Selene (Underworld)

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Selene
Underworld character
Selene (Underworld).jpg
Kate Beckinsale as Selene
First appearance Underworld
Created by Kevin Grevioux
Len Wiseman &
Danny McBride
Portrayed by Kate Beckinsale
Lily Mo Sheen (Child)
Nicole Randall (stunt double)
Alicia Vela-Bailey (stunt double)
Laura Harris (voice)
Information
Aliases Subject 1
Species Human (originally)
Vampire (formerly)
Vampire-Corvinus Strain Hybrid
Gender Female
Occupation Adventurer
Death Dealer (former)
Family Unnamed father (deceased)
Unnamed mother (deceased)
Cecilia sister (deceased)
Unnamed twin nieces (deceased)
Viktor (adoptive father, deceased)
Spouse(s) Michael Corvin
(lover)
Children Eve
(daughter, with Michael)
Nationality Hungarian

Selene is a fictional character from the Underworld series. She is the primary protagonist of the films Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, and Underworld: Awakening. Her lover is Michael Corvin, and together they now have a daughter, named Eve.

Selene is portrayed by Kate Beckinsale, and by Beckinsale's daughter, Lily Mo Sheen, in Underworld: Evolution[1] in flashback scenes as a child. Her stunt double for the first two movies was Nicole Randall, and Alicia Vela-Bailey in Underworld: Awakening. In Underworld: Endless War, Selene is voiced by Canadian voice actress, Laura Harris.

Creation[edit]

The Marvel Comics character Selene inspired the vampire Selene seen in Underworld.

Selene was created by Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, and Danny McBride. According to Kevin Grevioux, Selene is based loosely on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.[2]

Character[edit]

Flashbacks to her childhood have shown Selene to have been a normal, happy, vibrant child, born in the late 14th century. The youngest of two daughters of a master mason and smith, Selene and her sister Cecilia were shown to love painting pictures, and playing 'Silly Goose'. At the age of nineteen, the untimely and gruesome deaths of her entire family completely broke her heart, as she had loved them all dearly, and left her an orphan. The deaths of her six-year-old nieces hit her especially hard. Deceived by their murderer, Viktor, into believing that a pack of Lycans were the ones responsible, (which, given the states she found their bodies in, wasn't hard to believe), Selene dedicated herself to avenging their deaths.

As a Death Dealer, (the Vampires' fighting elite), Selene committed herself to the duty of exterminating the Lycans as a species, burying herself into her work. She would also isolate herself, never socializing with anyone outside of the Death Dealers, as the majority of the Vampire Coven are more concerned whiling away their immortal lives in hedonistic pursuits instead of concerning themselves with the serious business of the war against the Lycans.

She would also serve as one of Viktor's most loyal and most powerful Death Dealers, having been vampirically sired by him personally. While she would look up to Viktor as a surrogate father figure, (and he sees her a surrogate daughter), she would still continue to feel the pain of her grief and loss of her family's deaths in the centuries to come.

According to Kate Beckinsale in The Making of Underworld, by the point-in-time of the events of the movie, Selene had been a soldier of the Vampire Clan for so-long, it had gotten to the point where "[Selene's] almost forgotten she's a woman, she's absolutely focused on revenge and killing, and she's really good at it. Then, she meets Michael, she starts to get a... kind of memory of what it's like to be human, and to be with humans. She's not completely human, but she is actually 'human' somewhere underneath there."

According to the novelizations of the events of the movies, prior to crossing paths with Michael, Selene had never been in love before, although she wasn't still a virgin; neither love nor lust had lured Selene into 'carnal encounters' with other vampires, but rather curiosity, (having been turned while still a virgin) and loneliness. Such encounters had been few, infrequent, and without consequence, all of them temporary indulgences quickly put behind her.

Personality[edit]

Selene is headstrong and stubborn, even to a fault, not willing to back down when she knows something is wrong, or leave any stone unturned when she is investigating Lycan activity. This can continue even to the point of endangering herself, such as when she passed out from blood loss at the wheel of her car after Michael warned against her against driving in her condition. Selene is described as being "steely-eyed", and having great "emotional independence" from the rest of the Coven, as well being of "extreme intelligence" and of "sharp intuition". In her Underworld official bio, it is stated that she "trusts almost no-one", and that she has a "passion for truth, albeit laced with vengeance", which "traps her in a reluctantly violent and tragic purpose".

After centuries of militaristic discipline, having served as a Death Dealer of the Vampire Clan, Selene had long-since developed a near-impervious, stoic external demeanor. Selene is not known for a sense of humor, and is actually one of the most honest Vampires in the franchise. She is also something of an idealist, believing in certain ideals as justice. Although a Vampire for six centuries, Selene only really willingly interacted with other Death Dealers, and has never fit in with her own kind (most of whom are too absorbed in their own pursuits of self-gratification). Unlike them, Selene has never forgotten why she became a Vampire, and that they are at war with the Lycans, which leads her to consider them layabouts and dead-weight, and as such cares little for what they all think of her.

In the first installment, Kraven, who fancies himself as her suitor, complains that she pays far too much attention to hunting and killing Lycans, and that she takes "this warrior business far too seriously". Selene, meanwhile, regards Kraven as 'a pig, a coward and an insufferable egotist' who is too wrapped up in himself to even pick up on the fact that Selene simply doesn't want anything to do with him, let alone be his arm-trophy at the Coven's social events. She dodges his social gatherings, she outright rejects his romantic advances at every turn, (in public and in private), and she prefers to dedicate her every waking hour into her calling as a Death Dealer.

For the most part, Selene comes across as "icy" and "unemotional" to those who don't really bother to get close to her, like most of the Coven. After years of being a disciplined soldier, Selene is well into the habit of keeping her emotions in check, and keeps her cool in the heat of battle and the face of danger. This same rigorous mentality has made it difficult sometimes to open up to others, especially Michael, early in the story. By her own admission, she's "not good with feelings". In the first novelization, she is described as being "much more comfortable discussing interrogation techniques" than "divulging the seamier underside of the vampiric lifestyle". In Awakening, her own daughter easily misinterprets her behavior for being "as cold as one already dead", before Selene explained that her heart wasn't cold, but rather it was broken (as Michael was missing at the time). Selene is also in the habit of downplaying any pain or wounds she has received - a habit of hers that Michael has since become familiar with.

Cracks in Selene's emotional armor start to show themselves when she and then-human named Michael Corvin meet for the first time at a subway, moments before a shootout, at the beginning of the first film. Other Vampires, like Kraven and Erika, quickly catch-on to Selene's feelings towards Michael before even she-herself does. The two experience a mutual "dynamic attraction" towards each other at first sight, and things start to escalate between the two of them, even after she learns that Michael has been bitten by a Lycan while she was trying to protect him from them. In lieu of his innocence, Selene defends Michael from both Vampire and Lycan, knowing full well Viktor would kill her for doing so.

Selene also becomes noticeably more violent when those she loves suffer or die; When her family was murdered, she went on a revenge spree against the Lycans (whom she had been led to believe were responsible by Viktor), that lasted six centuries until the truth was revealed to her. When she learned of Viktor's hand in her family's murder, and sees him about to kill Michael, she slices through his head with his own sword. Furthermore, when she believes Michael dead by Marcus' hand she goes on a suicide mission to eliminate Marcus and William, before Michael's Hybrid abilities revive him. When Marcus brings up her family after impaling her with one of his wing talons, she snaps the wing talon at a joint, stabs him up through the head, and pushes him into the spinning rotors of a helicopter. In Awakening, when her daughter was taken by the Lycans at the Antigen facility, Selene stages an attack on the building, luring the Lycan security personnel into a trap by taking the elevator up the building and setting silver gas explosives at every floor, to get back her daughter.

Biography[edit]

Backstory[edit]

As revealed in the first & second films, Selene was born to a Hungarian family; her father, mother, her older sister, and her baby nieces. Selene is estimated to have been born around the year 1383.

At some point, Selene's father was approached by a powerful warlord named Viktor with a commission to design and build a prison. According to the novelizations, Selene's father was well known as both a stone mason and blacksmith; and the commission had involved the excavation of a new dungeon and prison under a fortress of Viktor's, as well as striking two unique keys for one cell in particular. Selene was around 6-7-years-old when work on the prison completed.

Seven years later, at around the age of 13-14-years-old, Selene became an aunt to her older sister's twin daughters.

During the winter of Lucian's escape, about 6-years-later, Viktor feared that Lucian may know of William, the progenitor of all werewolves, (given that Lucian, whether he knew it or not, was now holding one of the keys to William's prison): To Keep the Location of William's prison a secret, Viktor personally killed everyone involved in the construction of the prison and anyone who may have visited or seen the fortress. One night, Viktor prowled into the farm of Selene's family, killed, and fed upon them one-by-one. When he came across Selene, however, he found that he 'could not bear the thought of draining [her] dry', (as described by Kraven) '[Selene], who reminded him so much of his precious Sonja'. According to the Underworld: Evolution novelization, Selene was 19 years old when Viktor turned her.

That night Viktor turned Selene into a vampire, and led her to believe that the culprits of the murder of her family were Lycans and that Viktor had saved her from them. He claimed to have been tracking The Lycans when they led him to her family's farm. With the strength of a vampire, Viktor told Selene, she could avenge them all. Selene was the only survivor to have walked through the corridors of the fortress. Viktor did not kill her because of her resemblance to his deceased daughter and his belief that she would have been much too young to remember where exactly the fortress' location was.

Selene would go on to become a Death Dealer, fighting against the Lycans for vengeance on the atrocities she believed they had committed against her family. For the centuries that followed, (the better part of a thousand years,) she would serve under Viktor with blind loyalty, remaining in the dark about her family's murder by none other than Viktor himself.

On Viktor's orders, Selene would exile Andreas Tanis, the Coven's official historian. At some point, she would also become the unwilling object of Kraven, the Coven's regent, romantic interests.

Underworld[edit]

After a confrontation with the Lycan hitman Raze, she discovered what was supposedly a Lycan lair. She was angry when Kraven dismissed her claims, not knowing that Kraven was in league with the Lycan leader Lucian in a bid to take over the control of the vampire realm from the Elders.

She tracked down Michael Corvin, in whom she believed the Lycans had an interest. Against the sacred laws of The Vampire Covenant, she and Michael, who was infected with the lycanthropy virus, fell in love.

She awakens Viktor from his deep slumber (torpor), believing that only he has the power to deal with the conspiracy between Kraven and Lucian. She then leads a mass assault on the Lycans' underground bunker.

After Michael was shot with silver nitrate by Kraven, Selene was forced to infect Michael with her vampire strain in order to save his life, thus making him the first hybrid, a Lycan dominant hybrid. She also learned the truth about the identity of her family's killer from Kraven; she struck Viktor down while the Elder was preoccupied fighting Michael. She then retrieved Sonja's pendant, carrying-on her legacy.

Underworld: Evolution[edit]

In Underworld: Evolution, after Viktor's death, Selene and Michael went on the run from both Lycans and Vampires. They were confronted by Marcus, the last surviving Vampire Elder. He was now a Vampire-Dominant Hybrid, due to his ingesting the blood of Lycan scientist Singe, which had seeped into his chamber. As Marcus attacks her, Michael intervenes and battles him to protect her.

After narrowly escaping Marcus and the sunlight, Selene and Michael take refuge in a warehouse and begin a sexual relationship. Selene also finds that she has seen the pendant that Marcus was trying to get, when she was a child. In order to find out why Marcus was after the pendant, she sought out Andreas Tanis. Tanis told her the truth about her family's slaughter, (they were killed after Lucian began his revolution to keep William from being freed,) and revealed to her that, contrary to popular belief, Marcus, not Viktor, is the original vampire.

He then set up a meeting for her and Michael with Alexander Corvinus, Marcus's father and the first true immortal. Selene was angered at Alexander for not removing the threat his sons, Marcus and William, posed long ago. Alexander retorted by asking her if she would murder her own son. An interruption by Marcus, in which Michael is seemingly killed, also results in Selene's memories of the fortress to be revealed to Marcus through her blood. Alexander, dying from his son's attack, told Selene that the only way to defeat Marcus and William would be to drink his legendary immortal blood, adding that she would become "The Future". Selene gained greater strength and new powers from Alexander's blood.

She and a squad of Alexander's Cleaners, (who, like Michael, are Alexander's descendants through his third son,) invaded William's dungeon, trying to stop the threat. They arrived too late, however, and Selene was forced to fight Marcus. Marcus was shocked at the smell of his father's blood coursing through Selene's veins. Locking Marcus in William's dungeon, Selene discovered that William had infected all surviving members of the six Cleaners escorting her, all of which have become Lycans themselves.

On the verge of being overwhelmed she was saved by Michael, who was revived by his resilient Hybrid powers. Marcus had killed the last remaining Cleaners who were operating a helicopter which provided close air support/suppressing-fire. When it crashed, the rotors continued to spin dangerously close to those in the fray.

Selene fought Marcus once more, and the Elder drove his wing talon through Selene's chest. Selene, empowered by Alexander's ancient and pure blood, tore away the talon and drove it upwards through Marcus's skull before throwing him into the moving rotor blades and killing him. After Selene defeats Marcus and Michael defeats William, sunlight lands on Selene's arm, revealing that Alexander's blood has purged the vampiric weakness to sunlight.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans[edit]

Selene briefly appears at the end of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, which was also the opening scene of the first Underworld, with the audio from the scene where Kraven tells Selene that it was Viktor who murdered her family, rather than the Lycans, and that Viktor spared her because she reminded him of the daughter he condemned to death; Selene replies to Kraven, "Lies."

Underworld: Awakening[edit]

In Underworld: Awakening, Selene escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species.[3] However, Selene and her two new allies; David, (a young vampire,) and Detective Sebastian, (who lost his wife after being discovered as a vampire), discover a hidden conspiracy from rogue members of the Lycan clan within the humans' war against both species, and also finds that she has mothered a child with Michael, Eve, who was born during Selene's suspended animation.

Despite their never having met or become acquainted with one another since Eve's birth, Selene ultimately bonds with her daughter. Selene battles to rescue Eve and Michael, facing a 'Super Lycan', with abilities similar to her own including incredible healing rate and an immunity to silver. Eventually Selene kills the Super Lycan, and rescues Eve, who kills the Lycan doctor in charge, but when they go to rescue Michael (whom Selene had found and weakened the cryogenic tank of earlier), they find that he has already escaped and are unable to locate him, but Selene knows he will be hunted like Eve was.

Earlier in the film David offers her the opportunity to return to the vampire coven, in hopes she will consent to train a new generation of Death Dealers in response to both the human and Lycan threats, as many of their numbers are either in hiding from their enemies or dead.

Skills and vampiric attributes[edit]

Selene is proficient with many weapons, medieval and modern. She is well versed with both projectile and melee weapons. Modern firearms that she uses include the Walther P99 and a variety of fully automatic machine pistols. Selene is also an expert in unarmed combat. In all three films, she is seen jumping from a ledge of at least one hundred feet and landing without injury.

As a vampire, Selene frequently demonstrates superior physical abilities. She uses superhuman strength to pin Michael against a wall several feet off the ground with one hand to his throat, performs spectacular leaps, manhandles four police officers, strikes her enemies with tremendous force, kills younger vampires with just a few blows, and flips a van.[4] She moves with incredible celerity, able to move between streets and run across hallways appearing as nothing more than a blurred image. She has superhuman stamina and healing, able to take a shotgun blast to the abdomen without flinching, recover after being burned by sunlight, and was slammed against stone walls—breaking the stones—but with hardly any effects. She also has the ability to hold her breath for extended periods of time, as Humans needed SCUBA to make an underwater dive in Underworld: Evolution.

After fortifying herself with Alexander Corvinus' blood, her abilities increase and she goes toe to toe with Marcus, the first Vampire, in his hybrid form. She also displays advanced healing capabilities, as she is able to withstand Marcus' sending his wing talon through her chest and seemed to be completely unaffected by it. After she ingests Alexander's blood, she is also able to withstand direct sunlight. She is able to revive David, who had been killed in a fight with the Lycans, by feeding her blood directly to his heart. She is also powerful enough to battle a nearly-unbeatable Super Lycan. During her last fight with him, she shows her incredible strength by ramming her arm right through his chest, a feat previously unseen by vampires. Another example of her immense strength is shown when she shoulder checks a moving van, causing it to flip in a parking lot. She also possesses an immunity to werewolf bites that would be deadly to normal vampires.

In other media[edit]

Selene appears in the video game Underworld: The Eternal War. Selene is the third-person shooter throughout the missions.

Production background[edit]

Beckinsale at the San Sebastián Film Festival in 2006

In 2003's Underworld, Beckinsale became known as an actor and stated that it was markedly different from her previous work and Beckinsale has said she was grateful for the change of pace after appearing in "a bunch of period stuff and then a bunch of romantic comedies."[5] "It was quite a challenge for me to play an action heroine and pull off all that training when [in real life] I can’t catch a ball if it’s coming my way."[6] The film received mostly negative reviews but was a surprise box office hit and has gained a cult following.[7]

In September 2003, shortly after the release of Underworld, production companies Screen Gems and Lakeshore planned to release a prequel as the third film following Underworld's sequel, Underworld: Evolution. Kate Beckinsale, who portrayed Selene in Underworld, expressed interest in reprising her role for the sequel and the prequel.[8]

In 2006, Beckinsale reprised her role as Selene in the successful vampire sequel Underworld: Evolution, directed by her husband.[9] It was the first time she had "been involved with a movie from the moment it’s a germ of an idea right through the whole editing process."[10] Her daughter had a small role as the younger Selene, and took direction well: "I didn’t think she would take either of us that seriously. We both envisaged a situation where it would be kind of like trying to get her into a snow suit. She suddenly became highly professional ... She said, “Could you call me Selene?” I certainly don’t insist on being called Selene, so she didn’t get that from me."[10]

In a June 2006 interview, When asked if Kate Beckinsale would reprise her role as Selene in the prequel, Wiseman said, "It will be in the time period before, but it will overlap into the creation of her as well. We're in the process of seeing how far we go with that."[11]

In the actual film, Selene appears briefly at the end. Beckinsale did not film new footage, a scene from Underworld was used to bookend the film. Beckinsale also provided a monologue for the beginning of the film.[12]

"It’s like putting your wedding dress on, or putting your school uniform on, it’s like a time-warp feeling."

—Kate Beckinsale, about her return as Selene.[13]

Beckinsale returned to the role of Selene for the fourth installment of the vampire franchise Underworld: Awakening.[14] She "wasn’t intending to do another one" but was convinced by the quality of the script: "You really want to see stakes that mean something in these kind of movies. Otherwise, it really is just lots of explosions and people running around in tight clothes."[15]

Publication history[edit]

Selene appears in the non-canon novel Underworld: Blood Enemy, written by Greg Cox. Selene is responsible for the death of renegade Lycan Leyba, tracking her down after Leyba's forces attack a Lycan weapons deal and are responsible for the deaths of both the Lycans and another member of Selene's team. During the confrontation with Leyba, Leyba briefly reflects that Selene's eyes are like 'hers' (Sonja's), but Selene never learns the meaning of this comment before she kills Leyba. Leyba's goals remain a mystery to Selene.

Selene also appears in the IDW Publishing Underworld series. Selene is portrayed as having the same characterization as seen in the film. Selene also appears in the sequel novelization series for Underworld: Evolution. The only novelization series of Underworld she hasn't appear in is the novelization for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.

Reception[edit]

While reviewers generally received the first film negatively, criticizing the overacting and lack of character development, audiences and a smaller number of reviewers praised elements such as the film's stylish Gothic visuals, the "icy English composure" in Kate Beckinsale's performance, and the extensively worked-out vampire-werewolf mythology that serves as the film's backstory.

A few scenes of Underworld: Evolution were shown in a panel at Comic-Con in San Diego, in July 2005; however, these scenes did not contain any plot spoilers of the new script, with attendees only being informed about the new hybrids by production designer Patrick Tatopoulos. The previewing was well-received as hundreds of fans waited hours to see a clip of the film as well as Kate Beckinsale and the other stars of the movie.[16]

A top critic from Variety said "Once again, Beckinsale brings an impressive physicality and subzero cool to her portrayal of Selene".[17]

In popular culture[edit]

Due to the impact of the films, action figures for Selene were created, all designed by Mezco. Their size is 5 inches in scale. They all come with display base and accessories.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ IMDb, "Lily Mo Sheen, " IMDb. com
  2. ^ Kevin Grevioux talks about Selene.
  3. ^ "Underworld 4 Start of Production Release". ComingSoon. 
  4. ^ Underworld: Awakening
  5. ^ "Underworld's intrepid mistress of the dark". IGN. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Interview with Kate Beckinsale, Len Wiseman and Scott Speedman". Chud. 6 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Underworld". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  8. ^ Harris, Dana (2003-09-24). "Scribe Duo Sinks Teeth into Sequels". Variety. Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  9. ^ "January 20–22, 2006 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Kate Beckinsale on "Underworld: Evolution"". CineCon. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Elliott, Sean (2006-06-06). "Exclusive Interview: Underworld Director Len Wiseman Talks Die Hard 4 & Underworld 3". iFMagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2006-10-24. Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  12. ^ Selene is Back for Third Underworld
  13. ^ "CCI | Underworld: Awakening Stakes Out New Territory « Spinoff Online – TV, Film and Entertainment News Daily". Spinoff.comicbookresources.com. 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  14. ^ "Beckinsale is in Underworld 3". Film Stalker. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  15. ^ "Beckinsale". Collider. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  16. ^ (July 18, 2005). Comic-Con 2005: Underworld: Evolution Panel. IGN. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  17. ^ "Underworld Awakening (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 

External links[edit]