Regardless of your personal beliefs, can we agree that what the Bible has always needed are vampires?
At least that’s what Will Smith feels, if Deadline.com is to be believed. According to another in the website’s never-ending series of “exclusives” last Friday, Smith will star in and produce The Legend Of Cain, “an epic re-telling of the Biblical sibling tale, this time with a vampiric twist.”
In a world that’s lately given us the diminishing-returns likes of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, as well as all manner of Twilight/True Blood/Vampire Diaries spinoffs, rip-offs, and jerk-offs, I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone decided to give a part of the Good Book a be-fanged spin.
Though there are no other details on The Legend of Cain available—beyond the fact that its screenwriters include Andrea Berloff, who managed to interject Jesus Christ into Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, and Smith’s brother-in-law Caleeb Pinkett—its description as “an epic re-telling” doesn’t indicate that it’s going to be a pomo satire like the recent works of Lincoln scribe Seth Grahame-Smith. Instead it’s going to be a straight-faced retelling of history’s first fratricide—indeed, its first murder. Only, you know, “with a vampiric twist.”
I’ve enjoyed vampires over the years, from Bela Lugosi to Jonathan Frid in Dark Shadows and Reggie Nalder in the original TV version of Salem’s Lot. There’s been Count Orlok, Count Yorga, Harry Nilsson’s Count Down and too many Count Draculas to…well, count. Dracula, Blacula, Blade; Interview with the Vampire, Let the Right One In, Ganja & Hess, Near Dark, Buffy—hell, even Zoltan, Hound of Dracula.
And it doesn’t stop. There’s the low-rated camp of ABC’s The Gates, a direct-to-video sequel to The Lost Boys this October and a remake of Fright Night next October. And don’t forget the infinite number of vampire porn titles, up to and including Count Rackula and Ejacula. Every possible permutation, explication, and desecration of the vampire story has been told, retold and regurgitated.
There’s some solace in the fact that chances are pretty good we’ll never see Smith’s Cain-and-vampire story. Though the trial balloon floated via Deadline hasn’t caught much popular attention yet, if the project actually does start moving forward (Smith’s still got to make the eagerly un-awaited Men in Black III first) perhaps the usual gang of ultra-rightists, Tea Party sympathizers, and jes’ plain folk who didn’t take kindly to Scorsese’s Last Temptation of Christ will strangle this one in its crib.
No, Cain isn’t Jesus, but it’s hard to imagine anyone—including box-office king Smith—getting away with messing with the Bible. Also worth considering, beyond the “let’s throw in vampirism” twist, is the inherent complication of making a mass movie-going audience buy that Adam and Eve’s offspring were black. Mainstream America may have been ready to put an African-American in the Oval Office, but it’s almost certainly not prepared to consider issues of race when it comes to the origin of mankind.
At the very least, the Smith-Pinkett clan’s focus on Cain has evidently unburdened us of the possibility of seeing Will and Jada playing Stanley and Stella in a Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Perhaps if they’d made Blanche Dubois a werewolf…