WonderCon 2012: 20th Century Fox – Prometheus and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

During the weekend of March 16-18, 2012, I was able to be a part of WonderCon 2012.  WonderCon is normally located up in San Francisco, but this year, due to renovations taking place at the Moscone Center, WonderCon was relocated to the Anaheim Convention Center.  2012 marks the 26th anniversary of WonderCon and to kick things off for Why So Blu’s coverage, here is a post about the 20th Century Fox panel, which premiered new footage and trailers for two of their big summer movies, Prometheus and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and featured appearances from the cast and crew from both films.

Here is WonderCon’s official panel description:

20th Century Fox and WonderCon attendees have two big reasons to celebrate the year’s event. Sir Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, returns to the genre he helped define and he’ll be live on stage to tell you all about Prometheus, his epic and groundbreaking new mythology. Sir Ridley and co-screenwriter Damon Lindelof will screen some exclusive footage.

You’ll also meet this country’s 16th president and first superhero — Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which explores the secret life of our greatest leader, and the untold story that shaped our nation. The filmmakers will screen special footage, which presents the visionary work of producer Tim Burton and director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted), who bring a fresh and visceral voice to the classic portrayal of the bloodthirsty vampire, while imagining Lincoln as history’s greatest hunter of the undead.

Before I go into either of the films, I think it should be noted how awkwardly this panel started.  As Tim Burton is a producer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, he appeared in a video introduction, explaining why he could not be at WonderCon.  Apparently he was sick and still in London, presumably doing work on his film due out in the fall, Frankenweenie, but this was a strange intro.  It featured a skeleton being manipulated to appear as if it were Burton speaking and explaining how excited he was about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  The skeleton was accompanied by two Asian nurses and a large man, with an equally large beard.  I am not making this up and the very mixed reaction to this very strange intro was very noticeable.  By the end of it, we were all told to “#PreyForTim”.

Anyway, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was the first film to be presented at this panel and the panel featured star Benjamin Walker (Abe Lincoln himself), director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch, Day Watch), and screenwriter (also the author of the novel that the film is based on) Seth Grahame-Smith.  These three went on to talk about how excited they were about finishing up this movie and having it ready for everyone else to see.  In particular, Grahame-Smith was very eager to talk about how willing he was to accept the changes that needed to be made in order to adapt his own book into a film structure.  Two particular points he made were in regards to characters that actors Rufus Sewell and Anthony Mackie play in the film, as they are not actually characters in the book.  Sewell will play the lead vampire/villain of the film – Adam, while Mackie will play William Johnson, a character who existed in real life, as Lincoln’s valet and friend, but will serve as a sidekick-type character for Lincoln, in the film, who will be helping to kill vampires.

Director Timur Bekmambetov is originally from Russia and his English is not the best, so he sat most of the discussions out, but one thing all three of them were clear on was recognizing how aware they had to be of the type of film they were making.  The title, alone, is a big key in what audiences are watching, but the group acknowledged how as stylish as they wanted the film to look, there will not be any attempts to “wink” at the camera.  Playing it straight was a big part of making the right kind of film, in their eyes, and this is where they thought Tim Burton’s presence as a producer was very helpful, in order to preserve this aspect of the film.

One crazy action sequence was shown, which featured Abraham Lincoln and William Johnson on board a train fighting vampires.  Anyone familiar with Bekmambetov’s previous films should have a good sense for how the look and style of action in this film will play out.  The whole sequence was very stylish indeed, complete with slow motion effects used a great deal, along with some very clever uses of an axe (lots of spinning), in order to properly vanquish vampires.  The fact that the train was moving along a giant bridge, which was on fire, only upped the ante further into a frenzy of over-the-top ridiculousness, balanced by a fun sense of cool, which this film is clearly striving for.  The audience certainly seemed pleased.

Being a fan of the original book as well as the visual style that Bekmambetov has been delivering in his films, I think this film will definitely bring something unique for audiences to enjoy.  I only hope that the nature of the story combined with the 21st century twist on how this film unfolds will not be too much for this film to try and handle.

The film arrives in theaters on June 22, 2012.  Check out the new Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer below:

Next up was the panel for Prometheus, the new science fiction film from director Ridley Scott, stepping back into the genre for the first time in over 30 years.  This was a panel that had a lot of anticipation, which was only met with a lot more excitement than there already was for the film.  The panel featured Ridley Scott, screenwriter Damon Lindelof, and stars Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender.

As many are aware, Prometheus is a film that began as a prequel to the original Alien, only to become something more.  Now it is known as a film, set in a science fiction universe that shares some DNA with the universe of Alien, but is also its own thing.   The basic concept for the plot is that a crew of the spaceship Prometheus, in the year 2085, explores an advanced alien civilization in search of the origins of humanity.  From there, other crazy things of course occur as well.  The film also stars Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Patrick Wilson, Idris Elba, and Logan Marshall-Green.

Beyond being among the first to see the brand new trailer for the film, the most interesting thing about the panel was hearing Ridley Scott speak about stepping back into the world of science fiction.  He seemed quite pleased with getting back behind the production of a film set in that sort of genre and made it a point to say that he is looking forward to doing it again (whether it be a sequel to this film or a hint at something else *ahem* Blade Runner *ahem*).  Scott also spoke of his dealing with the practicality of CGI advances versus going about things the old fashioned way, where he basically stated that he is fine with the use of advanced tools, as long as he can still get what he things is best out it.  He explained how with the freedom that comes with being able to do so much more, there is much more of a challenge of competing with others in a field that has become quite crowded and still being able to show people something new.

With the new trailer, it certainly feels like we are getting something unique.  Regardless of the Alien-vibe that it echoes (and really, how is that a bad thing?), Prometheus definitely looks like a grand sci-fi experience, that I cannot wait to behold in all its IMAX 3D glory.

The film arrives in theaters on June 8, 2012.  Check out the new Prometheus trailer below:


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

1 Response to “WonderCon 2012: 20th Century Fox – Prometheus and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”

  1. Brian White

    So jealous of you that you got to attend this panel!