Moments after the report came in that actors Mia Kirshner, Diora Baird, Rhys Coiro, Harold Perrineau, and Monique Ganderton had joined the cast of 30 Days of Night: Dark Days (the follow-up to 2007’s vamp thrill-ride 30 Days of Night), the series’ writer and producer Steve Niles called this scribe to confirm the news (we held off on running this until Sony signed off) and also to provide us details on the flick’s plot, shooting schedule, and more.
“I actually co-wrote the sequel with Ben (Ketai),” said Niles, correcting the leak, “who’s also directing.”
The flick, which is slated as a direct-to-DVD release and began shooting in Vancouver, Canada (standing in for Los Angeles) on October 20th, is the cinematic incarnation of the comic Dark Days, said Niles, and is being set up as Part Two of a 30 Days of Night trilogy.
“If we make a good enough movie, we’ll get some theatrical screens. said Niles of the film’s planned eventual distribution through Sony. “If not, the worse that can happen is that we wind up direct to DVD, which to tell you the truth, I’m liking more and more as a medium. Case in point: Trick ‘r Treat. Everyone looked at it (going DTV) as a bad thing, and it wound up breaking sales records. So I’m hoping people will see the positive side of that. For Ben and I as creators, we are looking at being able to do the whole trilogy, and the chances of us making it if it was to be a big-budget, studio release are probably zero, so I’m very happy, and for me, it’s also going to allow us to be more accurate to the comic than the first film was.”
“We had to make certain adjustments,” said Niles in regards to the source material. “There’s the comic reality and the movie reality, but I think we found a balance. There are a few new set-pieces and a few new locations, but all of the characters (from the comic) are there, and I think people will be really into it.”
As for the plot, “If people remember the comic at all, Stella’s original plan was to expose the vampires (for what they were) because the one thing she discovered from having her town destroyed was that basically what vampires fear most in the world is having their existence proven. Just like in the comic, her initial idea is to tell the world the truth of what happened in Barrow, Alaska, because it was covered up as an ‘accident’ like every other vampire attack. So that’s her first mission, but then she realizes that hunting them might be more fun and more effective.”
As for who’s taken over the role of “Stella” (originally portrayed by actress Melissa George), Niles told us that Kiele Sanchez (she who starred in last year’s Jeff Buhler-helmed horror feature Insanitarium) will fill her shoes. “She’s been in ‘Lost’, and she’s really good,” said Niles. “We are really happy about the casting. We are casting slightly younger on this because of our hopes of moving right into (film versions) of the other books. There’s what, ten (30 Days) graphic novels now? So we are hoping at the very least that we can tell the main trilogy, which is 30 Days of Night, Dark Days, and Return to Barrow.”
The original 30 Days of Night was heralded as a return to form for the vampire genre in that it was a vamp flick which made vampires scary again. This scribe queried Niles in regard to whether he intended to keep this feel with Dark Days.
“I came at this from a total fan perspective,” said the co-writer, “in that I love vampires – Nosferatu and Dracula and the Christopher Lee films and all of them – but as time moved on, they got less and less scary and more and more romantic, and to the point where people wanted to be vampires. I just wanted to make them scary again and make them not romantic. These vampires don’t want to seduce anybody.”
Dread was happy to hear this, particularly given the current and consistent clamor over the rather saccharine Twilight series. Given such, we did ask Niles if his sequel is intended in any way to appeal to the Twilight demographic.
“Well, in the comic, we do get exposed to our first sympathetic vampire – a character who has fought his hunger and who has found other ways (of feeding) other than killing people to survive. We also bring in a new character we are really excited about: Agent Norris. He’s the equivalent of the ‘Ben Foster’ character (from the original). He’s the human spy, and he’s this really despicable FBI agent who wants to become a vampire and who abuses the power of being a law enforcement officer on top of wanting to be a vampire. He can do a lot of damage.”
Dread Central is expected on-set soon, so stay tuned.
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