Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Dominic Cooper Interview For ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’
With ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,’ visionary filmmakers Timur Bekmambetov (director) and Tim Burton (producer) present an original take on the United States’ 16th president and bring a fresh voice to the bloodthirsty lore of the vampire. When Abraham Lincoln’s mother is killed by a supernatural creature, it fuels his passion to avenge her death. Statesmen by day, hunter by night, President Lincoln sets out to crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers. The screenplay for the film is by Seth Grahame-Smith, based on his own novel ‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.’ The film stars Benjamin Walker as the titular Abraham Lincoln, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Rufus Sewell, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ is out now.
With the films basic premise summed up in its title, ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,’ how would you personally describe this cross-genre hybrid?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I would basically say that it’s a historical, action, adventure, thriller…..(laughs) its basically quite a ride. And the title, ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,’ it’s not as crazy as it sounds, for me it’s really cool. I think it’s one of those things where you can’t quite grasp it until you see some little piece of footage from it. Then you kind of go, “Oh, that’s what this is.” It’s something that’s completely different from anything you’ve seen before.
There’s an interesting and unique tone to the film….?
Anthony Mackie: I feel like the tone of the movie has more of an intimate feel, to a huge story. One thing that Timur done that was smart was leaving the heart of the story in, while giving you an action movie. I feel like a lot of the times when you watch an action movie there’s no story to it, there’s just action, there’s a lot of cars being blown up and a lot of people jumping off bridges. With ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ you actually get a story, and you get to look at it in the way you want to look at it, to live with the characters. And then you have these huge, amazing action sequences that kind of force you to go along on this journey with these characters. And the real element of the story pours you in even more, because there’s historical facts it, that you recognise. So it makes you pay attention.
Dominic Cooper: Yeah. It’s exhilarating because it’s not just an all-out action film. It’s not just gore and blood, as you’d assume a vampire film would be. And I don’t think it’s trying to be that. It’s much more about that fascinating time in American history, that time of change. And these wonderful, elaborate secrets and ideas and concepts of what was actually going on under the surface. Abraham Lincoln, he was a wonderful and interesting and compelling man, with a staggering life and a staggering story to tell. That coupled with this very imaginative idea that he was also slaying evil people in his spare time, I think that was very clever. Then you can link it to all sorts of things and reasons why certain things happens. You also can use your own imagination as an audience member.
What was it like working on this project that creatively had the likes of Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov behind it?
Dominic Cooper: That was amazing, with Tim Burton producing it, with his ideas and his extraordinarily imaginative mind seeping into the screenplay. That with Timur’s extraordinarily graphical and imaginative action sequences, I think the combination of all those things makes it very very entertaining. I think with this particular genre of film, Timur does it so magically. I haven’t seen things shot the way that he shoots his films.
Anthony Mackie: The way Timur sees the word is very interesting. And the way he’s choosing to bring this book to life is completely different, he puts his own stamp on it. The style on which he’s shooting is funky and creative and different. I feel like it’s a funny way to tell a story, but it’s an interesting way to see it and to bring it to life. It’s completely different to anything we’ve seen before.
How do you hope audiences react to ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I think audiences can be expected to be taken on a ride, to be swept away by this story. To be surprised, to laugh, to be scared. I think that you will be really taken on a journey that is unexpected. And I think that is something that audiences are looking for right now, to be surprised. And ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,’ it’s the most surprising project that came my way in a long time (laughs). It was fun.
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