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EXCL: Niles Talks Adaptation Process for Dark Days

The 30 Days of Night sequel

If you’re a big fan of the original “30 Days Of Night” graphic novel, then you’d recognize that a subplot involving two New Orleans characters trying to expose the vampires existence never made it into David Slade’s feature film.

While this was never a part of the script that Steve Niles (whom created and penned the original comics) and co-scripters Stuart Beattie and Brian Nelson used, it plays as an important launching pad for the storyline in the comic book sequel Dark Days. Now that Dark Days, the 30 Days of Night sequel is in fact being made into a feature with director Ben Ketai attached, we wondered if this made adapting Dark Days from comic to screenplay more difficult for Steve Niles.

“The first movie established the vampires fear of exposure, that the fact that nobody believes in them is their greatest strength,” he explains, “so now, we just had to accelerate that. In the new movie, we had to start with what happened in New Orleans. We just moved that storyline from the original book to the beginning of this new one. There’s some evidence of what happened in Barrow and Stella Oleson is out there trying to spread the word just like in the Dark Days comics.”

We couldn’t help but wonder if the vampires will talk this time around since they did have dialogue in the original comics. “Yes,” confirms Niles. “I have them doing what I originally wanted which is speaking all languages.”

When pressed for more details on how many changes needed to be made in order to make the Dark Days story work as a movie, he says, “Well, the first thing, I have a scene where there’s a plane and with everybody dead on a tarmac from the vampire attack. And Guillermo Del Toro just did it in ‘The Strain’ [novel], which is going to wind up on the screen and I thought, ‘Okay, skip that.’ We’re going to be accused of stealing it from them or vice versa. It’s a big set piece in the novel, so we had to lose that and little adjustments like that. Also, the one character Judith, who’s the woman, we lost her and she had to be replaced with somebody else. I’d say there’s about as many changes as there were from the first graphic novel to the first movie, but not as drastic. We’ll get a lot more of the vampire lore. This is the arc that introduces us a friendly version of those creature things. That was one of the challenges, how do we make one of these guys even remotely sympathetic? It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

One of Niles’ other well known and praised works that’s up for a film version is Freaks of the Heartland. We asked him for the status of that feature adaptation.

Freaks of the Heartland, I’m reading the most recent script now,” he reveals. “It’s the second draft. As far as I know, David Gordon Green loves it. It’s different. They’re playing with it, so it’s a bit different. But you know, when I met with David Slade on 30 Days of Night, it’s like once you find a director you trust, it becomes their baby, too, and I just put my faith in them. To me – and I know some people disagree, I think Slade did such a great job on 30 Days of Night. So I’m hoping for the same thing of David Gordon Green. Try to get the work in there, try to make a good horror movie and I’ll be happy.”

Lastly, after multiple attempts, Niles reassures us that his beloved Cal McDonald of the Criminal Macabre novels and comic books is also poised for a movie adaptation, finally. Criminal Macabre is set up at Universal. Kyle Ward is writing it right now and we’ll have more news on that soon. I’m producing and I’ve been cheerleading to keep the whole thing moving.”

More on all of Steve Niles projects when we hear it!

Source: Robert Galluzzo