While she also returned to more highbrow roles last year with the Jane Austen adaptation Love & Friendship, Kate Beckinsale says she loved revisiting Selene. "There's a lot that goes on for the character in this movie," Beckinsale says. "She has stuff happen to her that hasn't happened before, and we also have a lot of new cast. It feels like a very different universe and world this time."

Kate Beckinsale in Underworld: Blood WarsKate Beckinsale in Underworld: Blood Wars

She admits to being somewhat surprised at the franchise's longevity. "I think I envisioned it coming to an end after the first one," Beckinsale says. "I never really planned on doing five movies playing the same character! And it's an amazing privilege because there's not that many girls that get the opportunity to be in a long-running franchise, especially an original story. There's no template for where it goes from here."

And as a female-led franchise, it's about time that a female director took the helm. Anna Foerster is an experienced filmmaker who is making her feature directing debut with Underworld: Blood Wars. "I don't think gender has a lot to do with whether you're a good director or a bad director," Beckinsale says. "But I know it's coming up a lot because it's an action heroine, which used to be unusual. I hope in a few years a woman director will be less unusual as well!"

In the mean time, Beckinsale plans to continue mixing up her roles. She's currently filming Marc Webb's drama The Only Living Boy in New York with Jeff Bridges and Pierce Brosnan. "I really like my career being balanced," she says. "I feel very lucky that we're releasing the fifth Underworld, and I'm still able to do other things at the same time. It challenges me. I didn't go to drama school, so this practice keeps me active, and I love the experience."

So will there be a sixth appearance for Selene? "I have no idea," Beckinsale laughs. "I've always said, 'No,' but I think I've cried wolf a few too many times to properly answer that question. I've really enjoyed playing a character that people dress up as on Halloween, which is wild and cool! But it's not something that I necessarily miss in between. I think Selene really exists on her own and in her own world separately from mine. And sometimes I find myself wearing her trousers again."

Watch the trailer for Underworld: Blood Wars: