For 30 days every winter, the isolated town of Barrow, Alaska is plunged into a state of complete darkness. It's a bitter time when most of the inhabitants head south. This winter, a mysterious group of strangers appear: bloodthirsty vampires, ready to take advantage of the uninterrupted darkness to feed on the residents remaining in town. Barrow's Sheriff Eben (Josh Hartnett), his estranged wife, Stella (Melissa George), and an ever-shrinking group of survivors must do anything they can to last until daylight in Columbia Pictures' 30 Days of Night.
Columbia Pictures presents a Ghost House Pictures production in association with Dark Horse Entertainment, 30 Days of Night. The film stars Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, and Mark Boone Junior. Directed by David Slade. Produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert. Screenplay by Steve Niles and Stuart Beattie and Brian Nelson, based on the IDW Publishing comic by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
30 Days of Night began its journey to theaters with the publication of the graphic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith. The miniseries - just three books - became a career-defining moment for both. As they brought both a new look and a new story to the vampire legend, Niles' and Templesmith's work has been lauded as a revival of the horror comic.
"We fell in love with the idea of vampires coming to Barrow, Alaska, once the sun has set for a month," says producer Rob Tapert, who - with producer Sam Raimi - founded Ghost House Productions to bring this kind of story to the screen. "It was a project that got us excited because it delivers a level of intensity and horror that as a young guy, I loved in these kinds of movies and to this day I still enjoy. For Sam and me, 30 Days of Night is a return to our Evil Dead roots."
To direct, Raimi and Tapert tapped David Slade, whose first film, the independent Hard Candy, impressed them. "David has a style and way of working unique unto him," Tapert says. "He has a very specific idea of what he wants and how he wants everything to be and then he finds a way to work this out with the actors. He is a believer in lots of tight shots, close-ups with attention to details, which frenetically ramp up his movie."
"Long before getting involved with this project, I actually bought the first edition of the graphic novel," says David Slade. "I love Ben Templesmith's artwork - especially the image of Eben looking out and seeing the vampires for the first time. After I directed my first film, I had a meeting in which an executive at Columbia Pictures mentioned that they owned the property. I said, 'Hang on a minute. I would chew off my arm to do that!"
For his inspiration in developing the look of the film, Slade says that he went back to the source. "I wanted it to be very close to Ben Templesmith's artwork, which I very much liked," he says. Though the makeup team does rely on some prosthetics and rubber, it's kept to a minimum. "I just wanted to tweak our vampires' faces so that they look a little less human but still completely real. They're human enough to recognize them, but they're not like you and me."
For his part, Templesmith says that when he was first thinking about how he would draw the vampires, he envisioned a radical break from tradition. "I was going for pure savagery, with just a hint of alien. The classic image of the vampire is the goth, romantic ponce. I wanted eating machines."
To bring that vision to life, the filmmakers turned to artists from New Zealand's Weta Workshop, who had previously brought The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia to the screen in Oscar®-winning fashion. "We definitely wanted to be faithful to Ben's artwork from the graphic novel, but we also wanted to create a new Nosferatu, a shocking original design for this generation of vampire lovers," says Tapert. "David Slade worked with Gino Acevedo from Weta and a conceptual artist Aaron Sims to create the final look. David worked with Aaron here in LA on some designs. Gino then took those two-dimensional sketches and brought them to life in 3-D. Gino and his team of technicians handled the molding, making, coloring, and application of all the prosthetics. They did an incredible job of maintaining the aesthetic David and I had hope for with the vampires. "
When these new vampires are on the screen, Slade says, one thing will make 30 Days of Night stand out: "Lots of red."
Josh Hartnett, who stars in the film as Eben, the sheriff of Barrow, was impressed by the way that the original comic book blended all the best aspects of the genre. "It was funny and scary, a simple story but pure. I especially liked that it was character-driven - if you can follow interesting characters through the story, you can take the leap into their supernatural world."
Before signing on to play Eben, Hartnett met with David Slade to discuss the director's vision for the film. "We went to a bar that I've been going to since I was 21 - it's very familiar to me. As we were leaving, he took a couple of pictures of this bar and sent them to me in an e-mail a couple days later. The way he exposed them, they looked haunting - I didn't recognize the place. I thought, 'This guy's gonna make something really creepy.'"
Melissa George takes on the role of Eben's estranged wife, Stella. "She's a very strong woman," says George. "I love parts that show a toughness and yet vulnerability to the character. She loves the people in her town, she loves Eben, and she loves her gun."
Danny Huston takes on the role of Marlow, the leader of the vampires. "30 Days of Night represents a very pure kind of filmmaking: it is going to scare you," he says. "In addition, because it's based on the graphic novel, this movie is very stylish - the vampires aren't your normal, everyday vampires, if there is such a thing."
"I have a lot of compassion for someone like Marlow," kids Huston. "We worked entirely at night, so I got into the vampire mode - driving back from the location at night, I would recoil from the sunlight. The nails, the teeth, the eyes, the prosthetics made me uncomfortable, but very sensitive as I suppose a vampire would be. Being a vampire is, potentially, a very tough life."
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Graduating with a degree in fine arts from Sheffield University in England, DAVID SLADE (director) started his career as a journalist, later moving into directing.
Slade's first feature film, Hard Candy, premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in January 2005. At the illustrious Stiges Film Festival in Spain, Hard Candy won the Jury Award and the Audience Award, along with Best Director for Slade and Best Screenplay for Brian Nelson.
A resident of Los Angeles, Slade has a string of over 60 nominations and awards for his work in commercials, videos, and films. He is associated with the internationally acclaimed Ridley Scott Agency in Los Angeles (RSA).
Originally raised by marmosets on the Yorkshire moors, he now resides in Los Angeles.
STEVE NILES (screenplay) is one of the writers responsible for bringing horror comics back to prominence. He was recently named by Fangoria magazine as one of the "13 rising talents who promise to keep us terrified for the next 25 years."
Niles is currently working for the four top American comic publishers - Marvel, DC, Image and Dark Horse. Currently ongoing at Image is the creator-owned series Bad Planet with co-writer Thomas Jane and The Cryptics with artist Ben Roman. From Dark Horse, everyone's favorite monster hunter, Cal McDonald, returns in the monthly Criminal Macabre series.
In June of 2005, Niles and actor Thomas Jane (The Punisher) formed the production company Raw Entertainment, which has a first-look deal with Lionsgate Films. Raw's first production is The Lurkers, with a screenplay to be written by Niles, and to be produced by both Niles and Jane. Raw also co-produced (and Jane starred in) The Tripper, the upcoming directorial debut of David Arquette.
Niles and his Bigfoot co-creator, rocker Rob Zombie, have sold the film rights to Rogue Pictures. Niles and Zombie will be handling script duties. Also in development are adaptations of Wake the Dead, Hyde, Aleister Arcane, and Criminal Macabre.
Niles got his start in the industry when he formed Arcane Comix, his own publishing company, where he published, edited, and adapted several comics and anthologies for Eclipse Comics. His adaptations include works by Clive Barker, Richard Matheson and Harlan Ellison. IDW released a hardcover and softcover collection of Niles' adaptation of Richard Matheson's I am Legend.
Niles has recently worked with Marvel and DC Comics; in 2006, he collaborated with artist Scott Hampton on a Batman miniseries, Gotham County Line. Currently, Niles is writing another miniseries that retells Steve Ditko's vintage character, Creeper, with DC artist Justiniano.
Steve resides in Los Angeles with Sarah and their black cat, water turtle and African tortoise.
STUART BEATTIE (Screenplay) was nominated for a BAFTA, an Edgar Award, a Saturn Award, and a Golden Satellite Award for his screenplay to Collateral, the hit film directed by Michael Mann and starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. He also shared story credit on the worldwide smash hit Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Other motion picture credits include Derailed and the upcoming 3:10 to Yuma and Australia, to be directed by Baz Luhrmann.
Born and raised in Australia, Beattie later came to the United States to pursue a writing career. In 1994, he won the Diane Thomas Screenwriting Award, presented through the UCLA Extension program. Three years later, he made his film writing debut on the Australian film Joey, about the friendship between a boy and a baby kangaroo. The film won the Australia's People's Choice Award for favorite film. He also wrote the independent feature Kick, starring Paul Mercurio, Radha Mitchell, and Martin Henderson.
BRIAN NELSON (Screenplay) is the screenwriter of Hard Candy, the film which marked his first collaboration with director David Slade. A Sundance selection released by Lionsgate, Hard Candy went on to win Best Picture and Screenplay at the Sitges Film Festival in Spain and other awards worldwide.
An adjunct professor at the School of Theatre at USC, Nelson holds honors degrees from Yale and UCLA.
Nelson's other writing credits include the plays Consolation, Raidant, and the Taper Literary Cabaret adaptation of The Joy Luck Club. He also wrote the telefilm "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and episodes of the television programs "Lois and Clark" and "JAG," among others. He is the author of two books: Earth Bound
His books include Earth Bound and Asian American Drama: Nine Plays. Previous awards include an Alfred P Sloan Playwriting Fellowship, a Prism Award for Television Writing, and an Ovation nomination for his Los Angeles staging of Twelf Nite O Wateva.
Nelson is especially pleased to work on 30 Days of Night as a lifelong comics fan whose collection is large enough that it financed his first home; for several years, he wrote the Marvel Trivia Quiz and other features for Marvel Comics. Nelson is currently at work with director Gary Fleder on Talk Talk, an adaptation of the T. Coraghessan Boyle novel for Universal Pictures. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughters.
BEN TEMPLESMITH (based on the IDW Publishing comic by) is a critically acclaimed Australian writer and artist known mostly for his work in the Anglo-American comic book industry, where he has received numerous nominations for the industry's top prizes, the Eisner Award and the British Eagle Awards. In addition to his work helping revitalize the horror genre in comics with 30 Days of Night, he has worked with renowned writer Warren Ellis to introduce a new 16 page format comic book format with the highly-praised crime comic, Fell. Ben's most recent work can be seen in his well-received creator-owned series, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse.
Templesmith has also worked on a number of high profile properties, including: Star Wars, Army of Darkness, Silent Hill, and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. In addition to comics, Templesmith's work has been used for the film, toys, games, DVDs, music, fashion, and design industries.
Ben holds a Bachelor's degree is design from Curtin University and currently lives and work from Perth, Australia.
In 2002, SAM RAIMI (producer) and his longtime producing partner Rob Tapert formed Ghost House Pictures, dedicated to producing high-concept genre films. Among the box office hits the shingle has financed, developed and distributed are The Grudge, Boogeyman, The Grudge 2, and The Messengers.
The prolific writer, director and producer most recently directed the worldwide smash hit Spider-Man™ 3, the third installment of the comic book superhero franchise, starring Tobey Maguire. The film rewrote the record books in its opening weekend, and to date has taken in over $870 million, becoming the biggest hit in studio history. Raimi also directed the first two blockbuster adventures, Spider-Man™ and Spider-Man™ 2.
Known for his imaginative filmmaking style, richly drawn characters and offbeat humor, Raimi wrote and directed the cult classic The Evil Dead, which became an immediate favorite when it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and spawned the equally impressive The Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn.
Raimi previously directed the supernatural thriller The Gift, starring Cate Blanchett, Hilary Swank, Keanu Reeves, Greg Kinnear and Giovanni Ribisi. And, he directed the acclaimed suspense thriller A Simple Plan, starring Bill Paxton, Bridget Fonda and Billy Bob Thornton, earning Thornton an Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
he also wrote and directed Darkman, starring Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand, which he followed up with Army of Darkness, a comic sword-and-sorcery fantasy starring Bruce Campbell.
Raimi executive produced John Woo's Hard Target and co-wrote (with Joel and Ethan Coen) The Hudsucker Proxy, starring Tim Robbins, Paul Newman and Jennifer Jason Leigh. He directed the western The Quick and the Dead, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe and Gene Hackman and the baseball homage For Love of the Game, starring Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston.
His extensive television credits include the hit syndicated series "Xena: Warrior Princess," which he executive produced with Tapert. The successful series starring Lucy Lawless ran for six seasons. Raimi and Tapert also executive produced the popular "Hercules: Legendary Journeys" and executive produced the CBS series "American Gothic."
He became interested in filmmaking as a youngster in Michigan, where he directed his own Super-8 films. He attended Michigan State University, where he formed Renaissance Pictures with Tapert and longtime friend and actor Bruce Campbell.
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