Today, Wednesday 6th June 2012, I was very fortunate to attend a preview of the popcorn, gothic, historical re-imagining (based on the novel of the same name) Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter 3D. The filmmaking collaboration joins mad Russian genius director Timur Bekmambetov [TB] (Night Watch, Day Watch, Wanted), Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands) as producer and the writer of the original novel Seth Graham Smith [writer of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and screen writer of Dark Shadows]. Facilitating proceedings was host of the Sci-Fi Show Oscar Hillestrom and introducing two lengthy scenes was writer Seth Grahame-Smith and star Benjamin Walker. To kick off proceedings Smith wanted to preface the scenes with the fact (and I'll paraphrase) that the joke is all in the title/premise but they play the story with all the seriousness of any historical drama. Up until this point the previews hadn't elicited anything except a few yucks, and a few 'meh's'. After seeing how engaging Ben was as Abe, I was totally sold on the whimsy of the premise and the sincerity of the execution.
Now I'm not going to speak about the specific scenes but the production design really pops off of the screen. TB's trademark gothic and frenetically paced camera utilizes the 3D well and the tone of the scenes was really engaging and sincere. The scenes did showcase some crazy axe wielding and vampire vs human carnage and a huge and intense scene on a steam train crossing a rail bridge that's ablaze.
Following the scenes there was a really candid (if brief) and funny Q&A with Seth and Ben. The highlights included:
- Seth Grahame-Smith said that during his book tour with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies seeing a bestselling Lincoln Biography side by side with the Twilight novels in every bookstore he visited and had that ‘chocolate peanut butter moment’ which formed the catalyst for the novel.
- Grahame-Smith was glad to surrender and mutate the text during the filmmaking process to make it more cinematic.
- TB occasionally had some misunderstandings due to translation in the production meetings e.g. 1. TB was fascinated by the concept of the 'underground railroad' that ferried scores of freed slaves to the Northern United States during the Civil War. Which he thought was like a literal subway that crossed several states. 2. TB says Beaten = Bitten – “Seth he should be Bitten” – “No Timur because then he’d be a vampire” etc 3. TB Shooting/Shoot = Shitting/Shit “Why aren’t we Shitting” “Good question” etc
- Ben comes from a theatre background and his biggest interest in the film was working with TB.
- Both Ben and Seth agree that Timur is a mad Russian genius
- Grahame-Smith confirmed that the film was designed and shot conventionally for the 3D conversion process.
Check out the trailer below and leave a comment if you're keen to see it.
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter 3D is released on August 2nd in Australia.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman