WonderCon 2012: LINCOLN Hunts Vampires, PROMETHEUS Teased

 

Twentieth Century Fox brought the big guns to WonderCon 2012 in Anaheim, California. They took over the ballroom with clips, trailers, and discussions about their upcoming 3D films Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Prometheus. Audiences were treated to never-before-seen material, including a full sequence from Abraham Lincoln and the first 3D trailer for Prometheus. A couple of surprise guests even crashed the panel.

Seth Grahame-Smith, writer of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (the book and screenplay adaptation) took center stage and introduced a new sequence from the movie. The action-packed clip showed the 16th President in his new role: a fighter and monster slayer you wouldn't want to mess with. He takes out vampires left and right on a runaway train. In a particularly memorable scene, he decapitates a vampire by shutting the door on its head and then punts the head off the train. If only all United States Presidents were so tough.

After the trailer aired, art director Timur Bekmambetov and actor Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln) joined Grahame-Smith and discussed the movie, jumping right into audience questions. When Grahame-Smith was asked how he put such random topics together to “make such a badass concept,” he stated it was easy. “I just get drunk by myself and throw darts at a wall until I hit two random words.” Though that could work, he actually came up with the idea in an even more random way.

When he was on tour for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, two displays were at every book store: books for the bicentennial of Abe Lincoln's birth and the books of the Twilight saga. He thought if he could put them together, he'd really have something. Then, once he put time into researching Lincoln's real life, he realized that he had a superhero origin story. Grahame-Smith thinks Lincoln is the first American superhero.

Grahame-Smith reassured the audience that much of the book is in the movie. He had to make slight changes to make the book more suitable for film format. Grahame-Smith added a central villain and “fixed” the movie adaptation by adding a kickass train fight sequence. He felt it was important to do the movie straight, too. The topic is so absurd that he felt the only way to approach it was seriously. Producer Tim Burton really protected that tone with the studio.

One audience member pointed out that the vampire genre is in danger of feeling over-saturated and wanted to know how Grahame-Smith felt about that. After joking that the film will be the only one in theaters this summer with the President killing vampires, Grahame-Smith said he wants this movie to be a return to form for vampires. He wrote the book paying respect to the vampires he grew up with and was afraid of. Bekmambetov took special care to set the mood to make it as scary as possible.

After checking out a trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the panel moved onto Prometheus. Co-writer Damon Lindelof and director Sir Ridley Scott presented the first full-length trailer for the sort-of-but-not-really Alien prequel. The film is set in the same universe, and the trailer teased links to Alien. The overall coloring and mood is very reminiscent of the 1979 precursor. The Space Jockey, the scary beats, the architecture, and even eggs complete the undeniable Alien vibe.

The trailer gave away some basic plot elements, too. Scientists have found a common symbol at archaeological digs across Earth. It is interpreted as an invitation to another planet. They leave to explore on the ship Prometheus, and when they arrive they discover canisters with living organisms. As Michael Fassbender's character Dave states, “Big things have small beginnings.” Though it's not clear who or what the exact threat is, things begin to go wrong.

 

The trailer ended, and Lindelof introduced surprise guests: stars of the movie, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender. They were both happy to be involved in the film, and Scott approached them directly about being part of it. He said that once he has completed the script, he has to figure out who will play the parts and he usually has preconceptions about who he'd like to be involved. Then he just hopes the people he wants are available. He prefers ensemble casts because he thinks it leads to better work from everyone.

Sir Ridley Scott also expressed happiness about being involved in the science fiction genre again. He mentioned it's a privilege just to be making movies. The script started with just a seed and after six weeks of talking about the story with Lindelof, it just started to evolve and take off into another universe. Scott was even so bold as to mention there could be a second part because the film does leave big open questions.

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