When '30 Days of Night' debuted as a comic, it featured a startling cover by co-creator Ben Templesmith, dominated by a bloody mouth filled with jagged, razor-sharp teeth. Two weeks ago those teeth bit into moviegoers across the country as the film version debuted at #1. Comics2Film chats with Templesmith about his impressions of the movie and what comes next.
Alex Dueben for Comics2Film (C2F): This is going back a number of years but what was it that inspired your approach to 30 Days of Night?
Ben Templesmith: I got a huge vibe of John Carpenter's "The Thing" movie visually when I read the synopsis from a list Steve had given me to chose from. Pretty much the visuals are me reliving that movie, which is similar in some ways but of course in others not...but it's what did it for me.
C2F: You and Niles had worked together before 30 Days, did you two talk about the design or the look of the book before you worked on it? For me and for others, what was really shocking about the art, well, the teeth were the big element, that these weren't long canines you could hide by not smiling, but the human head of a vampire was concealing this gaping maw of a great white shark.
I can't remember much except him saying " They are eating machines"...so what better way evolutionarily speaking (for those that actually follow science at least) to have them be predators with shark like teeth, (one of the oldest, perfectly adapted predators) dark nocturnal black eyes and, in the comic at least, a habit of dislocating their jaws almost at times to fit more in. Mmm mm.
C2F: When the film was sold, did anyone talk to you during preproduction to get your input or did you do any design work for the film? I mention this because you seem to have a good relationship with David Slade (maybe that's all illusion, i don't know)
Templesmith: No, they didn't sadly. I probably could have asked but at the time I wouldn't have known what for and I guess, fundamentally I was more concerned and still am with doing comics, which at the time was still new and really living my dream to me. My involvement in anything movie related really only came later when production actually started and I met the multi-talented David Slade and of course their marketing department started latching on to the fact the movie is based on the book really, so they wanted me more involved from that point on.
C2F: You visited the movie set in New Zealand and spent some time at the WETA workshops, what was it like?
Templesmith: Very cool. Not only are new Zealanders talented, but they're some of the most friendly people on the planet. Not to mention everyone else on set and at WETA. One of the greatest times of my life.
C2F: You're returning to the 30 Days universe for the first time in years, writing and drawing a miniseries, what sparked this idea and why return to it?
Templesmith: With the movie then upcoming, I was asked if I wanted to do another 30 days book. I'm not one for endless sequels and have embarked upon a path trying to get away form drawing vampires for the last few years now (didn't want to only be known for that after all ) and where if I can get away with it, I like to write a bit as well as illustrate, so when IDW asked if I'd like to do exactly that for a miniseries, when I already had a small idea in mind... I jumped at the chance. Thus 30 Days of Night: Red Snow was born. Apart from my "prequel" of sorts, set further back in history, I don't know if there's much more I can/could add to the 30 Days universe after that. I've lived that property for many years right from the beginning, and finally I think I'm happy with how my art looks on it a bit!