30 Days of Night - Steve Niles interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
STEVE Niles talks about the film version of his graphic novel, 30 Days of Night, why he’s so happy with the finished version, vampire movies in general and what he’s got coming up in terms of Rob Zombie collaborations and a new Batman series that we haven’t seen for a long time.
Q. Were you pleased with the way it captured the look of the comics?
Steve Niles: Pleased and shocked at how much they were able to catch the look and feel of the comics. Really incredible and I know Ben [the artist] was happy. I think David Slade stylized the film just enough to make it look like the comic without going too far and making it like a cartoon.
Q. Any reservations or things you would have liked to have seen?
Steve Niles: Selfishly, I wish there were more elements form the original graphic novel. We sent a lot of time developing the vampire mythos and we lost most of that in the film. Slade and Brian Nelson fought tooth and nail with producers to get what we have so I’m grateful we didn’t lose it all. In the comic, the vampires speak freely and have a culture and social structure all their own. I missed that and I think audiences picked up on the fact that something was missing.
*Q. Do you think there is scope for sequels and would you like to see them
Steve Niles: I’ve already written sequels to the comic. The second graphic novel is called 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days and follows Stella to Los Angeles after she writes a book telling the world what happened in Barrow. Guess what? The vampires are not amused. So, there’s quite a lot of material to use, including a series of novels I’ve written for Pocket Books. We’re just about to release the third now.
Q. he film was a certificate 15 for its cinematic release and is 18 on DVD. What can we expect that’s new or added for the DVD?
Steve Niles: Lots and lots of behind the scenes features. I’ve seen most of them
and they’re a lot of fun. I always love the fact that the grimmest horror movies have the highest spirited sets. You can see people had a lot of fun making 30 Days of Night.
Q. What did you think that David Slade brought to the film? Had you seen Hard Candy?
Steve Niles: David brought reality to the table as well as an incredible sense of style. I hadn’t seen Hard Candy until David was hired. Sam Raimi called,
and Rob Tapert called me, and said they found this great director who made a really interesting suspense movie. I drove down to the studio and watched the film and I was blown away. Not only had Slade and Nelson handled a delicate topic with absolute precision, but they made one hell of a scary film with only a couple characters and one location. I was sold immediately and told Sam.
Q. Danny Huston brings a great deal of menace to the role of the vampire leader. How pleased were you when he was cast?
Steve Niles: That was the biggest casting surprise for me. Danny is one of those actors everybody knows. He brings so much credibility with him. I was thrilled he wanted to take on the role of a vampire leader. I also owe a great deal to Danny because he took it upon himself to incorporate much of what we lost in the script into his performance. He read the graphic novels and saw the slight differences, and what the producers were cutting, and he slid it back in there very subtly. Personally, I think Danny’s Marlow is one of the great horror villains. I hope history proves me right. Danny deserves all the accolades we can give him.
Q. Did you receive much feedback from fans of the graphic novels? Were there any complaints that vampire elder Vicente did not appear?
Steve Niles: The fans are who we answer to and they were not shy about pointing
out the differences. I think the general vibe was that they missed some of the things from the graphic novel, but were still pleased with the movie because it still stuck to the main reasons they loved the comic. One of those reasons was the concept of scary, non-seductive vampires. The other was the simple concept of a place vampires could feed without pause. And the last was the relationship between Eben and Stella. All of those things remained in some form so I think over all the fans were pleased.
Q. What inspired you to create 30 Days of Night in the first place? What are your favourite and/or worst vampire movies?
Steve Niles: What inspired me was the town of Barrow itself. When I read about it, it just seemed like the perfect setting for a horror story. It has everything a good horror story needs; cold, isolation and DARK. The other motivating factor was the fact that I hadn’t been frightened by a vampire movie since Nosferatu. I wanted scary vampires who viewed humans as nothing more than food. The worst in recent years have been all those awful vampire action movies. I never understood why all vampires know martial arts. It just made no sense and certainly wasn’t scary. That’s my biggest complaint with action horror – it sacrifices the scares for action thrills. There are too many bad vampire movies to name, but I saw a good one recently called Let The Right One In. I think it was Swedish. Great movie. Very unexpected.
Q. When did you know you wanted to become a graphic artist and how easy/hard was it to pursue/realise that dream?
Steve Niles: I’ve always wanted to be a writer.
Q. Are you still working with Rob Zombie? If so, what’s next for you guys? And what have been the highlights of that collaboration so far?
Steve Niles: We completed The Nail and Bigfoot. Since then, we both have been too busy to do more comics so Creep has faded out. We might revive it someday, but right now Creep is sleeping. Rob and I talk all the time, but making time for projects is just impossible with our schedules. Rob is a lot like me in that if we can’t do it right, and give it all outr attention then we’d rather not do it.
Q. And how about Thomas Jane? What’s the status of those projects?
Steve Niles: RAW is Tom’s company and we just tinkered on a few series before I decided to move on. We’re still great friends and Tom is up for roles in several projects I’m setting up, including The Lurkers.
Q. How is the new DC character Simon Dark coming along?
Steve Niles: We just hit issue #7 and Simon is still going strong. I’m very lucky to have aco-creator like Scott Hampton. He and I are of one mind when it comes to Simon and it’s truly given this Frankenstein-like character a life of his own. I was very nervous that fans wouldn’t relate to a dead kid made up of body parts, but I think there’s something very fundamentally relatable to a fragmented person, don’t you think?
*Q. What other graphic novels – either your own or other people’s – would
you like to see developed into movies? Any chance of seeing Strange Cases?*
Steve Niles: Right now, I’m working on a new novel for Pocket Books. My editor, Ed Schlesinger, has been very patient while I was off in Hollywood land, but now I have to buckle down and write. I am also writing a 12-issue Batman series for DC called Batman: Gotham After Midnight with artist Kelley Jones. It’s going to be a creepy thrillfest, a Batman we have not seen for a long time. I also have Dead, She Said with Wrightson coming from IDW and Criminal Macabre from Dark Horse.