Neil Jordan’s Byzantium is this year’s answer to the histrionic vampire craze which Twilight essentially castrated. Don’t expect twee mutterings between teenagers. Or a shirtless werewolf to mark out the third prong of a love triangle. This latest full-length US trailer takes a bite straight out of cinema’s varicose veins. Kickstarting a tired premise, it’s a delight to see a glimpse at Jordan’s newest take on vamps.
Starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan, Byzantium knocks together a heady mix of historical period piece and the misery of a dilapidated coastal town. While she may look like a teenager, 16-year old Eleanor (Ronan) is in fact centuries old. The story follows Eleanor and her vampiric mother, Clara (Arterton) and their nomadic lifestyle. To satiate their need for human blood, the duo take shelter in a small town by the sea and succumb to its residents. With their guards down and budding relationships blossoming, the secret of their immortality is threatened.
The newest trailer has you wondering: why didn’t Jordan make this film earlier? He’s dallied with the fanged ones before in 1994’s Interview With The Vampire; that too a tale of an ageing vamp desperate to find his way in the world. Maybe he was waiting to strike back with his female counterpart take on a similar story. It’s an impressive trailer which demonstrates the scope of the film.
There’s a lot packed in across multiple generations and various costume changes. Arterton, who kicked butt in Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters looks as if she’s digging the chance to sink her teeth (sorry) into a meatier character with the familiarity of the genre still surrounding her. It’s about time really, as she’s a massive talent no doubt helped by her brilliant name (ahem.) Ronan is captivating as the troubled teen – but with an eight-year age gap between the leads, is Arterton really old enough to be her mother? Of course, she might be her sire in which case, we’ll let that detail slide.
We’ll find out if the film lives up to the trailer when Byzantium opens on June 28th.