsale in skin-tight leather was the only reason he remained awake for Underworld 1 & 2. "Mitra better bring some leather-clad panties to the party or, well, I’ll be out like a light before the opening credits have even started."

Mitra's credits include the Mark Wahlberg flick Shooter.

Nighy recently wrapped Valkyrie. He also appeared as Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels.

Sheen's credits include The Queen, and Blood Diamond. He also co-produced Beckinsale's daughter, Lily.
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