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Byzantium: New Vampire Flick from the makers of “Interview”

Neil Jordon, who brought “Interview With The Vampire” to the screen so successfully even Anne Rice praised his creation (after first openly decrying the casting choices), is gearing up for another vampire film! The director, also known for his eerie take on Little Red Riding Hood called “The Company of Wolves” and the famous plot-twist of romantic thriller “The Crying Game,” these days produces the cable series “The Borgias.” But now he’ll be returning to the undead with “Byzantium.”

Based on an original script by Moira Buffini (who also wrote the most recent “Jane Eyre”), “Byzantium” tells of a mother who becomes a vampire then turns her own daughter. The two hunt together, sometimes posing as sisters. Producer Stephen Woolley worked with Jordon with “Interview” as well as “Company” and “Game.” Two English actresses have already snagged the leads:

Gemma Arterton first came to audience’s major attention when she played Strawberry Fields opposite Daniel Craig in “Quantum of Solace”. Her British television credits include “Tess of the D’Ubervilles” and “Lost in Austen.” Her film career highlights include “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” as well as “Clash of the Titans” (and is due to appear in the sequel “Wrath of the Titans”). Generally her roles have included such diverse types as an adventurous schoolgirl in “St. Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold” (opposite former Doctor Who David Tennant) and a kidnapping/sexual abuse victim in “The Disappearance of Alice Creed.”

Saoirse (pronounced sir-shuh) Ronan, playing the vampirized daughter of Arterton’s character, can currently be seen killing people like a grimmer version of Hit Girl in the motion picture “Hanna” opposite Eric Bana and Cate Blanchette. Other credits include “Atonement” with “Pirates” alumn Keira Knightley, “The Lovely Bones” directed by Peter Jackson (in which she plays a murder victim watching her family from Heaven), and “City of Ember.” Interestingly, she’s also been cast as the lead in the motion picture adaptation of “The Host” by Stephanie Meyers (of “Twilight” fame).

Rounding out the cast is Helena Bonham Carter (currently filming another vampire flick–“Dark Shadows” with Johnny Depp) and Ralph Fiennes (aka Voldemort in the “Harry Potter” series).

At the Cannes film festival, Woolley explained the origin of the project with Jordon: ““I love the horror genre and we’ve been working on this for three or four years. I sent it to Neil and he liked the script. We’d both recently revisited Angela Carter’s book (on which “The Company of Wolves” was based) and it was just chance that when I called, we were thinking along the same lines.” The original script is based on a youth theater play by Buffini but has been taken to a slightly more adult, darker level, Woolley continued.

The film is set to start filming in October with an $11 million dollar budget. Presumably that would be a release sometime in 2012, which would mean after the last “Twilight” film has premiered, and the fifth and third seasons of “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries” should be underway if not completed.

ByzantiumGemma ArtertonHelena Bonham Carterinterview with the vampireMoira BuffiniNeil JordonRalph FiennesSaoirse Ronan

david • May 17, 2011


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