Lovers of butt-kicking women in tight leather outfits: rejoice! Kate Beckinsale is returning to the black leather bodysuit that made her an action icon, confirming a rumor that was floating around months ago. She will once again play Selene, vampire warrior, in 'Underworld 4,' due to begin shooting next March. The script by John Hlavin and J. Michael Straczynski ('Changeling') features Selene's daughter; the role has not yet been cast. Also being sought: a director.
In the original 'Underworld,' released in 2003 and directed by Len Wiseman, Selene's job was killing Lycans (AKA werewolves) while wearing an outfit that was so tight it would cut off the circulation of normal humans. She develops a crush on Michael (Scott Speedman), a cute doctor who's bitten by a Lycan, discovers the truth about the centuries-long war between vampires and werewolves and ends up on the run with Michael. Three years later, 'Underworld: Evolution' featured more uncovered secrets, more vampire/Lycan encounters of the bloody kind and a hot bedroom scene between Selene and Michael.
Beckinsale and Wiseman, who by this time had married, decided to skip the next installment, the surprisingly entertaining 'Underworld: Rise of the Lycans,' which featured a terrific performance by Michael Sheen and a very good one by Rhona Mitra, who tackled the female lead role with gusto.
The original 'Underworld,' filled with highly-stylish action sequences, rocketed Beckinsale into a different league of stardom, but for the most part she's been playing supporting roles -- or the thankless girlfriend/wife part -- since then. Her star turn in the disappointing action flick 'Whiteout' wasn't able to save that film. We'll have to wait to see if returning to skin-tight outfits and monstrous boots as Selene will lead to box office success.