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.