Sometimes, the news just conveniently turns up in nicely themed packages. First, the trade papers are buzzing over the casting of Michael Sheen as the leader of the Volturi, an Italian coven of vampires in the “Twilight” sequel “New Moon,” now shooting in Vancouver. Sheen, a Brit, is a terrific actor who’s recently played lead roles in “The Queen” (as Tony Blair) and “Frost/Nixon” (as David Frost) on screen. In fact, he was so good as Prime Minister Blair that, when I saw him playing a diamond dealer in “Blood Diamond” shortly after, all I could think was “Why is Tony Blair in this movie?” And he brings some horror-movie cred, so to speak: He’s played a werewolf in the three “Underworld” films. Perhaps he can give some of the young werewolves in “Twilight” some pointers.
On other vampire fronts: The movie of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel “The Informers” arrives in Seattle theaters next week, minus its vampire character. I saw the movie last week and was underwhelmed by the very dull decadence of it all, but was surprised to read the book (which is really a group of semi-interlocking short stories) and find that its most original character hadn’t made it into the movie. Though Brandon Routh (“Superman Returns”) was cast as Jamie, the ’80s club-kid vampire, his scenes aren’t in the final cut. Ellis, on bookforum.com, said the decision had to do with money:
“Ultimately, there were budgetary concerns,” Ellis says, “as well as concerns about how violent and sexual it was.” He admits, though, to feeling that absence: “Nick [Jarecki, the initial director, later replaced by Gregor Jordan] and I had agreed that it needed to be in there. To lose it made the film much more serious for me, which isn’t what I had in mind at all.”
Seeing as the film that remains is extremely violent and sexual (it’s not like the decision prevented “The Informers” from being rated R), it seems a remarkably weird decision to cut a vampire from a film — or, for that matter, to cut its most over-the-top character. Maybe he’ll turn up on the DVD. Or in a “Twilight” movie.