Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper talk ‘Abraham Lincoln’

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is in theaters now, and some audiences are still scratching their heads about what to expect from the genre mash-up. Co-stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper recently sat down with HitFix to discuss some of the film’s quirks. 

Benjamin Walker plays the 16th president, who makes historical decisions by day and decapitates Confederate vampires by night. It’s a far-out premise that lends itself to a number of interpretations. 

Sewell, who plays the creepy vamp Adam in the film, acknowledges the film’s difficult-to-market tone. Based on the book by Seth Grahame-Smith, “Lincoln” could be played for straight-up laughs or could be a solid action yarn with a wink. Sewell thinks Grahame-Smith’s screenplay and “Wanted” director Timur Bekmambetov nailed the latter. “I think this is a right tone to strike,” he says, “there is a knowledge that this is kind of a funky title,” but it’s never played as an “extended ‘SNL’ sketch.”

Winstead adds, “I think Timur has an extremely unique style. I think his version of the vampire is very grotesque” but “beautiful” at the same time, lending the film a serious undertone while allowing it to indulge in all sorts of outlandish set-pieces. They also discuss where the film fits in to the larger legacy of monster movies. 

Cooper (“Captain America”) plays Henry, a man who has lost his wit to vampires and wants to help Lincoln in his quest to exterminate bloodsuckers. He says his character is “a lost soul and very sad,” whom he compares to “an old-fashioned junkie.” The conflict comes into play when he has to decide whether his actions are for the benefit of mankind or just for plain ol’ revenge.

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is now open.