Lycans of the Underworld — Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Tatopoulos Studios and Luma Pictures once again returned to bring to life the Lycans for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Set in ancient times, the film also marks the new appearance of the first generation of Lycans — the original, feral strain of Werewolves. Seven ‘first generation’ Werewolf suits and only one hero animatronic head were used for the film. They were based on the moulds used for the creation of the William suit, with the single hero head actually being the William suit’s head used in the precedent film — appropriately repainted with the new Werewolf colour scheme.
The Werewolves of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans were repainted using colour schemes tending to black and brown tones, more akin to the other Lycans seen in the precedent chapters.
Three ‘second generation’ Lycan suits were devised for the film, recycling the moulds of the Underworld: Evolution Lycan suits. Subtle changes in the colour scheme — which now presented greyer tones — were applied, and the fur was now longer. Brian Steele and Kurt Carley returned as the main creature performers for both versions of the Werewolves; Steele was also featured in the film playing a character among the Lycans. “I said, ‘Brian, you’re not a Werewolf now. You’re a guy now,'” said Tatopoulos, “and he did a great job.”
Much like in its predecessors’ case, many shots in the film were planned as practical, but later changed to computer generated imagery. As an example, the Werewolf killed with a crossbow projectile was first filmed as a practical puppet, which ultimately “looked like dragging a muppet.” The filmmakers were unsatisfied with the result, and changed the shot of the monster falling forward into a digital sequence — cutting to the creature suit lying on the ground. Similarly, the meeting of Lucian and Werewolves was heavily modified with the addition of computer generated shots, as opposed to the wholly practical original sequence.
The french CGI company Duboi joined Luma to create the numerous digital Werewolves for the film. The two companies, however, had contrasting manners of animating the Werewolves. “When the french [company] did the first Werewolves,” Tatopoulos said, “they had a way of making those guys quite elegant and ‘sexy’ but they were lacking a bit of weight. The opposite came from Luma, who were giving them a lot of weight, but they were a little bit too brutal. We showed [both companies] each other’s work and, you know, by the end, they all got better.” Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is so far the film of the series with the most digital Werewolves in a single sequence: the climax features over 500 computer generated-creatures, running towards the fortress of the Vampires.
“I have a little bit of a special tenderness towards these creatures,” said Tatopoulos, concluding his experience, “having created them for the first film, and the second one, they’re just such cool beasts. It was fun for that, too.”
For more images of the Lycans, visit the Monster Gallery.