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About The Production
As they approached production, the filmmakers' key goal was to create a film every bit as stylish and creative as the graphic novel that inspired it. "David was very clear about referencing the graphic novel as a leaping off point,” says production designer Paul Austerberry. 

"Successful graphic novels, like 30 Days of Night, are compelling both because of their story and because of their drawings,” says Slade. "To be true to the book, we had to be true not only to the story, but to the vision represented in the pictures.”

For each of the filmmakers, this required an approach of heightened realism – presenting a Barrow, Alaska that was not a comic-book world, but not our world, either. 

Like the other filmmakers, director of photography Jo Willems first referenced the graphic novel when beginning to plan how he would shoot 30 Days of Night. The book's art direction, color palette, and vampire design all required extensive tests in order to achieve the look that Slade envisioned. 

"We were less interested in the colors of the real world and more interested in Ben Templesmith's colors,” says Slade. "We wanted a desaturated, drained night – not a blue night like you would see in an old Western or a black dark night, but a metallic moonlight.”

Willems does note that the look of the film does differ in some ways from the graphic novel, but retains the feeling that Templesmith created; if the filmmakers had presented his drawings as they were, the film would have been too stylized. "More than seventy percent of the film is set at night – so if we went for something very dark it would be a hard movie to watch,” he says. "The way we have brought the look of the graphic novel is not so much monochromatic but a de-saturated kind of color palette, punctuated by the blood red.” In the end, Willems achieved a look that is slightly cool, almost blue, that leaves the vampire skin with a silvery sheen. 

"I've worked with Jo Willems for about ten years off and on now,” says Slade. "I come back to Jo as often as I can because we have a shorthand for working together that makes things fast and easy. He's a phenomenally talented DP. The look we wanted for this film required that we spend a tremendous amount of time planning the lighting, and Jo met the challenge.”

Adding to the challenge, most of the production was shot at night – in fact, 30 Days of Night utilized 33 days of night shoots.

"I found the graphic novel very visually interesting; Ben Templesmith's drawings are quite detailed,” says production designer Paul Austerberry. He found the monochromatic palette – punctuated by red in the blood, the flames and Stella's fire marshal's uniform – to be ample inspiration for creating the on-screen look of the film.

One of Austerberry's greatest challenges was designing and building the town of Barrow, Alaska – the desolate, barren landscape that would provide the feeding grounds for the vampires. To Austerberry, the town would become almost a character of its own – at the very least, it would have to instill the feeling of dread and isolation that Slade wanted to achieve.

Though Slade preferred to depict the Barrow of Niles' and Templesmith's imaginations, the real Barrow did offer Austerberry some great reference material and inspiration. "Barrow is the most northern settlement in North America. They have only basic materials – there is no adornment,” he says. "The real Barrow has a lot of junk lying around; it is a long way to bring stuff to Barrow and a long way to get rid of trash as well.”

nly two sets were practical locations; the rest were built by Austerberry's design team. Creating a fictionalized Barrow for the film gave the filmmakers a needed freedom; most interestingly, they built the town's main street, Rogers Avenue, from scratch on a mass


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