As we’ve already reported, Neil Jordan who gave us the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire returns to undead cinema with a new offering. Byzantium stars the lovely Gemma Arterton (Miss Fields from the James Bond flick Quantum of Solace as well as the t.v. series Lost in Austen) and young Saoirse Ronan, perhaps best known for starring in Atonement and as the title character in Hannah (plus the lead in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lovely Bones). Joining them is Jonny Lee Miller who plays Roger Collins in the upcoming Dark Shadows.
Byzantium is currently in post-production so it has no distributor as yet. What we do know is that the story deals with two women–or more accurately, a woman and a girl–who make some kind of dark pact. Yes they are vampires. Presumably. Mother and daughter. We think. Many announcements regarding the film seem a little ambiguous. More certain is the origins of the script. English dramatist Moira Buffini wrote a play which (according to IMDB) she has now adapted for the screen. This is hardly her own screen credit. She adapted Charlotte Bronte’s classic Jane Eyre last year and before that an updated version of Tamara Drewe (also starring Arterton).
Pictures from on set surfaced before now. Several show Arterton at a beach in a flowing blood-red gown that looks Regency and certainly shows off her ample charms. Another set of photos shows Ronan in modern dress, seemingly amid a relatively “normal” family but also wearing the same color red — in her case almost like a modern version of Red Riding Hood. IMDB lists their characters as Clara and Eleanor Webb, respectively.
Now a poster has been released! As you can see the title takes the form of a yellow neon sign attached to what appears to be a beaux-arts building. Two figures, clearly Arterton (in red) and Ronan, stare out into a teal-tinted dark sky and the bird silhouettes there. They look like seagulls to me.
The tagline: Irresistible. Immoral. Immortal.
From the photos we can make a few reasonable guesses. One is that these vampires don’t sparkle, which these days seems to require mentioning even when no one expects the vampires in a given film to do so. They apparently follow folklore in being able to withstand sunlight. Given the colors and the fact this is the same director who gave us The Company of Wolves we might well expect something of a visual feast.
And as yet we have no real clue as the meaning of the title! So what do you think? Are you intrigued? Have any theories?
Hmm… as for the title I don’t know. All I know is that Byzantium was, according to legend, an ancient Greek city. Perhaps the movie some how ties to that? The city is shrouded in mystery.
Um…no legend. Byzantium was real. These days it is called Istanbul.
After “Byzantium” and before “Istanbul”, the city’s name was Constantinople.
The Company Of Wolves is one of my all time favorite films. Jordan also directed the underrated The Brave One. (I didn’t care for Butcher Boy though.) Byzantium is definitely a must-see.
“these vampires don’t sparkle” LOL! That is indeed obligatory these days. It’s the vampire film/literature analog of what Stephen Jay Gould called the ‘creeping Fox Terrier clone’ in older evolution textbooks – a rotely repeated cliche.
Mother-daughter vampires (who don’t sparkle)? I’m in!
Battling general assumptions about Vampires is even worse if yours have heartbeats and 98.6°F± body temperature. My main character even ends up saying “Check my pulse. Yes, I have one.”
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing
Excerpt from the poem “Sailing To Byzantium” by William Butler Yeats