Courtesy of Chelsea Valentine

Underworld: Awakening made an appearance in Hall H at Comic-Con with producer Len Wiseman, directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein; and stars Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy and Theo James.

The fourth film in the Underworld franchise marks the return of Kate Beckinsale reprising her role as Selene. The plot begins with Selene escaping imprisonment and finding out that the outside world discovered that vampires and lycans exist, and are trying to eliminate both species. Seems like a natural progression to the story, especially with the war between vampires and lycans having spilled into public eye a few times in prior films.

In pre-production, Marlind and Stein didn’t initially plan on filming in 3D, but once they decided to, they wanted to do it right. What did that entail? They adapted their film style to 3D and framed each shot accordingly to take advantage of 3D. They mentioned that it was a new experience for them, after working with certain tools for many years and essentially having them taken away and given new ones to make a film. They went from 20 cameras to just five to shoot with.

We were shown a scene of Selene running down a hall brandishing a knife and slashing throats of guards, and dodging attacks by sliding on one knee to stab another guard. Afterwards, Beckinsale laughed, mentioning that the scene was like a bowling alley and rough for her to film since she’s so clumsy.

Wiseman was asked how he came up with the premise for Underworld and he answered that it first started as a werewolf concept, but it didn’t feel fresh. So he added vampires, which changed the plot to become a werewolf and vampire version of West Side Story.

Underworld: Awakening hits theaters January 20, 2012.