I probably shouldn’t be, but I can’t help but be surprised every time I learn more about the upcoming adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Maybe the geniuses behind “Party Down” had inside information when they poked fun at Henry’s failed attempt to join the cast of an Edgar Allan Poe vampire slaying movie, or maybe producers Paul Rudd and Rob Thomas have just been in the industry so long their prescience shouldn’t be a surprise. Hell, that’s not even counting John Cusack’s The Raven. But it is, surprising, every single time.
I’m not convinced these are positive developments, either. This latest behind-the-scenes video from MTV doesn’t do much to sway me one way or the other, except to say that the make-up on star Benjamin Walker is pretty incredible. The movie itself seems to have a bit more real history than I anticipated, but again, I can’t decide if that’s going to be good or bad for the final film.
Take a gander (and blame MTV for the auto-start; what sort of butthole does that?):
Sadly, Anthony Mackie isn’t playing Frederick Douglass, who doesn’t even appear to be in the movie at all according to IMDB. That just seems like a missed opportunity. The rest of the cast includes Alan Tudyk, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper, and Jimmi Simpson, who are almost bigger selling points than the premise. /Film also has some mostly tepid stills, if you’re interested, though Dustin already posted the most interesting one yesterday. This movie is a constant tug o’ war between huh and HUH?!.
Whereas the trailer for the previously unheard of FDR, American Badass is straight-up BWUH!!??!! all the way through. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. If I had to guess, the reason FDR, American Badass has been flying so low under the radar is because the movie’s entire budget was eaten up by cast of mostly excellent character actors. Seriously. FDR, American Badass has talent up the wazzoo: Barry Bostwick (as FDR, American badass!), Ray Wise (as General MacArthur!), William Mapother (as, um, Dr. Ellington?), and Kevin Sorbo (as, somehow, Abraham Lincoln!). Okay, admittedly, that last one doesn’t exactly have talent bursting out of his muscles, but Richard Riehle has a part, too, and he’s always a bonus.
Check out the absurdity below (mildly NSFW for language and taste):
I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking FDR, American Badass looks like something SyFy would be embarassed to show, but I’d be lying if I said I thought it looked terrible. FDR, American Badass looks like a damn good time with your friend(s) and drug(s) of choice, and the awfulness is clearly one of the points of the entire endeavor. Though, whether being terrible was the filmmakers’ intent or the terribleness was forced upon them is impossible to tease out from the trailer alone. Sort of like how the only artistic decision Kevin Smith made in Clerks, to shoot in black-and-white, was was purely done out of being unable to afford color film stock. Still, for movies about public domain figures, FDR, American Badass looks streets ahead of Bunyan: The Movie. Not good, mind you, but radass.
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He broke his biggest rule against redundancy with this post, but he just couldn’t stop himself from typing “FDR, American Badass” as often as he could.