In the annals of cinematic history, some stories are defined by their audacity. Len Wiseman’s journey into the realm of filmmaking with the first “Underworld” film is one such narrative. It’s a tale of conviction that defied conventional wisdom, and as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this iconic franchise, it’s worth revisiting the risky venture that birthed a lycanthropic and vampiric legacy.
Picture this: a young filmmaker named Len Wiseman, whose prior experience was primarily in crafting music videos, had a vision for a unique cinematic universe. This vision was called “Underworld.” However, this wasn’t just any film; it was a hybrid of supernatural creatures, ancient rivalries, and dark, brooding aesthetics. It was a world where vampires and werewolves clashed in an eternal battle, a world that would eventually become a massive success.
But the path to bringing “Underworld” to life was riddled with hurdles. Wiseman’s determination to not just pen the script but also to direct it was met with skepticism and hesitation from many producers and studios. The film industry, much like the supernatural beings in “Underworld,” had its own set of rules and hierarchies, and Wiseman was a newcomer challenging the status quo.
Despite the offers to purchase his script on the condition that he step aside from the director’s chair, Wiseman stood firm. He believed in his vision, and he was willing to take the risk. It’s a decision that would change the course of his career and the fate of the “Underworld” franchise forever.
As Wiseman persisted in his quest, he collaborated with creative minds like Kevin Grevioux and Danny McBride. Gradually, more people started to see the potential in “Underworld,” including Sony Pictures, which eventually gave the project the green light. But this turning point was significant not just for the film but for Len Wiseman himself. It marked the moment when he transitioned from being a director of music videos to taking the helm of a major motion picture.
The journey was not without its challenges. Wiseman recounted, “A lot of the big studios were taking all these meetings. It was exciting, and we got quite a few offers to buy the script — as long as I didn’t direct, because I hadn’t directed a movie before.” It was a tempting proposition, to relinquish control and let someone else bring his vision to life. But Wiseman refused to compromise. He knew that the only way “Underworld” could truly shine was if he was the one calling the shots.
And shine it did. “Underworld” turned out to be a surprise box office hit, paving the way for four sequels. Wiseman’s persistence paid off handsomely, and his journey as a director was just beginning. He went on to helm other notable projects, including “Live Free or Die Hard” and a remake of “Total Recall,” not to mention his involvement in television series like “Lucifer,” “APB,” and “Sleepy Hollow,” which he co-created.
The “Underworld” franchise, over the years, accumulated over half a billion dollars at the box office and cultivated a devoted fanbase that eagerly anticipates any glimpse of the supernatural world Wiseman crafted. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Underworld,” it’s a reminder that sometimes, in the pursuit of a bold vision, it’s necessary to take a leap of faith, defy the odds, and prove the skeptics wrong.
So, here’s to Len Wiseman, the director who dared to be different, and to “Underworld,” the franchise that was born from a refusal to compromise. As fans prepare to revisit this dark and thrilling universe, it’s clear that sometimes the riskiest decisions lead to the most rewarding journeys.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Underworld’s 20th Anniversary
What is the significance of the 20th anniversary of “Underworld”?
The 20th anniversary of “Underworld” marks two decades of this iconic cinematic franchise, celebrating its enduring impact on the world of film and its loyal fanbase.
Why was Len Wiseman’s insistence on directing “Underworld” considered risky?
Len Wiseman’s determination to direct “Underworld” was considered risky because he had primarily worked on music videos and had no prior experience directing a major motion picture. This made producers and studios hesitant to greenlight the project.
Did Len Wiseman consider offers to buy the script if he didn’t direct the film?
Yes, Len Wiseman received offers to purchase the script for “Underworld” on the condition that he didn’t direct it. However, he stood firm in his desire to both write and direct the film, believing in his vision.
How did Len Wiseman’s risk pay off?
Len Wiseman’s risk paid off as “Underworld” became a surprise box office hit, spawning four sequels and accumulating over half a billion dollars at the box office. It also marked the beginning of his successful career as a film director.
What other projects has Len Wiseman been involved in after “Underworld”?
After “Underworld,” Len Wiseman directed projects like “Live Free or Die Hard” and a remake of “Total Recall.” He also had a hand in creating and working on various television series, including “Lucifer,” “APB,” and “Sleepy Hollow.”