X-Men Star Caleb Landry Jones Joins Neil Jordan's New Vampire Movie, Byzantium
08.23.11 by BJSprecher
It was announced at this year's Cannes Film Festival that director Neil Jordan would be making a long overdue return to the vampire sub-genre of horror movies that he helped to redefine with his now-classic 1994 adaptation of Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire. Jordan's new movie, Byzantium — adapted from the play A Vampire Story by Moira Buffini (Tamara Drewe), who also wrote the screenplay — centers around a pair of vampires who move into a small British town and try to fit in.
At the time of the announcement, it was revealed that Gemma Arterton
) and Saoirse Ronan
) would play Claire and Eleanor, the vampiric female leads in the movie. Now, more than three months later and just two months shy of the movie's expected start date, the male lead has been cast. According to Variety
, Caleb Landry Jones
, who recently portrayed the vocally-gifted mutant Banshee in Matthew Vaughn
's X-Men: First Class
, has joined the cast
as Frank, a young boy dying of leukemia who befriends Eleanor.
A synopsis for Byzantium has yet to be released, but here's the synopsis of the play on which it is based:
Two young women arrive in a nameless British small town. Their names are not their own. They don’t declare their ages. Their relationship with each other is not clear. Are they sisters, as their assumed identities declare? Or are they mother and daughter? The eldest, Claire, takes a job in a pub. The youngest, Eleanor, goes to school.
During a truth exercise in her drama class, Eleanor confesses that she has been alive for over two hundred years and has survived by drinking human blood. Her classmates think she is utterly crazy and Mint, her teacher, puts her in touch with the school counselor. She makes one friend, Frank, a boy who has been home educated and is as much of an oddity as Eleanor. He tries to get to the bottom of her vampire delusion, thinking it an epic and compelling psychosis. Why would anyone want to be undead?
Frank’s parents believe that Ella is an anorexic — why does she never eat? Eleanor has started to write her life story as a play. She describes Claire’s background as a prostitute in 19th century London and her own as a child in a private orphanage. Meanwhile, things are falling apart. People are disappearing. Are Eleanor and Claire vampires? Or are they troubled young women on the run?
While we have faith in Jordan's ability to direct an entertaining vampire movie, we can't help but feel that Byzantium is some sort of hybrid love child of Twilight (the vamp-in-school schtick) and Let the Right One In (the outsiders-become-friends-even-when-one-is-a-vampire schtick).