The Tao of Abraham Lincoln. the Vampire Hunter?

Manila Bulletin, July 9, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Tao of Abraham Lincoln. the Vampire Hunter?


Why won't those pesky vampires stay dead? Well, thank goodness there's Abe Lincoln.

Yes, the Abraham Lincoln. As in, America's 16th president and, apparently, an axe-wielding vampire killer - at least in the minds of visionary filmmakers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted"), and the wild imagination of author Seth Grahame-Smith (of the successful mash-up novel, "Pride And Prejudice And Zombies").

Thus, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" will see the light of day in theaters nationwide to bring a fresh voice to the bloodthirsty - and no sparkly - lore of the vampire, imagining Lincoln as "history's greatest hunter of the undead." Welcome to the world of all things unexpected.

Lincoln and vampires may make a bizarre combo, but producer Burton himself notes, "Lincoln's entire life mirrors the classic comic book superhero mythology."

And with that laid out, what of his enemies? "The vampires in our movie aren't romantic or funny, and they certainly don't sparkle," Grahame-Smith notes. "Our vampires are bloodthirsty and cunning - and most frightening of all, they've become a part of the fabric of everyday life, working as blacksmiths, pharmacists, and bankers." And they mean business.

In a live chat participated in by some members of the press, director Bekmambetov, Graham-Smith and actors Ben Walker (who plays Abe Lincoln in the movie) and Rufus Sewell (who plays the vampire Adam) discuss the truths that they've played up in this strange but ballsy work of fiction.

Bekmambetov points out that Lincoln is ripe to be imagined as an action hero. "He was tall with a, with big hat and, and, and dark suit and he was, he was very strong man. There was a, there was a legend that he could hold the axe, axe, as a woodman, he could hold the axe in a straight hand."

Grahame-Smith adds, "If you think about the things that he did, I mean- His (Lincoln's) story is like a super hero origin story. You know he comes from disadvantage; he's surrounded by loss and death and yet he's so strong and so, you know, determined that he picks himself up and he really trains himself."

"His weapon was his nature," the director interjects, adding, "[He's] a very unique super hero. It was not about the jumping from the roof to roof. It was about being with a nation and nation was his weapon."

Walker, who plays the title character, concurs. "And then when faced with extreme and extraordinary circumstances, how do we react? And that's what makes him a hero."

As research for the role, Walker shares that he did a lot of reading. "One book in particular about the melancholy of Abraham Lincoln was very helpful. [It was] kind of about his depressive and romantic nature; it lends itself nicely to our gothic tale."

Giving high praise to Bekmambetov, saying that he loved everything the director did in the movie, Grahame-Smith points out, "Even though the premise of the movie might sound ridiculous, everything within the movie is treated with real care and historical accuracy - the way things look, the way Lincoln looks and behaves, to the timeline of how things actually unfolded-"

In terms of novel accuracy, however, the vampire Adam proves a little out-of-place. …

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