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Daybreakers Directors Peter and Michael Spierig on Their Antidote to Twilight

Daybreakers Directors Peter and Michael Spierig on Their Antidote to Twilight” width=”560″/>

Australian brothers Peter and Michael Spierig discuss the liberal use of blood in their latest movie, explain their retro-futuristic vampire world and share their plans to put Errol Flynn into outer space.

Q: One of the things that struck me about Daybreakers was how it demystified vampires and made them such everyday figures.

PS: We try to do films that pervert the genre a little bit. Once you start to figure out the logistics of the world, you start to think, well how’s a vampire going to drive around in the daytime? Would their houses have any windows, or would they all be just concrete blocks? That was a lot of fun. And you just start to figure out the logistics of it.

Q: And yet you retained some classic vampiric elements, like a lack of reflection. How did you decide what had to stay, and what you could subvert?

MS: I think you’ve got license to do whatever you want. I don’t think anything should be restricted. It just depends on whether you should do it or not. I don’t know, the sparkling thing? We like the more traditional pop culture version of the vampire. What we liked adding to the vampire mythology was this whole idea that if you get your ample supply of human blood then you continue to look like a human; if you don’t get blood, you sort of devolve into this bat-like thing.

Q: Speaking of sparkling, your main vampire is named Edward, as is Twilight‘s — is that pure coincidence?

MS: Pure coincidence. We started writing the script in 2002, and we’d never heard of Twilight. And then at the end of 2007 after we started shooting, I started seeing these T-shirts that said, “Edward the Vampire,” and I was like, how do they know about our movie? How is this out there already?

PS: I hope the entire Twilight crowd comes to see our movie, though I don’t think they can get in because it’s R-rated. [Laughs] But it would be fantastic if they saw a different kind of vampire movie, and I hope we scare the hell out of them. I think our film is the antidote for what a lot of people have been thinking or feeling about vampire movies.

Q: You made the decision to set Daybreakers in the future, but the aesthetic is very retro. Why?

PS: We wanted to give it a classic look, and quite often one of the best ways to do that is to go back to the past. We love the designs of the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and we wanted to do it in a way that wasn’t going to cost us a lot of money. And that retro thing is a slightly cheaper alternative than giving everyone gray suits and having flying cars in the background. And also, you know, Ethan looks great in a trench coat.

Q: Ethan Hawke’s character is pitted against his younger brother throughout most of the movie. Is that an allegory for you two?

MS: [Laughs] No not at all. I can see why people would think that, but it never even entered my mind.

PS: The only reason we did that was because that was the story we wanted to tell.

MS: We were more interested in two mindsets — one was the young, naïf assuming that [vampirism] is the right way to go, and the other was a little older, a little bit more experienced and a bit more rational thinking. So it was two opposing mindsets that we wanted to explore. And both of them are right in their own. I hope that in the end you sympathize with Frankie, because he’s just a little naïve and perhaps a little stupid.

Q: Your next movie is a remake of Captain Blood — the Errol Flynn pirate movie — which you’re setting in outer space. Will this be more strictly scifi than your previous efforts?

PS: Yeah, it is. It’s a big space opera, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

MS: It’s honestly not that complicated to turn a high seas pirate movie into a space movie. Star Wars was a pirate movie. The best of the Star Trek movies — Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — is a pirate movie. So it’s not that difficult to do.

PS: Captain Blood would probably be a PG-13 movie. There’s no need for it to be ultra-violent. The only reason Daybreakers is violent is because we felt that’s what it needed to be to tell the story. It’s purely story-dependant.

Q: So you’re not addicted to the blood?

PS: No in fact I’m getting a little sick of walking around sets with my feet stuck to the floor.

MS: It would be great if Daybreakers is our bloody movie that we continue with, then we can go do films that aren’t necessarily splattered in blood.

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