Aug. 17, 2012 | 5:48 p.m.
Twenty-five years ago, a summer release from a costume designer-turned-director was moving the needle on vampire movies, forever altering how both audiences and the industry engaged with a cinematic staple by dressing it up with teen romance, sex appeal and style. Fans of “Twilight,” “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries,” take note: A lot of what you love about your night creatures descends directly from Joel Schumacher’s 1987 movie “The Lost Boys,” which carries the indelible tagline: “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.” Long before the sub-genre became over-freighted with our fantasies, phobias and revisionist history (Abe Lincoln? Really?), handsome young bloodsuckers with chiseled cheekbones, cool clothes and attitude to spare were wilding through the Northern California seaside resort of Santa Carla, a fictional town with the ignominious title […]
Aug. 09, 2012 | 3:12 p.m.
Two months ago, Seth Grahame-Smith looked like he would be the breakout star of a crowded summer movie season. The “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” novelist-turned-Hollywood screenwriter had two films set for release within weeks of each other: Tim Burton’s soap opera send-up “Dark Shadows” and an adaptation of his own bestseller, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” The first starred Johnny Depp as an aristocratic vampire who must navigate the strange social mores of 1970s Maine; the latter cast newcomer Benjamin Walker as an ax-wielding incarnation of the 16th president who, out to avenge his mother’s murder, hunts down the monsters secretly advancing the practice of slavery. Both flopped. Suddenly, the 36-year-old — whom the Wall Street Journal had proclaimed “one of Hollywood’s most sought-after young players” — didn’t seem quite so whiz-bang successful. “I’ve thought a lot about this summer […]
July 14, 2012 | 8:35 p.m.
“True Blood” creator Alan Ball received a warm send-off in his final Comic-Con International appearance as the showrunner of the HBO vampire series, with fans and many members of the show’s cast rising to applaud the man who brought Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels to graphic life for five seasons and is now stepping down from his top post. Aside from that emotional moment, though, the tenor of the panel was high-spirited and even silly with many, many references to romance, nudity, sex and stripping, the latter courtesy of Joe Manganiello’s recent cinematic turn as a male dancer named Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s film “Magic Mike.” The panel kicked off with a preview of the latter half of Season 5 that revealed Manganiello’s Alcide will step up to become pack master and Russell Edgington will create all kinds […]
July 12, 2012 | 8:05 p.m.
For fans of “Twilight,” it was the end of an era. “Breaking Dawn Pt. 2,” the final installment in the blockbuster movie saga opened Comic-Con International’s Hall H presentations Thursday, with new footage, a few funny quips and the official debut of 11-year-old Mackenzie Foy, who plays Renesmee, the “half-vamp kid” of protagonists Edward Cullen and his human-cum-vampire wife Bella Swan. Stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner still enjoyed the bulk of the spotlight — the only principal missing from the festivities was director Bill Condon, who is currently in London scoring the movie with his longtime collaborator, Carter Burwell; even series author Stephenie Meyer, who returned to Comic-Con for the first time since “Twilight” was released in 2008, joined in on the fun, participating with her long-time collaborators. (She also brought footage from the “The Host,” Andrew […]
June 25, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
Benjamin Walker was halfway through the production of his first feature as a leading man, but standing on the Louisiana set of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” last year, the star of the monster mash-up movie wasn’t ready to make any assumptions about his career’s future prospects. “Who knows?” the Georgia native said between takes of the Timur Bekmambetov-directed action thriller. “I’ll probably go back to waiting tables and begging the government for health insurance here shortly, but for now I’m in high cotton.” Walker’s pragmatism surely will serve him well, though it’s unlikely he’ll be waiting tables anytime soon. Critics haven’t been especially kind to “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” — reviews for the unusual slice of R-rated revisionist history have been largely tepid at best — and the film grossed only an estimated $16.5 million in its opening weekend. Yet the […]
April 19, 2012 | 4:23 p.m.
Johnny Depp said the world has lost “a true original” with the passing of Jonathan Frid, the darkly debonair Canadian actor who played vampire Barnabas Collins in the melodramatic and macabre soap opera “Dark Shadows.” Depp grew up as an ardent fan of “Dark Shadows” and that passion led to the film version remake, which reaches theaters May 11 with Depp as a key producer and also starring in the role made famous by Frid. Director Tim Burton also brought Frid and other original series cast members in for cameos in the movie, giving Depp a chance to share the screen with an idol of his youth. So as news spread Thursday that Frid had died late last week — on Friday the 13th, no less — Depp was balancing the bittersweet subplots of a life that could last 87 long years but […]
April 16, 2012 | 12:30 p.m.
The sun was just about to set over Lake Pontchartrain on a humid Louisiana day last May when Abraham Lincoln was summoned into action in a grassy field to wrestle to the hard, unforgiving ground the murderous nemesis who took the life of his mother years earlier. Lincoln bellowed with sorrow and rage, pinning an enemy beneath his considerable weight. This was not the weathered president struggling to bear up under the agonizing grief of a bloody and brutal Civil War. This was a young man primed for a fight to the death. Funny thing, though — no one in the assembled crowd of onlookers seemed to bat an eye that Honest Abe was facing off against a vampire. Such is the straight-faced approach to the somewhat ridiculous-sounding “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” Fox’s 3-D adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel due […]
Feb. 18, 2012 | 4:35 a.m.
This Presidents Day, almost 150 years after his assassination, Abraham Lincoln is poised to become the breakout star of 2012. In June, he will fight the undead in a movie adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s bestselling novel, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” Later this year, Steven Spielberg will offer a more historically accurate – if disappointingly vampire-free – biography of Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis. And (ahem) in my own upcoming novel, “Red, White, and Blood,” Lincoln gives advice from beyond the grave in order to save the current president’s life. But these are, honestly, just the latest additions on Lincoln’s post-mortal resume. Long before Paul Bunyan swung his axe or Superman battled Lex Luthor, Lincoln was America’s first superhuman. He’s partied with Keanu Reeves in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and fought alongside Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise. He […]
Feb. 17, 2012 | 3:08 p.m.
Daniel Gillies plays formidable Elijah foe-turned-ally in Season 3 of “The Vampire Diaries.” After being resurrected for the fourth time in the series, Gillies shares his insights on the show’s star, Nina Dobrev, who plays small-town doppelganger Elena Gilbert, the future of the Original vampire clan and the classical nature of his character. But Elijah isn’t Gillies’ main focus — upcoming projects include the NBC medical drama “Saving Hope,” with “Smallville’s” Erica Durance and Michael Shanks, and a new film, “Broken Kingdom,” with Rachel Leigh Cook that he wrote and directed. This is Part 2 of an interview with Nardine Saad; you can read Part 1 here. NS: You say Elijah has been around for 1,000 years, yet he’s still getting duped by “ludicrous nothings.” Do you consider Elena a “nothing?” DG: I’m certainly not calling Elena nothing. Yes, that instance […]
Feb. 16, 2012 | 1:45 p.m.
“The Vampire Diaries” has killed off quite a few of both its beloved and despicable characters in its three seasons on The CW, but one character whom executive producers Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson keep bringing back is the Original vampire Elijah, played by Daniel Gillies. Elijah has returned once again to Mystic Falls at the hands of vampires Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) and his brother Stefan (Paul Wesley) to defeat the indestructible supernatural Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah’s Original vampire brother who also happens to be a werewolf hybrid. Now their fearsome Original vampire siblings, who were created centuries ago by their mother — the Original witch — to preserve their lives from a plague, are wreaking even more havoc in the spooky town. Elijah might seem to be on the side of mortal Elena Gilbert, played by the show’s […]