Quint has your first look at the Spierig Bros' new film, DAYBREAKERS, as well as a chat with the directors!!!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a cool little chat I had with Michael and Peter Spierig, directors of the low budget cult favorite splatterfest UNDEAD. They have just finished production on a new film, a bit more serious in tone, called DAYBREAKERS. They have Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill and Willem Dafoe taking part in the vampire flick. Lionsgate set up this interview to surround a series of exclusive stills from the film, a first look for you AICN readers. Muldoon did a great job transcribing for me as usual, but I want to say up front that it’s quite possible quotes attributed to Michael are really from Peter and vice-versa. As I usually do, I listened to the audio and read over the raw transcription and I even got lost a couple of times, so my apologies if some of the quotes are switched up. Enjoy finding out a little bit more about the movie and enjoy the pics! Be sure to click them for bigger versions! Photo credit on all pics belongs to Ben Rothstein.
Michael Spierig (above pictured Left): Hey, how are you?
Quint: Hey, how’s it going?
Michael: Good, I’m just trying to switch on to speaker phone here.
Quint: No problem.
Michael: Hello, you’ve got us both now. Peter’s in the room as well. Say “hello” Peter.
Peter Spierig (above pictured Right): Hello.
Quint: How are you guys doing?
Quint: So tell me a little bit about your movie.
Peter: It’s a film called DAYBREAKERS. It’s a vampire film where essentially the world has been taken over by vampires. It’s set ten years in the future and the dilemma is that the vampires are running out of their food supply, human beings, and it won’t be long before all kinds of chaos ensues. It’s sort of a world that’s not so much a post apocalyptic kind of “everyone’s running around with brown sacks killing each other. “ The vampires have accepted that they are vampires and life continues as normal, but normal being that instead of driving around during the day, they drive around at night and if they do drive around during the day, they have shutters on their cars and drive with video cameras. All of the houses have shutters on them that close during the day time and so the world is as we know it, it just has vampire modifications. Michael, do you have anything constructive to add?
Michael: The film stars Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, and Willem Dafoe… There’s also a couple of Australian actors who are reasonably well known here, but I don’t think are really known around the world, at least not yet. Michael Dorman, who plays Ethan’s brother, is an amazing actor who I think people will get to know after this film comes out. Also, Claudia Karvan, who is another Australian actress is really well known here, but really I don’t think anybody outside of Australia is really familiar with her. We also… This film was shot in Queensland and I don’t know if you are familiar with Queensland at all, but the film was shot here in Queensland on the gold coast with the exception of Ethan and Willem, it’s pretty much an Australian made production. Ethan plays a scientist, a hematologist, who is looking for a blood substitute in order to sustain the vampire race, because like Peter says, they are starving and once they run out of human blood or once they are deprived of blood, they start to turn into bats, so they are all slowly going a little crazy. So Ethan is sort of looking for some sort of blood substitute and it’s kind of eluding him and that’s the dilemma of the picture.
Quint: That’s cool, so it sounds like it’s a bit more serious in tone than UNDEAD.
Peter: Yeah, it is… it definitely is, but it’s, hopefully, still a very fun movie and yeah there are moments that we don’t take too seriously and there are lots of moments that are serious, but its certainly not that kind of splatter comedy thing. (With) UNDEAD, we were trying to make a B-Movie, that was the point and although vampires are essentially a B genre, we are not making a sort of dubbed “splatstick” kind of movie.
Quint: Yeah, well it sounds like you guys are taking a real world approach to it and grounding it into something recognizable.
Quint: Can we talk a little bit about the look of the vampire, because in the stills that we’re premiering we see the contacts. Is that pretty much the look of your creatures?
Michael: That is the look of what the vampire looks like if they are relatively healthy and well fed…
Peter: They get much worse. (laughs) Like I said, the dilemma is that they are running out of blood and the photos you see are people who have had an adequate supply of blood. There are some people in this world who look far worse, but obviously that’s stuff that we are going to release just yet….
Quint: Of course yeah, got to keep something secret.
Michael: But you know, the intention with our vampire look was to do something that was just classical and easily recognizable and tapping into that modern or pop culture interpretation of what a vampire is.
Peter: The main thing to is as we were developing the look of the healthy vampires, we tried lots of different things. Heavy make-up, we tried really long teeth and we tried lots of different things and ultimately we ended up coming back to this basic, well not basic; the lenses were quite complex, but the lenses and teeth just worked so well and the minimal amount of dulling of skin and all of that. That was the look that we ultimately aimed for, because it really was quite powerful in being relatively simplistic, at least when they’re healthy.
Quint: So who does Willem Dafoe play?
Peter: Willem Dafoe plays a character called “Elvis” and I can’t really say too much about that at the moment, but it’s definitely… it’s a lot of fun and I think Willem is so good and it’s a really fun, I think, I hope, unique character for him. Damn, I wish I could say more, but I can’t.
Quint: That’s cool, so you when you got Sam Neill on board, do you think it appealed to him to be able to work in his home country?
Peter: I think that was part of it. I think Sam, with all of the actors and their decisions to do the movie was based on the fact that they liked the script… I think that was the deciding factor for most of the guys and I’m sure the fact that is shot in Australia certainly had some influence on Sam’s decision, but ultimately I think he chooses films because he likes the script.
Peter: He travels around a hell of a lot. He’s always doing a film somewhere in some part of the world.
Quint: Was he cool to work with? I’ve been a fan since way back and I really like him in genre, too, and you just don’t get to see him in genre all that often.
Peter: Sam is absolutely fantastic. I love Sam. He’s great. Sam was on the film for about three weeks and everyday was such a joy to work him with and just such a joy to watch him act, because like all of the guy like Ethan and Willem, they are such amazing actors and I have nothing but good things to say about Sam. I would love to work with him again and you are right, when Sam does genre stuff, it’s really exciting. I certainly think that IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS is one of my favorite John Carpenter movies and…
Quint: Very under rated, yeah.
Peter: Sam is great in that film and Sam… it’s funny because I still don’t know how much Sam likes genre, because I think he does and he’s obviously done a lot of them. It’s hard to know, since Sam is such a refined, articulate, intelligent guy and it’s just sometimes hard to…
Michael: Unlike most people who are involved with horror! (laughs)
Peter: It’s just hard to know when you say to Sam “Now, I’m going to throw this bucket of blood all over you, is that all right?” and he’s like “Y-y-yeah…. okay…” He’s a great guy and I mean…
Michael: What’s interesting, too, is he has such a presence when he walks into the room and it’s one of those things that is kind of hard to describe, because it is a tangible thing… He walks into the room and I don’t know how to fully describe it, but he certainly has a presence, as do all the guys.
Quint: Now did he sign on early to the project?
Michael: What happened was… because we essentially wrote the script thinking of Ethan Hawke as our lead. We didn’t know whether we would actually get him, but he was certainly our first actor we were going to go out to. Ethan traditionally doesn’t do genre pictures.
It’s funny because Ethan keeps saying that he’s not a big fan of genre pictures, yet he’s seen just about everything that’s been made. We spent days talking about genre pictures and he’d say “Oh, I don’t like them…” and I’d go like “Ethan, you’ve seen everything, so don’t tell me you don’t like them,” so I think that he was always hesitant about doing it, particularly with a picture that’s a vampire film that’s so heavily, like Peter was saying, essentially a B-Movie genre, he was very hesitant, but he had found the script really different and once he said, I think it really opened the doors to elevating the rest of the cast, so Ethan was sort of the first actor we went out for and like I said, when people said “yes” it was like the doors went open to get Sam and Willem involved.
Quint: So what is the release looking like? It’s next year, right?
Peter: At this stage, it looks like it will be the second half of next year.
Quint: Oh cool, so we’re thinking Fallish?
Michael: Probably yeah, somewhere around there. Release dates change so often that it’s kind of hard to say for sure at this kind of early stage.
Quint: Did you guys just finish shooting?
Peter: We finished shooting about five weeks ago, so we’ve been locked in a dark room cutting the feature and there’s a lot of post work that needs to be done, like all of the digital effects and bits and pieces, so still an enormous amount of work to do. It’s certainly beats the post production schedule we had on our first movie, this is actually a real luxury.
Quint: Well, you guys did your own effects work and all that stuff, right?
Peter: Yeah and there’s still a few little bits and pieces that Mike and I are doing on this picture, but it’s pretty minimal. We have far more resources this time around.
Quint: Cool, well I think that’s about all I’ve got so I really appreciate you guys taking the time to talk to me.
Peter: No problem. We look forward to reading about it all on Ain’t It Cool and next time you see Harry, tell him we said “hi.”
And that was that.
I mentioned it in my Terry George interview, but I'm packing up to go visit some unholy creatures in Hungary, Budapest to be specific. Any suggestions on what to avoid or make sure not to miss while out there would be appreciated. Feel free to drop me an email with any insight, advice, suggestions, whathaveyou!
I'll be working while traveling, catching up on a dozen or so reviews, so keep your eyes on the site, squirts.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Oct. 22, 2007, 1:27 a.m. CST
to see how many of these have been made
Oct. 22, 2007, 2:07 a.m. CST
Can't wait for this. I'm biased, being from Oz and all, but I realy dug Undead, and glad to see they got another project off the back of that one. IT CAN BE DONE! Aussie filmmakers, there is hope! Good work, boys.
Oct. 22, 2007, 5:17 a.m. CST
It's called the Gold Coast, Quint.
Oct. 22, 2007, 5:19 a.m. CST
I've had the biggest crush on Claudia Karvan since I was 10. I wish I was a few years older
Oct. 22, 2007, 5:29 a.m. CST
...not another vamp movie. Are there enough goths in the world for this to break even? Yawn.
Oct. 22, 2007, 6:09 a.m. CST
Undead, whilst amatuerish at times, trancended its budget and occasional flat scene with true originality, a great eye(s) for visuals, and a knockout ending. When that chick was spinning her blade of death to the Aussie flag falling in slo-mo I felt like saluting! Now I know why you Yanks do it.
Oct. 22, 2007, 8:33 a.m. CST
I Am Legend and this would be butting heads. This sounds pretty cool, I dig the concept. Still haven't seen Undead yet, but I'll have to check that out now. Three of my favorite actors in a quality-sounding Vampire flick? Sold. Even if it's slightly derivative, I'll take it. Once again, better to have something that at least TRIES to be new than something tired. Even if it IS Vampires :)
Oct. 22, 2007, 9:10 a.m. CST
Yeah these guys could be big. Even though there were some flaws in Undead no one can say that it wasnt at least original. I think its highly underrated. http://tinyurl.com/pv8do
Oct. 22, 2007, 11:34 a.m. CST
It was a strange mix of horror and sci-fi but it somehow worked and if nothing else it gave us Zombie fish!
Oct. 22, 2007, noon CST
by Abin Sur
...not "Spiereg Bros." However, I'm glad I kept reading - this looks promising.
Oct. 22, 2007, 12:38 p.m. CST
by Read and Shut Up
...is portraying vampires as sympathetic beings. From the sound of it, they just about exterminated the human race and are running out of blood. Now we have "good" vampires trying to create a food source and "bad" vampires...being bad or something? Hell, anything that exterminates the human race DESERVES to croak. As Kirk said to Spock, "Then let them die!" Anyway, Undead was a cool flik, but I just can't see anybody crying over dead vampires.
Oct. 22, 2007, 12:39 p.m. CST
Don't know why, really. Guess I just like the guy, even if half the films he's in are kinda crap. He has been in some really great ones, though. Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Gattaca, Tape. I even like Great Expectations.
Oct. 22, 2007, 1:15 p.m. CST
by Neo Zeed
I liked Undead and I'm looking forward to this.
Oct. 22, 2007, 2:11 p.m. CST
This seems better.
Oct. 22, 2007, 3:35 p.m. CST
He makes a good vampire. This sounds intriguing, worth a look. But before the vampires ran out of humans, wouldn't them have created farms to raise humans like we raise livestock? I hope they explain how this food shortage came about.
Oct. 22, 2007, 3:39 p.m. CST
know a dude who worked with them. they seem like heading for big things.
Oct. 22, 2007, 3:50 p.m. CST
I'm happy for the brothers but COME ON...Undead was hilarious! That part where the fat dude was sliding across the floor shooting guns. WTF kind of corny shit was that? The part with the flag, while well executed, was waaaay too cheesy. And the ending? Oooookay. The whole film felt like a little brother trying to impress a bigger brother <p> More power to the Spierigs, I really do hope them the best, especially if Undead can get them in a position to make legitimate, big-budget films. (Undead was made for only $1,000,000 which is pretty admirable) <p> But guys, calling Undead a classic or claiming it's underrated...please. Don't insult yourselves.
Oct. 22, 2007, 4:36 p.m. CST
I like this guys though, so i wish them well...but so far the talent factor appears low..
Oct. 22, 2007, 5:34 p.m. CST
Black Sheep failed miserably in it's cross-genre attempts (mainly those attempts at being funny) and just squandered itself into a boring, childish hell.<p>At least Undead was marginally successful at mixing horror and comedy. The only reason it missed the mark is because it fell for the oldest b-movie mistake in the book - too many ideas.
Oct. 22, 2007, 10:17 p.m. CST
by Francis Begbie
not Ethan Hawke in Blade.
Oct. 23, 2007, 8:22 a.m. CST
ummmm... Sam Neill, Ethan Hawke. So my question I guess is what you consider talent, or would you prefer Ben Stiller?
Oct. 23, 2007, 10:57 a.m. CST
for me to.. oh never mind.
Oct. 23, 2007, 1:11 p.m. CST
Sounds like an Asian learning Enlglish trying to say Spielberg. You know it to be true.
Oct. 23, 2007, 1:59 p.m. CST
Given that he went head to head with Denzel Washington and acquitted himself very well (Academy Award nomination), I'd say he has the chops for a film like this, as do Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill. I can't see a film with these three headlining it going straight to DVD so, even though vampires aren't my thing, I'll queue up to see Ethan. Yeah, he floats my boat.
Oct. 24, 2007, 4:38 p.m. CST
by Speed Racer
For the record he's not Australian and it isn't his "home country". He's a New Zealander.
Oct. 25, 2007, 6:04 p.m. CST
the directors you idiot.
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:08 a.m. CST
The reason 30 days... worked is because it has Vampires being Vampires...Monsters that hunt and kill humans. We identify with the humans because WE ARE human. I don't care about Vampire scientists trying to save Vampires or Vampires killing werewolves with guns.
Oct. 28, 2007, 1:42 a.m. CST
for their budget, and the fact they did all the fx themselves I'd consider them pretty talented. Who are you Martin Scorcese Jr.
Oct. 28, 2007, 9:46 a.m. CST
Down that drink that you so cleverly named!!!
Oct. 29, 2007, 7:02 a.m. CST
just a quick fact sam neil is in actual fact a new zelander. just thought i would clear that up
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