Michael C. Hall is known for taking on roles in which death plays a major part. In the TV series "Six Feet Under," he played the co-owner of a funeral home. In the TV series "Dexter," he played a vigilante serial killer. And in the independent film "Kill Your Darlings" (which opened in limited release in the U.S. and Canada on Oct. 16, 2013), he plays David Kammerer, a former Boy Scouts leader obsessed with college student Lucien Carr (played by Dane DeHaan), who ended up stabbing Kammerer to death in 1944.
"Kill Your Darlings" is based on the true story of the college days of Beat Generation writers Allen Ginsberg (played by Daniel Radcliffe), Carr, William S. Boroughs (played by Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (played by Jack Huston), who all socialized withe each other when they were students at Columbia University. Carr claimed self-defense in the killing of Kammerer, because he claimed that Kammerer made homosexual advances on him and had been stalking him. There has been much speculation that Carr and Kammerer had a secret love affair, which is something that Carr publicly denied.
Carr pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter, and he served two years in prison on a sentence of of one to 20 years. Carr went on to work for UPI for 47 years until his retirement in 1993. In 2005, he died of bone cancer at the age of 79, leaving behind a wife and three sons.
There has been much written about the Beat Generation writers, but little is known about Kammerer.
At a Los Angeles press conference for "Kill Your Darlings," Hall explained why he was attracted to his role movie: "I went through my period of my fascination with the Beats ... I was excited about the opportunity to humanize and sympathize this guy, who was sort of a footnote in a lot of accounts of the formative years of the Beat Generation, and was, if anything, characterized as a bit of two-dimensional villain, stalker. I like that the movie aspired to round him out a bit. That was appealing."
As for research he did for the role, Hall commented: "There's relatively little [information on Kammerer], but there was enough in 'The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice,' the Allen Ginsberg journals, there are real-time accounts of his first meeting with Kammerer. There was enough that I could make informed choices as I filled in the blanks that was there. There was some research, but it was an imaginative exercise too."