Ready for the latest twist on the vampire myth? This Friday sees the release of Blood: The Last Vampire, a live-action remake of the anime series from director Chris Nahon (Kiss the Dragon), and producer William Kong (Hero, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers).
South Korean actress Gianna Jun stars as Saya a 400-year-old “halfling” who looks just 17. Born to a human father and a vampire mother, she has for centuries been a loner obsessed with using her samurai skills to rid the world of vampires, all the while knowing that she herself can survive only on blood like those she hunts. When’s sent onto an American military base in Tokyo by the clandestine organisation she works for, Saya immediately senses that this may be her opportunity to finally destroy Onigen, the evil matriarch of all vampires. Co-starring as Jake is Brit actor JJ Field, best known over here for period TV dramas like Ruby In The Smoke and Northanger Abbey.
SFX had a chance to grab brief interviews with the two stars.
GIANNA JUN - Saya
SFX: Had you seen the original animated film before you got the part of Saya? If so, what were your impressions of it?
"I saw the anime after receiving the role offer from the producer Bill Kong. When I first saw her, she looked very mysterious – unfriendly and gloomy. It was kind of shocking, but very attractive."
What attracted you to the role in the first place?
"I was attracted by her ironic destiny as a half-breed of both human and vampire and her loneliness."
This is your first film to get a big international release - did that mean there was extra pressure on you? Did the shooting process feel different to what you've experienced before?
"At first, it pressured on me, but the whole production process was so long and hard that now I just looked forward to the film’s release soon.
"Meanwhile, It’s a very great opportunity for me to learn something new about myself. Because there are no preoccupied thoughts, prejudice or preconceived images about me, I was able to gain more confidence. It was like painting my own colour on a blank sheet."
Did the role set you any new challenges as an actress?
“Yes. Especially, it was a huge challenge to do actions hanging on a wire. It was so hard that I even felt depressed. However, after the whole shooting is done, I’m so excited and happy to wait for the release."
Do you enjoy vampire stories? If so, what are your favourites?
"I’m not a huge fan of vampire stories or movies, but I recently watched Let The Right One In. I think it’s brilliant."
Blood: The Last Vampire seems very different to your previous roles. Was this the kind of film you always wanted to appear in? How did you become involved?
“My only ambition is to play different parts in different types of work every time. Amazingly they approached me and told me they always had me in mind. I haven't a clue what they saw of my work that made them think of me… Certainly can't have been Jane Austin.”
Luke doesn't appear to be a character from the original anime. Can you tell us what his role is in the story?
“Luke is an amalgamation of the different characters that make up the secret society that are hunting down the last of the vampires. He's a unpredictable and very dangerous character.”
Did you get to do any big action sequences? Were they fun?
"The scale of the film was extraordinary. Every day was a new surprise and great fun. The girls got the best bits but I had a wonderful time."
Were you suspended from wires at any point?
"Sadly no wires for me. I lack the sufficient powers to be able to fly."
What was the biggest challenge filming the movie?
"Five months of night shoots.”
Was acting against such major special FX a new experience for you?
“Every job’s new and this was no different but filming in China was very different."
You appeared in Ruby In The Smoke and The Shadow In The North. Did you think back then that Matt Smith was Doctor Who material? What tips would you give him about big special FX?
“I always new Matt Smith was going to be a star. It was his first ever screen job and he was more natural and inventive than people who've spent their lives on set. I'm a huge fan. The only advice to give about special FX is commit completely to your imagination and it's great fun."