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Jim Jarmusch gives his own take on vampires in 'Only Lovers Left Alive'

Jarmusch says he intended the new vampire film to be a "tender romance."
By Annie Martin   |   April 7, 2014 at 1:36 PM   |   Comments

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DETROIT, April 7 (UPI) -- Jim Jarmusch presents his own vision of vampires in his new film, Only Lovers Left Alive.

The Coffee and Cigarettes and Broken Flowers director has a decidedly different take on the topic than Twilight. He spoke to the New York Times last week in an interview to discuss the new movie and his approach to filmmaking.

Only Lovers Left Alive is the first movie the 61-year-old director has shot digitally, as opposed to film. He says the transition was strange at first, but the things he hates about digital -- "depths of field and skin tones" -- caused no problems in a film about pale vampires.

Sources report that the film stars Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as the vampires Adam and Eve. The centuries-old lovers lead increasingly lackadaisical lives in Detroit and Tangier, sustained by blood they purchase from suppliers. Their apathy and reclusivity are disrupted when Eve's wild younger sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska), comes to stay with them after they reunite in Detroit.

As a character, Adam is a "reluctant virtuoso" musician who has become increasingly dissatisfied with the human state of affairs. Jarmusch elaborates that the character's "weakness [is] that he wants to hear his own music echo back."

"That's not a smart thing to do if you're trying to live undercover," the director says of Adam's vampiric identity. "Unlike Eve -- she has no need for that, she's full of wonder at things, and that's enough for her."

"I have Adam's weakness," Jarmusch says of his own love-hate relationship with popularity. "I think [Eve is] more enlightened somehow."

The director says he considers Only Lovers Left Alive a "tender romance" between Adam and Eve. Vampires, as immortal creatures, were a way for Jarmusch to meditate and comment on cultural history; for example, John Hurt brings Elizabethan tragedian Christopher Marlowe to life as a vampire in the movie -- a character who still struggles in the shadow of William Shakespeare.

Jarmusch says that the interplay between real life and narrative in his movies has always "sort of been my way."

"I have a lot of [real-life] weird experiences by not having a plan," the director continues. "I have that, too, while filmmaking. I have this motto of: It's hard to get lost when you don't know where you're going."

Only Lovers Left Alive debuts in U.S. theaters on April 11.

[New York Times]
[IndieWire]

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