The first entry in the Underworld franchise was a series of firsts for many people involved. While production companies trusted Len Wiseman (Total Recall), who was a first-time director then, to bring an ambitious supernatural story to life, the director did the same with his lead star. Up until that point, Kate Beckinsale (The Widow) wasn’t known as an action star, much less as a franchise lead.
When Underworld premiered in 2003, Kate Beckinsale wasn’t an action star. Director Len Wiseman thinks this was great for the movie’s popularity.