Amy Heckerling: ‘Vamps’ of a different color
Edward and Bella aren’t the only bloodsuckers in town. Veteran director Amy Heckerling, whose teen comedies “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Clueless” have become modern classics, tried her hand at the vampire genre. But it was never her intention to jump on a bandwagon.
“I mean, I wrote this before ‘Twilight’ came out and I didn’t read the books. … That was a whole other world I’m not a big fan of,” Heckerling explains. “I don’t know where they live — out in the northern West Coast kind of area — I’m a city person and I wanted to feel what it would be like to just always stay young, to go to school, to have a part-time job, to have friends, to go out and do the things that I think would be fun to do endlessly.”
And so we have “Vamps,” starring “Clueless” actress Alicia Silverstone and “Don’t Trust the B– in Apartment 23″ star Krysten Ritter. The ladies play roommates who look for love in Manhattan while also trying to avoid the urge to suck the blood of their suitors.
The rules for how a vampire lives, eats and sleeps are different for each and every story told about them. But when creating her own vampire universe, Heckerling turned to the classics for inspiration.
“What I liked was in Bram Stocker’s ‘Dracula’,” she says. “I feel like he laid out a nice history and set of rules. But then the Anne Rice situation of ‘Interview with the Vampire’ — the main character did not have to kill people. For me, I think people are sympathetic if you don’t kill people. It’s just a quirk of mine. I went with [the idea] that they needed warm running blood from a mammal. These girls were trying to be nice and do as little harm as possible.”
As for explaining why these fictional creatures have been so popular, Heckerling has a simple, sensible answer:
“I don’t find it surprising in the world that where people in their 30s, 40s and 50s [who are] obsessed with extending the 20s forever would be a society that would gravitate to vampires,” she says. “How can you really keep it together forever? As far as mythology goes, vampires can!”
Heckerling is currently working on adapting her 1995 comedy “Clueless” into a Broadway musical.