In this day and age, where you can’t throw a rock in a movie theater without hitting a bloodsucker-themed movie, it takes a lot to get us to register even a flicker of interest in a vampire film. But it helps a lot if you have Neil Jordan at the helm, a man who way back to “The Company Of Wolves” has proven to be a master of the macabre, and a director capable of bringing plenty of thematic richness to genre fare.
Jordan’s gone back to vampires for the first time since 1994’s “Interview With The Vampire,” filming “Byzantium” since late last year, and he’s got an impressive cast on board, with Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan starring as mother-and-daughter vampires from the 18th century to the present day, in a script by Moira Buffini (“Jane Eyre“), based on her play “A Vampire Story.” And while shooting is wrapping up on the project, some key supporting cast members have just come to light.
Baz Bamigboye spoke to Arterton about the project, revealing in the process that alongside the previously announced Sam Riley (“Control“), Daniel Mays (“Made in Dagenham“) and Caleb Landry-Jones (“X-Men: First Class“), actors Jonny Lee Miller and Tom Hollander are also part of the cast. Miller has been cropping up in various projects since “Trainspotting,” but got a boost last year co-starring with Benedict Cumberbatch in Danny Boyle‘s stage production of “Frankenstein;” this marks his second high-profile vampire movie in a row, after a key supporting role in Tim Burton‘s “Dark Shadows,” which opens in May. Hollander, meanwhile, is best recognized from films like “Pirates of the Caribbean,” where he played the principle villain, and “Pride & Prejudice,” although he showed a new side thanks to his hilarious gym-shorted turn as the flamboyant German assassin in Joe Wright‘s “Hanna.”
There’s no word as to who either one is playing, but it’s good news that they’re involved. Arterton, meanwhile, tells Bamigboye of the project that, “There’s blood and vampires and all of that, but we focus on the mother-daughter relationship,” and that her character is “brittle, and she’s a fighter.” Meanwhile, as for her other upcoming horror-tinged film, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” which was just delayed ten months to January 2013, she says the film is “about these damaged kids really, and now we’re all grown up. Gretel’s quite wild. She’s super cool, and violent. She has a crossbow, she headbutts people, folk get decapitated, noses get bitten off. It’s so ridiculous that it’s funny, but I wouldn’t mess with her.”
That film hits theaters on January 10, 2013, while we should see “Byzantium” some time before that, all being well — a Toronto debut might well be in the cards.