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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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.


IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines


The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.


Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.


A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.


Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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