A non-stop mad search for both the hunted and the hunter, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” stars Benjamin Walker who plays the titular role of Abe Lincoln resurrected onscreen as a vampire hunting politico who later became one of the world’s most influential president.
“It began as a cynical observation, to be honest with you,” he admits. When I read about and researched the actual man, I became fascinated and fell in love with him and his trials and tribulations. Throughout his life he had every disadvantage: no wealth and no connections. He was poor as dirt, and surrounded by death. And yet, by the power of his intellect and his determination he was able to not only achieve the impossible of becoming a lawyer, but to become the leader of a nation tearing itself apart. And then he went on to save that nation.”
In fact it was, he suspects, the very first superhero origin story. “I began thinking that in the American psyche there's really no greater superhero than Abraham Lincoln.”
Weaving a gothic horror tale into Lincoln's biography, and doing so in as truthful a way as possible, came surprisingly easy for Grahame-Smith. Many moments in the real Lincoln's life jumped out straight away as being ripe for re-imagining with a vampiric twist. It began with the death of his mother when he was nine years old. “Her death had a tremendous effect on his life. The determination to escape his situation and better himself was borne of a desire to honor his mother's memory. It was quite obvious to me that if it were a vampire that had killed her, that would set him off on this path.”
The result of the marriage of truth and fiction at the heart of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is bounced through Timur Bekmambetov's very particular prism. Says Ben Walker, who plays Lincoln himself, “This is a period movie told in intricate and fascinating ways. It's the same material, the same time, and we're being very true to that, but through Timur's imagination we're getting to see the tiny minutiae that really make it special and fresh for us.”
Grahame-Smith summarizes the point of this grand adaptation very simply: “The film is a strange mix of absurdity and accuracy. The title makes an absurd promise, but everything after that is delivered with absolute sincerity. We never wink at the audience. We never play it as a joke. And whether it's the set design, the costume design, or Lincoln's prosthetics – everything is accurate. Timur knew early on that the more absurd the premise the more dedicated you have to be to it to pull it off.”
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is from 20th Century Fox to be available in 2D and 3D format to be distributed by Warner Bros. in local cinemas on July 4.
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