Hunting Vampires with Abraham Lincoln

Interview

Friday, June 22, 2012

Actor Benjamin Walker and director Timur Bekmambetov on the set of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Actor Benjamin Walker and director Timur Bekmambetov on the set of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Steven Vaughan)

It’s officially summer: time for Hollywood to roll out a few adaptations of best-selling novels, some big action movies, a somewhat scary fantasy, and maybe a historical drama for mom and dad. But why not all four of those things in one movie?

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter re-imagines the American Civil War with blood-sucking undead lurking around every corner. Vampires insinuate themselves into the slave-holding Confederacy, but buy slaves for food, not forced labor. But director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted) says he decided to take the story seriously. “It’s not trivializing anything,” Bekmambetov tells Kurt Andersen. “We created a myth, emotionally explaining what happened in the 19th century.”

Bekmambetov hails from what was the Kazakh Republic of the Soviet Union, which dissolved when he was 30 years old. Although he welcomed new freedoms that came with the end of Communism, Bekmambetov says it was a “tragedy” watching his country break into 15 separate nations. “I was born in a country twice [as] big as it is now, and it was one family,” he says. “I understand how important it was for America to keep the country united in the 19th century. [Lincoln] sacrificed millions of lives to save the country — and his own life.”

→ Is there an historical figure you’d like to see fighting supernatural villains? Post your title (and perhaps a pitch) in a comment below.


Video: A scene from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

    Music Playlist
  • What Do You Hate?
    Artist: Various Artists
    Album: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
    Label: SONY MASTERWORKS
    Purchase: Amazon

Guests:

Timur Bekmambetov

Contributors:

Julia Barton

Comments [8]

Ryan Coulter from Saskatoon

Joe McCarthy: Witch Hunter

Jul. 01 2012 07:06 PM
Kira from Philadelphia

Teddy Roosevelt: Never Mind Africa, Let's Hunt Zombies

Jun. 29 2012 05:31 PM
Bryce from Iowa

@Gomer in DC: Kurt interjected mid-sentence so the sentence isn't quite phrased correctly, but I think they both meant that Lincoln sacrificed others' lives *as well as* his own.

Jun. 25 2012 11:19 AM
Christopher Waldrop from Nashville, TN

Here's my idea for a historical supernatural thriller: John James Audubon-Dragon Slayer.

Jun. 25 2012 09:48 AM
DH Bennett from Jersey City

LYNDON JOHNSON IN SPACE: Return of JFK

Jun. 24 2012 03:47 AM
coystrill bateson from Flushing

Ethan Allen vs. the Triffids of Tyranny (alt. title Green Mountain: Blood Harvest ).

Jun. 23 2012 04:47 PM
James z from New Hampshire

A fact-based biography on the adventures of Teddy Roosevelt would beat out any supernatural thriller. Although I must admit, a movie about Martin Van Buren (the "Little Magician") battling dark wizards does sound tempting....

Jun. 23 2012 02:50 PM
Gomer Pyle from DC

Puh-lease! "[Lincoln] sacrificed millions of lives to save the country — and his own life.” No! Total war dead in the American Civil War were probably fewer than 700,000. It was a dreadful, unprecedented war, but get the numbers right!

And Lincoln did not "save his own life" in the Civil War. No one would have shot him if he and his country had simply let the South secede (most likely -- it was Southern extremists who were most adamant against him). And Lincoln *did* lose his life as a result of the war. Lincoln was a skillful politician, but not a cynical one. To say he prosecuted the Civil War to save his own skin is a slander. Perhaps it arises from misinformation -- perhaps it is well intended -- but it is wrong and it must be corrected. (Is this more of the new Russian propaganda against the United States and its people? Some way of portraying everything Americans have done as wrong? It sounds consistent with that same program of denigration.)

I'm all for seeing Lincoln fight vampires. First up: revisionist historians who would have us revisit our glory days of mass slaughter to defend human bondage, on some perverted vision of "honor."

Please, director, get that record straight in your mind and say it straight to your public.

Jun. 22 2012 02:03 PM

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