VIBE caught up with Michael Ealy for a brief chat about Underworld Awakening 3D, which is the fourth installment of the popular franchise.
Elaborate on Underworld Awakening and the character you play.
This is the 4th installment in the franchise and I play a character, Detective Sebastian, who is the first real human component to the franchise. Normally, the films are centered on the battles between likens and vampires and in this particular film, vampires and likens are allegedly extinct and my character knows otherwise. But the humans are pretty much running things.
This is a deviation for you so what attracted you to the movie?
It was an opportunity for me to diversify my body of work. I’ve been known as the dramatic or the brooding guy and I just wanted to switch it up a little bit. After I did Takers I really had the action bug pretty bad so I wanted to do more action and Underworld provided the opportunity to do both action and drama with these particular roles, so that was important to me. I’m jumping into the science fiction genre, which I’ve never done before and I’m doing some comedy as well, so I’m just trying do something else and show people that I can do these other genres.
Considering that Underworld is already an established chain, what element do you the franchise?
What I try to bring originally—I mean, I got myself all worked up to try to come in and be something superhuman, and then I calmed down and got myself together and realized that the best thing to do is go in and be human and not to take any special approach to this role just because it’s science fiction. I’m the human amongst these immortal creatures so play that. Staying in that lane just allowed me to settle down and really dig in to where this guy, Detective Sebastian, is right now at this point in telling the story.
How is the acting different when you’re doing 3D?
It’s kinda hard to say over the phone, I’d have to show you but there’s certain things you can do like if you hold up your badge, you can’t just hold it up in front of you, you have to hold it up to the left and it’s awkward because it doesn’t seem like you’re showing it to the person, it seems like you’re showing it to the camera but when you see it on screen it looks like you’re showing it to the person. So the depth and feel—all of that is a bit altered in 3D films, so I can take that experience with me to the next one.
Give me three cool quick points to get people to see it.
First and foremost I’m in it, so go see it [laughs].
Second, I would say if you don’t know anything about the Underworld franchise, don’t worry about it because the first 10 minutes is kind of a montage documentary style of footage that basically explains the history of how we got to this very point and it puts everything that we’re about to see in context, so you don’t need to see the other films. You can if you want to because theyr’e good movies but if you don’t have the time and you just want to see this one, then the first 10 minutes will set it up for you nicely.
Last, Kate Beckinsale is back in this 4th installment and she is probably badder than ever in terms of how many fight sequences she has and it’s all shot in 3D and it all just pops like a graphic novel.
You’d make a cool vampire.
I was trying to get bitten at the end of this one so that I could be a vampire in the next one and I’m gonna keep trying to push the producers for when and if they make another one, to let me join the vampire team.
You just answered my question which was, whether you died or not. That said, what’s your dream role besides becoming a vampire?
[Laughs]. I have two dram roles. One would be a biopic of someone I admire and respect and the other one would be some sort of action drama film similar to a Bourne Identity. I just really want to do an intelligent action drama film.
What do you want people to take away from Underworld?
I try not to predict what people will take away from the film but I think when they’re done watching this movie they will have to go back through it because it’s so fast. There’s no time to lose track of the storyline because it moves so fast. I’ve never seen a film that moves so fast, ever. It’s like, we’re not waiting for the audience to get it, we’re just moving forward and you just gotta play catch up, so when it’s all done you just have to. Me and my team were standing around trying to talk about it but it just moves so fast. It’s like a rollercoaster and then it’s over.
Last but not least, who’s going to the Super Bowl?
That’s a good one. I’m thinking Saints or Green Bay.