President Lincoln Starts Vampire Hunt in Russian-Made Movie

An unusual life interpretation of Abraham Lincoln, one of the most famous U.S. presidents, made by Russian film director Timur Bekmambetov and his team was released in cinemas worldwide on Thursday.

A $70-million 3D movie called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter tells a story about Lincoln’s secret life, the life of a man who hunts vampires at night with an ax.

The idea to interpret the biography of the 16th U.S. president in a superheroic way flashed through the mind of scriptwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, famous for his mash-up novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and then grabbed famous film director Tim Burton, who is a producer for the movie, and 20th Century Fox film studio, which released the film.

“It is not provocation, it is mystification. I treat Lincoln with due reverence so I did not change the essence of his personality [in the movie], I only added a secret trace to it, put him in an alternative reality where he is forced to live under different rules,” Bekmambetov said in a press release.

Tim Burton said at a news conference held during the 34th Moscow International Film Festival that he saw nothing terrible in showing the icon of the American nation as a bloodsucker hunter.

“It is always interesting to look at history from different angles. The original novel [by Grahame-Smith] tells the story as a real story, [describes] events of Lincoln’s life, issues of the Civil War and slavery,” Burton said.

“I remember seeing images of Lincoln as a child and no American president had [such] hunting quality. You just take a look at pictures of him and you can actually imagine him staying up all night and hunting vampires!” Burton added.

The movie also became a precedent for Hollywood as Russian team, headed by Bekmambetov, shot a film on U.S. history. Besides the film director, many Russian specialists were engaged in the movie’s production, including computer graphics designer Pavel Perepelkin and storyboard maker Indar Dzhendubayev, costume designer Varvara Avdyushko and action choreographer Igor Tsai.

Another precedent was that Russia’s CG Factory special effects studio made all the previzes (special animation short motion pictures under which movie scenes are shot later) for the film, for the first time in modern Hollywood history.


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