HOLLYWOOD — Not only is Blade returning to kill more vampires in a back-to-basics sort of way, but he's bringing some new blood with him as well.
Jessica Biel has joined the cast of "Blade 3," the latest movie about the half-human/half-vampire badass — famously (and fangedly) played by Wesley Snipes — who was plucked from the pages of Marvel's "Tomb of Dracula" comic books.
Last year's "Blade 2" took in $86.1 million in the United States alone, besting the first flick's $70 million haul that helped reignite the comic-book movie genre after the critically reviled "Batman & Robin" seemed to grind things to a halt.
In the first film, Snipes pretty much just knocked off vampires left and right, but the sequel's storyline became a bit more complex. Biel, best known for her breakout role as Mary on the WB's "Seventh Heaven," said "Blade 3" will be back-to-basics.
"We're reverting back to the original idea of 'Blade,' " she said while hanging around Hollywood's famous Chateau Marmont hotel, talking to the press about another of her upcoming films, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (see "Jessica Biel Says 'Chainsaw' Remake Will Retain Original's Spirit").
"I think 'Blade 2' is great, but it kind of had a different vibe, a different feeling to it [and] a different look," she said. "All of the fighting, all of the costumes — this is back to the beginning. It's [a] clean slate. It's going to be very much like 'Blade.' "
One thing that'll help maintain continuity between the three "Blade" films is that David Goyer, who wrote all of them, has now taken over directorial duties.
Biel promised that Goyer's approach to "Blade 3"'s many action sequences will eschew the recent trend of "Matrix"- and "Crouching Tiger"-like theatrics in favor of more visceral fisticuffs.
"The action is gritty," she said. "It's raw. It's real. [There are] no wires, no flying people on trees. We're talking old-school boxing techniques and real-life street fighting. That's what's [really] gonna make it back-to-basics.
"And I think that's what the action genre [and] the action [fan] community is looking for," she said. "It's great, all this cool [wire work and computer-generated] stuff, it looks great, it's different. But we need to go back. It's time to go back."
In the movie, Biel plays Abigail, the tough, vampire-killing daughter of Kris Kristofferson's Abraham Whistler character. She's part of a team of human vampire hunters called The Nightstalkers (which also includes "Van Wilder" star Ryan Reynolds) who join forces with Blade to stop the vampires' latest nefarious plot. Apparently, Biel's team is so kick-ass that there have even been whispers of a possible "Nightstalkers" spinoff flick.
"We're training our butts off to make this movie [look] realistic — to make [it] look like we can do these martial arts and [like] we can carry these heavy guns and these big arrows, these bows that I carry. It's gonna be rockin'."
In addition to Biel, Snipes and Reynolds, the "Blade 3" cast will include Parker Posey ("Josie and the Pussycats") and Dominic Purcell ("Mission: Impossible II"), who'll play the Dracula-like, über-vampire Frank Drake, who is awakened from a long slumber.
"Blade" fans will have to wait until next fall to see the movie, but in the meantime Biel can be seen in the aforementioned "Chainsaw" remake, which opens October 17.