The vampire versus werewolf idea thats the basis for Underworld sprang from the desire to take the horror and action genres and do something fresh. I got together with a friend of mine, Kevin [Grevioux], and we started just hashing out these ideas of what could we do that was new. We didnt want to do just another local sheriff in a small town goes out in the woods [and] finds these killings. We wanted something to feel different. We were just really deciding what it would be if we took it out of that realm and we actually gave the werewolves an equal enemy. Who could battle against werewolves? Is it a good guy who becomes a werewolf? That just went into [the idea that] vampires would be able to battle them. Theyd be on equal training grounds. Thats sort of where we started, said Wiseman.
You'd think that the concept of vampires and werewolves mixing it up had been done more than a few times on film. But according to Wiseman, the mix hadnt really been done in decades. Its funny because a lot of the talk has been that its a simple concept and why hasnt this been done before. Its true. When we decided lets do vampires and werewolves, we thought that concepts been done. Of course its been done. We talked to our agent, we went on the Internet, we looked at everything, and outside of the 50s, it just hasnt been done. It was kind of shocking to us.
Len Wiseman wasnt thrilled by the idea of throwing in a romance, but the Romeo and Juliet description thats been tossed about when describing the movie was an especially prickly subject. That was kind of a dangerous one. Im kind of afraid of all thats corny. I do shy away from that stuff. So the minute [they] came up with this, Why dont we do this kind of Romeo and Juliet? At first I thought it was the lamest idea Id ever heard in my whole life. Im already trying to go to studios and pitch that its vampires versus werewolves. I always feel like that, to me, sounds like a B movie. Just the nature of its being a werewolf [film], its something youve got to get over when youre pitching. When the whole Romeo and Juliet thing came in to play, it was really just to set up the state of the two races. Instead of Montagues and Capulets, there are werewolves and vampires. [To create] that tension, the forbidden nature of them being together, that was much more the thrust of the romance than just the all-out love story.
Ive always been a freak about every little detail. Things like a love story in a driving action film I always have a hard time with. If it doesnt really present itself that you can actually stop and have a love story, when its just [that] everything is dangerous, I just feel like its always pushed. Our love story was always a bit more like Aliens than a Romeo and Juliet. If the movie closes and people think, If they were given the time, they may go forward in this relationship, thats cool, explained Wiseman.