March 18, 2012 10:52am PT by Borys Kit
WonderCon 2012: 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' Creators Reveal Backstory, 'Twilight' Connection (Video)
Even though he was sitting next to director Timur Bekmambetov and star Benjamin Walker, writer Seth Grahame-Smith was front and center at Fox’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter presentation on Sunday at the WonderCon convention in Anaheim.
And why not? The man wrote the book that forms the basis for the upcoming movie, and he co-wrote the film's script as well.
Fox has only unveiled one Vampire Hunter trailer so far, so the studio took the opportunity at WonderCon to give audiences some deeper insight into the 19th Century period movie meets 21st century action movie. It also premiered a new trailer, which was chock-full of axe-swinging by the 16th president.
The highlight might have been a sequence showing Walker as Lincoln, with a sidekick, fighting off attacking vampires whie on a train speeding towards a bridge that is burning and threatening to collapse. The scenes had a classic Hammer Films-like quality (no doubt an influence from producer Tim Burton), married to all the modern action-movie tricks (replete with slo-mo’s, a visual aesthetic often employed by Bekmambetov, who came to U.S. moviegoers' attention with the Angelina Jolie action film Wanted). Burton wasn't present for the panel but did provide a funny video purportedly of himself in an almost decomposing state and near death.
Smith revealed that the idea for the book came while he was touring the country promoting his previous book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was 2009, and the country was celebrating the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth and in the midst of the Twilight craze. In many bookstores Smith visited, the two subjects were displayed side by side.
“I thought, rather cynically, if you combine those two, you’d be on to something,” he recalled
Smith, as well Bekmambetov and Walker, stressed how much research was done to make the movie as historically accurate as possible, despite the genre mash-up.
Smith compared Lincoln (and the movie) to a comic-book hero.
“This really is a superhero origin story,” he said. “He’s the CEO of the country, and he saved the country. He’s the only true American superhero that I can think of."
He also took on the prevailing influence of vampires, due to the Twilight movies, slyly playing to the crowd without overtly dissing Stephenie Meyer's creation.
“I’m not a Twilight hater. I have a lot of respect for Stephenie Meyer…it’s good for movies, it’s good for literature,” he explained. “That said, our vampires don’t sparkle.”
The audience laughed and cheered.
It was Walker, however, who offered perhaps the panel's best line during the Q&A portion, when one audience member asked if President Obama could be a vampire killer, and if so, what would be his weapon of choice?
“Diplomacy,” responded Walker.