Opening this week at Watershed is Byzantium, directed by Neil Jordan and produced by Oscar®-winning Stephen Woolley (the team who brought us Interview With The Vampire) who have returned to the world of vampires with this deliciously depraved supernatural drama.
Byzantium is a distinctly female take on the vampire tradition, which has enjoyed a resurgence in popular culture – think Twilight, True Blood and Let The Right One In. Stylish, moody and refreshingly told from a female perspective, it's about two mysterious women who take refuge in a run-down English coastal resort, shacking up in a dilapidated old hotel called Byzantium.
Based on the adaptation of Moira Buffini's play 'A Vampire Story', Byzantium stars Gemma Arterton as Clara, an extrovert, sexual 'vampire mother' to Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), a melancholy (apparent) teen who struggles with their secret: they are both 200 year old vampires.
When Stephen Woolley accompanied his daughter to a production of 'A Vampire Story' at the Bristol Old Vic a little while ago, he felt in his producer's bones that the story begged to be adapted into a film. He spent the next couple of years drumming up interest to set the production wheels in motion; Moira adapted the play for the screen, and the rest, as they say, is history.
We welcomed Stephen to Watershed recently for a Preview screening of the film where he discussed the new vampire canon, the practicalities of shooting and releasing Byzantium, and answered audience questions about his career. He lives in Bath and made his name in the 80s and 90s when he worked on films like The Company of Wolves and The Crying Game. Since then he has founded his own production company and worked on many high profile independent films. You can watch his Q+A to get the inside story before coming to watch the film.