SLADE, DAVID Ė 30 DAYS OF NIGHT
SURVIVING THE EXTREME
English director David Slade started his career with a bang at the 2005 Sundance
Film Festival and the success of his acclaimed feature, Hard Candy. In his
second motion picture, 30 Days of Night, Slade has chosen to delve into another
side of fear and in the process has reinvented the image of the vampire. By R.
Were you familiar with the graphic novel?
Yes, I bought the first edition of the graphic novel ď30 Days of NightĒ in 2001.
I really thought the story was great. But then I carried on with my life and
went on to direct Hard Candy. Just before I finished Hard Candy, I went to a
meeting at Sony and they mentioned 30 Days of Night. So I expressed interest in
this project. After the success of Hard Candy I got a call from Sam Raimi and I
was brought on board.
Are you a fan of horror movies?
Iím a fan of cinema more than horror movies. I think for me, all movies are
first dramas and then they fall into different categories to help the studios
market them. A few years ago there were films that considered themselves as
horror such as Scream but they were just winking at the horror fans. I didnít
want to make this type of horror film. I wanted to do something dark and
visceral. I look at films like Donít Look Now from Nicolas Roeg as horror
movies. Also, I love The Shining from Stanley Kubrick or John Carpenterís The
Thing. These are my references. I also love Japanese horror.
In this film it seems like you went for a very serious tone.
Yes, we really wanted to take the genre seriously and be totally realistic. We
wanted to make it very unsafe so the audience would dive into the horror that
the characters are going through. You really go down to hell with each of them.
Also, it was interesting because we shot in New Zealand and we got lucky to get
some incredibly creepy locations. Shooting at night added a layer of horror as
well. I wanted the movie to be very raw and unsettling; a movie where youíre as
tired as I was when I was shooting it.
What are vampires?
Well, itís a cultural creation. There are some people who are truly mad who
believe vampires are powerful. To me, they are a great symbol in regards to the
nature of humanity; we love to romanticise things. As a background we believe
that they have been around for a long time and they have witnessed all the
horrible things that men are capable of, therefore they end up being totally
disgusted by men and they have no remorse to hunt them for food.
Describe the vampires in 30 Days of Night?
They live a very simple existence where itís all about the ďsportĒ of hunting
humans. They come to the conclusion that morality is old fashioned and
unnecessary. These vampires are not fantasies and they are not romantic. They
donít make love. They are a pack of hunters; they are primal. There was no room
for romance in this movie and itís not scary if you have some vampires trying to
flirt with human beings. Our film is scary and this is what I wanted. These
vampires are smart because they are hiding behind the myth and the folklore of
vampires. This way people donít suspect a thing and they can hit even harder at
humans when they want to. It was great to re-invent the way they look and
behave. I really had so much freedom to play with my own conception of vampires.
What was the greatest challenge for you in adapting a graphic novel to the
Well, I got lucky with my cast. It was great finding people who really cared
about making the best movie possible. The main challenge was to really respect
the artwork of the graphic novel and make a movie that truly looks like the
books. This was a challenge to get the style and the right photography. On top
of this we didnít have a huge budget like the movie 300 so there was a need to
be really creative. It was hard to create these vampires and make them look like
they were coming out of the pages of the comic book; with their black eyes and
sharp teeth. It took a lot of practice to get it right.
Did you enjoy working with Josh Hartnett?
He is fantastic. He is a very conscientious actor and puts lots of work into his
craft. I think he showed his range by the diversity of roles he has played.
Also, it was interesting to give him another look so people donít recognize him.
I think his performance in this film will put him into another league of actors
now. It is always interesting to take a beautiful man and turn him into this
creature at the end. It was a challenge and very fun to experience.
What do you hope audiences will take away after seeing this film?
Well, I hope it makes them think, but Iím not going to tell them what they
should think. To each their own vision and understanding about what this movie
is about. For me, on a personal level, it is one more way to look at the human
condition and how we behave as a society. Itís about human paranoia. How do we
survive in an extreme crisis and how do we face death. These are the things that
interested me with this picture.
Published March 13, 2008
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Director David Slade
30 DAYS OF NIGHT
In Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the United States, the sun sets for
30 consecutive days during winter. This time, as the town shuts down, most of
the hundreds of people who stay for the darkness are mysteriously ravaged within
minutes. Unseen predators cut off all means of communication and of escape. The
small band of people who survive the initial onslaught are led by the young
(recently estranged) sheriff couple, Eben (Josh Hartnett) and Stella (Melissa
George), in their fight to stay alive until the return of daylightÖ
Australian theatrical release: November 8, 2007
Australian DVD release: March 12, 2008