I recently got the chance to talk to Lee Majdoub about his role in ‘Underworld: Awakening’. Here, Lee talks about how he got involved in the project in the first place and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Lee. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘Underworld: Awakening‘.
Hi Matt. Thank you for having me.
What’s the general plotline surrounding this instalment?
Selene (played by Kate Beckinsale) has been frozen for 12 years and when she wakes she notices a drastic change in the world she once knew. Humans are more aware of the existence of the Vampires and Lycans, and try to eradicate them.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play a guard at Antigen, a corporation responsible for developing an antidote to the virus that creates Vampires and Lycans. The character introduce Detective Sebastien to Dr. Lane, and later calls out orders during an attack by Selene.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Initially, I auditioned for the part with the casting director. Then, I got called back to audition for the directors. Eventually I was offered the part.
Had you seen the other films in the franchise before you signed on? How would you say this one is different and unique to the rest?
Yes I had seen the other films prior to signing on. A major difference in this film is that the human race is a lot more prevalent. The audience is led to believe that humans are now a legitimate threat to the lives of Vampires and Lycans. Another difference was that this film was shot in 3D, where as the others had not been. I think, most notably, we see that Selene is back. Her character didn’t really appear in the third instalment.
The film stars Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James, India Eisley and Sandrine Holt – with Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein onboard as directors – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
The cast and crew were very supportive and a blast to work with. I mainly worked with Michael Ealy and Stephen Rea. They made me feel very welcome. Extremely kind people. Something very new to me was working with two directors on one project, Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein. I met them during my call back for the role, and knew immediately after the session that I wanted to work with them. They are very honest and supportive.
During one of the setups on set, it started snowing quite hard. We were setting up for a crane shot that was going to move in on me for a close up. They had to hook a fan up to the camera in order to keep the snow from hitting the lens. Let me tell you, there are few things louder than that fan. I could barely hear myself say my lines. We filmed that section first, and then recorded my dialogue. Sounds tough, but it happens quite often on sets. Sometimes the sound of a vehicle driving by or a plane overhead causes you to capture the audio later on. It adds to the fun!
Let’s talk a bit about you Lee. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
This was something I always wanted to do. As a kid, I would always run around pretending to be different characters I had seen on TV or read about in comics and books. I never really thought I truly fit in anywhere. I was actually studying Mechanical Engineering in college, before I decided to start acting. I wasn’t happy with my life, and almost failed out of school. My sister pushed me into taking some acting classes and then I suddenly felt happy. I finished my degree, while taking acting classes on the side, and then pursued this full-time. I’ve been training for close to ten years, now.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Do it! There’s a belief out there in the world that this industry is something you get into if you’re lazy, and don’t want to give anything else a try. This is the hardest I’ve ever worked for anything in my life. It’s hard work. This is something you have to do for yourself. Perseverance is the key. Keep at it!
You’ve been in a number of different film and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with and why? Any good stories to tell?
I wouldn’t say there were any favourites, per say. My first time on a professional set was in ‘Deadwater’, which starred Lance Henriksen and Gary Stretch. I think I was the greenest person there, but they made me feel so welcome. I realized film making was about teamwork. It’s also about having fun. They really helped me come into my own. I owe those guys a lot for getting me off on the proper foot.
I remember doing a scene where Lance interrogates me. We were trying to figure out how to give the scene a little extra. In one take, we decided to have Lance jam his fingers down my throat (not for real). The director, Roel Reine, had no idea. We got some Italian salad dressing, mixed it with prop blood, and I put it in my mouth. Roel called action, Lance jammed his fingers down my throat, I spat out the concoction, and we caught everyone off guard. The reactions were unforgettable. That take ended up being used in the final edit. Lance and I spent the rest of the day laughing about it. It’s something I’ll never forget.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
My I-Pod has a lot of music on it right now. The current playlist I listen a lot to has some Explosions In The Sky, Florence And The Machine, The National, Local Natives, and John Murphy on it.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things could you not live without?
That’s a hard one. Water would have to be one, unless I can use the water from the sea and just remove the salt through fancy science.
- A Leatherman’s tool or Swiss army knife.
- My girlfriend, unless that’s selfish of me. That might be selfish of me to bring her along. Okay… 3) I-Pod w/ handheld charger (yes I have one).
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
My agent and I have some goals set. There’s potential for some television, but I can’t really talk about it at this point. I’ll continue to audition and study. We’ll take it step by step, continue to have faith, and see what 2012 brings.
Thanks for the interview!