As part of the BAMcinématek series “Hey, Girlfriend! Lena Dunham Selects,” Bronx-born director Amy Heckerling gave a sneak preview Saturday night of her latest film Vamps, in which she reunites with her Clueless star Alicia Silverstone for the first time since their 1995 forever-hit. The new comedy features two (relatively) young female vamps who try to have fun in New York, when not being summoned by the “stem” vampire (played by Sigourney Weaver) who sired them, or dodging vamp hunter Van Helsing (Wallace Shawn, also a Clueless alum), who now works for Homeland Security.
The NY Mag’s Vulture was in attendance for the screening, and what they call an “incredibly awkward” Q+A session, where they followed up with an exclusive interview of their own. Here are some of the interesting bites…
Like in Twilight and Interview With the Vampire, bloodsuckers don’t have to drink human blood: “The idea was that you live on blood, but it doesn’t have to be human — although human is probably way enticing, which is why Goody [Silverstone's character] is tempted by the drummer’s nose bleed. And it can’t be blood that’s old or stored, it’s got to be flowing. Blood probably tastes like salty water, right? You’ve cut yourself and tasted it, right?”
On approaching vampirism from a different angle: “ If you take the blood-drinking out of the equation, it’s just about sublimation of sex. I was more interested in eternally young, fun-loving people from different time periods.”
The film had budgetary issues, which forced Heckerling to change some scenes: “I wanted it to start with this fantasy, this dream on the beach, where Krysten Ritter’s character is seeing all these bloated, big-tits, big-lips, big-pecs people that are beach people, super tan — like a beach movie gone scary. And it would be the reverse of Carnival of Souls, so it’s the beach-y people chasing and horrifying the pasty, white person. And then they’re all looming over her when she wakes up in her coffin: “Oh, I had the worst nightmare!” And I wanted Alicia’s character [who has been a vampire since the nineteenth century] to be more incorporated into the history of New York…”
On the vampires in Twilight: “I just don’t like when they have vampires outside [in the daylight] and they sparkle and seem so fey. They seem so precious. Daylight, that’s got to be a complete no-no, otherwise you might as well have some other kind of monster. It’s the dark. It’s the other side, when everyone else is asleep.”
She also explained that Michelle Pfeiffer was nearly cast in the villain role now played by Sigourney Weaver.