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30 DAYS OF NIGHT

Casting The Film
The first task the filmmakers faced was to identify the actors that would bring the graphic novel's characters to the screen.

Josh Hartnett, who stars in the film as Eben, the sheriff of Barrow, was impressed by the way that the original comic book blended all the best aspects of the genre. "It was funny and scary, a simple story but pure. I especially liked that it was character-driven – if you can follow interesting characters through the story, you can take the leap into their supernatural world.”

Before signing on to play Eben, Hartnett met with David Slade to discuss the director's vision for the film. "We went to a bar that I've been going to since I was 21 – it's very familiar to me. As we were leaving, he took a couple of pictures of this bar and sent them to me in an e-mail a couple days later. The way he exposed them, they looked haunting – I didn't recognize the place. I thought, ‘This guy's gonna make something really creepy.'”

"Josh's take on the character is just right – though he's by nature playing a romantic lead, he's playing a fragmented hero, which I think is always more interesting,” says Slade. "He's a flawed character, a person who loses his temper, a person who's like you and me – and not an invincible strongman who goes around cutting vampires' heads off.”

Melissa George takes on the role of Eben's estranged wife, Stella. "She's a very strong woman,” says George. "I love parts that show a toughness and yet vulnerability to the character. She loves the people in her town, she loves Eben, and she loves her gun.” 

Tapert says that it was Slade who initially brought up the idea of casting George as Stella, and it was easy to see why. "Only Melissa brought the warmth to Stella,” he says.

Danny Huston takes on the role of Marlow, the leader of the vampires. "30 Days of Night represents a very pure kind of filmmaking: it is going to scare you,” he says. "In addition, because it's based on the graphic novel, this movie is very stylish – the vampires aren't your normal, everyday vampires, if there is such a thing.”

"I have a lot of compassion for someone like Marlow,” kids Huston. "We worked entirely at night, so I got into the vampire mode – driving back from the location at night, I would recoil from the sunlight. The nails, the teeth, the eyes, the prosthetics made me uncomfortable, but very sensitive as I suppose a vampire would be. Being a vampire is, potentially, a very tough life.”

"Danny absolutely owns his characters,” says Slade. "I've followed his career since I saw him in XTC and The Proposition – his dedication is unparalleled. For instance, he was very involved in shaping the language that his character speaks.”

Ben Foster, who takes on the role of the Stranger, was attracted first and foremost by the opportunity to work with Slade on this particular project. "I'd known David Slade socially for a couple of years and I was already a fan of the graphic novel,” he says. 

Foster was intrigued by the opportunities represented in his character. "He has a level of fanaticism,” he says. "What kind of person would get involved in a group and be willing to die for that group? For me, it became a metaphor – and it was a fun one to play with.”

"In our first meeting, Ben started grilling me about the character – questions I answered gleefully,” Slade says. "He asked where the Stranger is from, and I said, ‘It would be great if he was from the South. Ben spent his own money learning a note-perfect Cajun accent, which is terrifying and enriched the character.”

Slade says that the Stranger performs a very specific role in the story – one rooted in vampire lore. "If this were Bram Stoker's world, he would be Renfield,” says Slade. "The Stranger is the helper who wants desperately to become a vampire. He's seen hor

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