Exclusive: Sam Neill Talks ‘Daybreakers’, Vampires

sam_neil_daybreakersThe subject of vampires seems to be all the rage these days. Between the overwhelming success of Twilight and even the sweeping of yesterday’s People’s Choice Awards in the favor of all things vampire, they are a pretty sure thing these days. Hoping to continue in that success would be the folks involved in Daybreakers, which hits theaters today.

We recently got a chance to sit down with veteran actor Sam Neill (Jurrasic Park, Merlin) about his role and the film in general. While most people would consider this film a horror, Neill’s take is a bit different.

According to Neill, the film is “best described as a futuristic sci-fi thriller about an upside down vampire world. A lot of the vampire stuff that we’ve seen lately, their always the moody, pale-faced outsiders. In this film, everyone is a vampire, and the humans are a diminishing species, and more of a resource.

Of course, in a vampire world, you need lots of blood to keep everybody alive [laughs]. And since there are fewer and fewer humans available for hunting and bloodfarming, it becomes a bit uncomfortable for them.”

The Flickcast: You were pretty excited when this project was first offered to you. What was the appeal here?

Sam Neill: Well, I’ve played a lot of different characters but to play someone who is so evil and demented is not something you get asked to do a lot. I’ve had a blast, and I haven’t really enjoyed myself on a film in quite some time.

TFC: With this going in an opposite direction as opposed to something like Twlight, could we see this becoming a competing franchise? Is there room for a sequel or prequel?

SN: I think there is a lot of room for that, probably even a prequel. The Spierig brothers, the writing/directing ream, are very talented and imaginative guys, and they’ve imagined a whole world that we’d like to explore more.

What sold me was on page three of the script. You see the vampires in their Brooks Bros. suits going to work, stopping at Starbucks, getting a double chai latte with two sugars and a double shot of premium A blood.

TFC: This being one of the first vampire roles you’ve ever had, did you have to pop in old Lugosi films for research?

SN: When we started making this film, no one had heard of vampires for a while. While we were making it, True Blood and Twilight became overnight sensations and we realized we were apart of a tidal wave of vampire stuff.

It was comforting to know that every vampire that we had seen recently was completely different than what we were making.

I’m kind of fond of the vampire lore that goes back to Bela Lugosi but I think my favorite one was actually by Willem DeFoe in Shadow of the Vampire. He was such a funny vampire, and sort of petty-minded [laughs]. Hilarious. If I was going to model a blood-sucking vampire, it would have to be based off of him.

TFC: The Spierig Brothers are known for their violence from their previous film, Undead, do they bring that to this film at all?

SN: I don’t know how much violence there is in this film to be honest. There are certainly a few “scream out of your seat” moments, but I don’t think this film is all that violent at all. I think it’s more of a sci-fi thriller than a horror film. A lot of films blend genres these days, and I think this is truly unique.

I know I’ve never seen anything like this film.


Daybreakers, starring Neill, Ethan Hawke, and Willem DeFoe, hits theaters nationally today.

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