Tonight we were the first group of people to see a close-to-finished cut of David Slade’s 30 Days of Night (new stills). What’s so important about this fact is that we got to see it nearly a month before it’s release on October 19 and after running B-D for several years one thing has always proven true… Sony likes to hide their films from us. We can tell you straight up if a movie is good or not based on if they show it to us. The fact that Sony brought us in this early was an indication that they had something special on their hands, which was proven by the applause when the credits finally came to an end. After the film writer/creator Steve Niles, producer Robert Tapert and director David Slade were on hand to field some questions, read on to see what we learned.
Niles explained that this was the first time he had seen the film completed, “I’m thrilled… so happy!” He also chatted a bit about how the idea came to him after reading a snippet in a newspaper years ago about how alcohol is banned in Alaska because of the high suicide rate. He kept the clipping and wrote “vampires” on the top corner, which eventually spawned into the comic book at IDW.
Robert Tapert, who completely avoided a challenging moment about a directional choice, called the film “The Anti-Buffy.”
The meat of the conversation was taken over by director David Slade, who by the end of the panel convinced me that he is a filmmaking God who really knows how to assemble a masterful work of art.
Before even being approached for the project he was a fan of the books, “I already picked it up [before the project was brought to me], I like comic books anyways.” After HARD CANDY played at Sundance he was brought a slew of projects and when 30 DAYS came up he freaked, “I saw huge potential in it… it’s a scary vampire movie.” He also explained that the only way he’d do a horror movie was that “it would have to be scary”
The film doesn’t start out that gory, but as the film progresses it gets bloodier and bloodier. Slade chatted a bit about his decisions to pace it, or as he called it “escalating the horror,” explaining that “when [the gore] comes, by God does it come.”
When you guys finally see the movie you’re going to realize that Ben Foster steals the show, and Slade agrees, “We expanded his role, he was brilliant from go. He carries the first act of the film.” As for the vampires, Danny Huston came up quite a bit. Slade pushed from day one to bring him in as the lead vampire and eventually won out. But that was the first challenge as they needed to create a language for the vampires, “We brought a linguist in and designed a language… a language that was based on eating, feeding and hate” Huston not only had to learn this new language but had to speak it through fake vamp teeth.
Besides this toughie, the hardest part about making 30 DAYS – especially after a low budget movie like HARD CANDY – was the long, cold shoot, “Two months of night shoots people go loopy, go crazy… even the grips,” he elaborates, “Everyone’s getting altitude sickness and is freezing.”
But it was a piece of cake for Slade who exclaims, “I’ve been doing commercials for ten years, I’ve blown sh-t up before!”