Exclusive: Neil Jordan Tells A Ghost Story
And talks The Graveyard Book
Byzantium, Neil Jordan’s return to the vampire lore he first explored in 1994’s Interview With A Vampire**, steals into cinemas today. You’ll spot it: it’s the one chuckling maniacally and pulling a cape over its eyes, while it cleans the pick ’n’ mix out of fizzy fangs. Gearing up for it at the London press junket, Jordan chatted about his attitude to Hollywood and shared his plans for the new project he has underway.
“I’ve written a ghost story with a contemporary setting,” the director tells Empire. “I’m going to terrify people with beautiful music.” If the so-far untitled project gets underway, it will be shot in Eastern Europe rather than Jordan's usual home turf of Ireland, or England, where Byzantium was filmed. Irish gangster thriller Fury, he revealed, is no longer on the cards.
That ghostly talk matter turned the subject to the filmmaker’s once-mooted adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. An exciting – and, to our minds, pretty perfect – meshing of creative sensibilities, it was eventually kibooshed by budget issues. “It was too expensive for the nature of the project,” explains Jordan. “We had to go to Disney or Fox or Sony, [studios who] do these family-friendly movies, but The Graveyard Book definitely wasn’t a family-friendly movie.”
Phlegmatic, Jordan points a finger at risk averse studios. “[It] is always a problem. Neil Gaiman and Framestore brought me the book – I was the chosen director – and I thought it was wonderful, but I knew that once you get above $50m, the studio would want to know who their audience was.”
It’s not the first time Jordan has been stifled by the studio system but he’s undeterred and still eager to make hay in Hollywood. “I’ll do big movies again,” he tells us. “Hollywood’s an animal that has a very particular way of moving. You have to know the way it moves and you only know it by going through it.”
“Over the last few years they’ve been doing these versions of fairy tales, like Snow White And The Huntsman, and I don’t think they did them very well. I think I would have done them better.”
Byzantium is in cinemas now.