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CBR TV @ WC 2012: Bekmambetov & Grahame-Smith on “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”

Director Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”) and screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith (“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”) visited the world famous CBR Tiki Lounge at WonderCon 2012 in Anaheim, CA to discuss their new film “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” The duo discussed the genesis of the film version of Grahame-Smith’s novel, the possibility of a sequel, and the Russian film industry.

While producer Tim Burton and Bekmambetov were working on “9,” the “Dark Shadows” filmmaker came across Grahame-Smith’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and asked what else the writer was working on. The writer sent his outline for the novel of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” to Burton who immediately wanted to turn it into a movie. Bekmambetov was drawn to the project because of its challenging subject matter. He also saw it as a way to connect with the core of what America is, which he hadn’t been able to explore in his previous films.

While the film’s trailer showcases a great deal of action, the book smartly left much of it out because, as Grahame-Smith said, “It’s boring to read action.” The filmmakers’ goal with “Lincoln” was to create an action movie with historical relevance and an emotional core. The author elaborated further on some other key distinctions from his novel that were necessary to create a better movie while preserving the tone.

In touching on the film’s serious tone, which contrasts with its slightly absurdist title, the conversation moved to comic books and traditional super heroes. Grahame-Smith talked about his work with Marvel on a “Marvel Zombies” story and his thoughts on comic book writing in general. The writer also explained that in his story Lincoln has a “super hero origin story.”

Asked about the possibility of a sequel, Bekmambetov said he’s generally opposed to the idea of working on the same material more than once. However, he did comment on his efforts to get a “Wanted” sequel moving.