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When the movie adaptation of ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ hits cinemas this summer, movie-goers will soon realize that there are few secrets between Abraham, played by Benjamin Walker, and his über-nemesis Adam, the chief of all vampires. The first of his kind in existence, Adam, played by Rufus Sewell, is a creature of almost limitless power. Author-screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, who created the character especially for the film, as its central villain, was attracted to the idea of someone who has existed for untold millennia. “I wondered what it would be like to live for hundreds of thousands of years – to have been around since the building of the pyramids,” says Grahame-Smith. “What kind of personality would emerge from that eternal existence?”
Adam is a warrior, leader, politician and pragmatist. With his aristocratic bearing and Southern plantation home, Adam is like a malevolent Rhett Butler – a mix of elegance and menace. His goals, says producer Tim Burton, are in some ways quite relatable. “If you cast off your moral assumptions, then all Adam wants is a place where he and those like him can call home. He wants freedom for his kind, but of course that comes at a horrible cost for so many.”
Adam hopes that Abraham will become a formidable ally, instead of a deadly foe. “Adam, with all his abilities, is a politician and pragmatist, much like Abraham himself,” notes Sewell. “And the wonderful thing is, he gets a chance to meet with Lincoln, warrior-to-warrior, and in a way, president-to-president, because Adam sees himself as the leader of a kind of vampire nation. Adam doesn’t use force against Lincoln, not at first, because he’d much rather have Lincoln on his side.”
Abraham absolutely rejects Adam’s overtures for an alliance, and so must face the vampire’s full fury. “Adam can transition from an erudite, sophisticated and cultured ‘man’ to a creature capable of tearing your head off and sucking your lungs out through a hole in your throat,” says Sewell.
Adam commands nothing less than a vampire army, and his chief lieutenant and bodyguard is a gorgeous vampire named Vadoma, played by Erin Wasson. Wasson characterizes Vadoma as “a woman of few words, and an assassin. She and Adam make a good team.”
Vadoma is a fearsome soldier but her uniform is far from traditional Confederate Army issue. Instead, the sexy vamp favors a leather corset – her armor, of a kind – as well as a long, high-collared jacket. “She can also be one of the [vampire] guys,” adds the actress.
Vadoma, Adam and Abraham are the key players in one of the film’s biggest set pieces – a showdown at Adam’s plantation, where Abraham takes on dozens of vampires in a dizzying, dazzling dance of hand-to-hand (and axe-to-head) combat. Director Timur Bekmambetov calls it a “waltz of death” because the action explodes in the midst of a party whose guests are…slowly dancing.
The contrast between the scene’s genteel opening and its dark, edgy and violent conclusion is subversive. “The battle has incredible energy and velocity, and challenges what you think you know about big movie fight scenes,” says producer Jim Lemley. “It starts off like something from ‘Gone with the Wind,’ and then people are flying around a room, vampires are jumping off ceilings, and heads are being lopped off.”