WonderCon 2012: Timur Bekmambetov, Benjamin Walker and Seth Grahame-Smith talk “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”


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On June 22, the nation will find out that Abraham Lincoln actually moonlighted — literally — as a vampire hunter. The appropriately titled “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” made its convention debut at WonderCon on Saturday and star Benjamin Walker, director Timur Bekmambetov and writer Seth Grahame-Smith took to the Anaheim Convention Center stage to show some new footage from the movie.

Following the panel, the trio spoke with some journalists at a press conference promoting the film. IFC was lucky enough to join in the conversation and talk about the conversion of the story from book to screen, the tone of the movie and just how scary these vampires are actually going to be.

Elements of Seth Grahame-Smith’s book are still in the film
“We incorporate voiceover through Lincoln’s journal entries and letters to other people very sparingly,” Grahame-Smith said. “You don’t want to saturate people with voiceover, but at the same time we do want to use that device. And we do use the device of Lincoln sort of looking back at some of these events through his journal entries.”

The joke is in the title, and that’s where it ends
The premise is an absurd premise, and because it is so absurd, it’s very easy to fall into doing it as a lark and make a joke of the whole thing, but what we chose to do and what I chose to do in the book is to take an absurd premise and take it very seriously and do it very straightforward. So I think that what you’ll see in the tone of the movie is a very serious, muscular straight-forward presentation of a superhero origin story, in a way,” Grahame-Smith said. “We never sort of wink at the audience and say, ‘Ha ha, we know how funny this is.'”

This could change a generation’s perception of Abraham Lincoln
When it was noted that this could be a younger generation’s first exposure to Lincoln,” Walker quipped, “They should take notes. You could write a high school paper. If you know nothing about Lincoln, you’re going to learn a lot about Lincoln by watching this.”

Bekmambetov added, “I’m sure in a year if you will ask kids on the street who was Abraham Lincoln, all around the world they will tell you, ‘Vampire Hunter.'”

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” was always going to be dark and scary
Grahame Smith answered, “It’s not like you’re a sniper killing them from a thousand yards out. You’re getting right up there in their face and getting their blood on you –”
“We’re not going to tickle them to death,” added Walker. “It was also a very difficult, dark time in America. If you ground it in reality and are really asking practical questions, that’s what you come up with.”

“And Lincoln’s real life story is a dark story,” Grahame-Smith continued. “If you go and look at the fact that he was a great storyteller, had a great sense of humor, but he was consumed by melancholy throughout his entire life, and I don’t blame him, because everyone around him died. Every couple of years, someone he loved died.”

Abraham Lincoln would have used an axe to hunt vampire
“Lincoln picked the axe for us. He was an actual woodsman in his life. It was famous,” Grahame-Smith explained. “When he ran for office, he was called ‘The Railsplitter Candidate’ because he could famously take a log and chop it up into a bunch of planks with just his axe faster than most men could. Even into his old age, he was exceptionally strong. He grew up in the frontier and chopping down trees, so that’s a very real part of his life.”

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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