These are some excerpts from a Fright Night
Q&A press junket.COLIN FARRELL
(Jerry) is a native of Ireland. He won a Golden Globe® Award for his performance in the dark comedy “In Bruges,” which followed a pair of hit men who hide out in Bruges, Belgium after a difficult job in London.
Farrell most recently starred in the New Line Cinema comedy “Horrible Bosses.” He is currently filming the Sony Pictures feature “Total Recall” for director Len Wiseman. The film is in production in Toronto and also stars Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel and Bryan Cranston. Farrell recently wrapped the Peter Weir film “The Way Back,” starring opposite Ed Harris and Jim Sturgess. The film tells the story of a group of soldiers who engineer a grueling escape from a Siberian gulag in 1942. He also completed William Monahan’s feature “London Boulevard,” based on the best-selling novel by Ken Bruen, about a South London criminal, newly released from prison, who resists the temptation to go back to a gangster life by taking a job looking after a reclusive young actress played by Keira Knightley.
CRAIG GILLESPIE (Director) gained widespread recognition early on in his feature-film directing career with the critically acclaimed “Lars and the Real Girl,” starring Oscar®-nominated Ryan Gosling.
For television, Gillespie produced and directed the highly acclaimed Showtime series “United States of Tara.” His direction of the pilot episode earned Toni Collette both an Emmy® Award and a Golden Globe® Award.MARTI NOXON
(Screenwriter) most recently wrote the screenplay for DreamWorks Studio’s “I Am Number Four.” She is currently writing “Bad Baby” for DreamWorks, which she and her partner Dawn Parouse will produce.
Noxon has written and executive produced for many critically acclaimed television programs including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Point Pleasant” and “Still Life.” She has also served as consulting producer for “Mad Men,” “Prison Break” and “Angel,” and is currently a consulting producer on “Glee.”Q: How did you get involved in the “Fright Night” project?Marti Noxon:
Because of my work on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and other things, I get sent a lot of supernatural projects and frankly, I don't respond to a lot of it. But there was something about the original “Fright Night” and its tone and the character’s stories that I really liked. I felt like I had something to bring to it and that in the years since the original movie came out the culture around vampires has become so prevalent that it might be a fun time to comment on it.
Once I decided to work on the project, it became one of those once in a lifetime experiences.
Craig was amazingly collaborative and let me into the process a lot more than some directors might. I saw right away that he understood exactly what I was seeing myself. I didn’t get rewritten a million times, which was really kind of amazing and we’d love to work together again. This really was the ideal project.
I had done a lot of dramatic films and dramatic roles back to back for three or four years. I literally said to my agent, “I'd love to do something that's really, really different and that has some comedy to it, something that's fun.”
Then this came along. I was dubious about it, because I had seen the original when I was 11 or 12 and I loved it. I particularly loved how Chris Sarandon played Jerry and I had a little boy crush on him, so I didn't want to like the script when I read it. I said, “They're remaking ‘Fright Night.’ That could be a really bad idea,” but then I just really just loved the script and saw how this could be a lot of fun.
It was also very contingent on who was directing it, since that would determine whether the film worked or not. When I heard that Craig Gillespie was involved and we sat down and spoke, I realized it would be a blast to play a character that is unbridled by any human sense of fear, remorse, regret or compassion. The screenwriter, Marti Noxon, designed the character in a very particular way. She wanted Jerry to be the kind of vampire that is more malevolent, violent and cruel than the vampires who have been presented onscreen in recent years.Craig Gillespie:
Marti Noxon's script. I hadn’t really been dying to do a vampire movie. I felt like there was so much of the vampire stuff out there and I'd been working on a couple of smaller projects I was trying to develop. Then DreamWorks sent me the script for “Fright Night” and it was a great blend of horror and humor. I love mixing genres and I couldn't stop thinking about it and visualizing it, so I went for it.Q: What did you think the most important things were to keep from the original movie?Noxon:
I think we had a lot of affection for the original because the premise was so strong. One of the things we talked about a lot was that Charley, Anton Yelchin's character, is in the process of becoming a man during the film. He has to face Colin’s character, Jerry, this stereotypical portrayal of masculinity. Jerry’s a predator and he's described as a player and that's certainly not who Charley is. Charley has to prove himself against Jerry, the bad boy and the guy who typically gets the girl. That’s definitely something I enjoyed writing about.
We also re-imagined Jerry a bit. There's so much of the “ romantic” vampire out there right now that it was fun to create one as a super-villain. Q: Were you happy with Colin's embodiment of a vampire?Noxon:
Oh, yes. Colin brought Elvis to the table. There's a moment in the film when he literally snarls, and I thought, “Yeah, that's what we were going for.” We had imagined a very muscular, charming, but ultimately empty, sociopathic character. His friendliness in the beginning is all an act. Colin said that he saw his character as someone who just likes to play with his food.
I thought he was perfect. Anton’s playing a boy who’s trying to come into manhood and Colin gets to play the alpha male he has to challenge to get there. It’s a classic male confrontation and a very primal situation where two males come together and face off. Colin is so clearly the dominant species in that relationship, both because he’s a vampire and because he’s just Colin. He just stepped in there and was so in the zone. He's got no fear and has a very primal sense of what’s going on. Colin added a lot of little details to the role of Jerry that really brings him to lifeQ: Did you consciously try to bring a sense of humor into the role, Colin?Farrell:
No, I never felt any pressure to bring humor into the film. I think that was left up to David Tennant and Christoper Mintz-Plasse. Their two characters had a lot of the humorous dialogue and those boys know their way around humor. I was the horror and they were the humor.Q: Craig, were you conscious of that as a director, that there was a split between humor and horror?Gillespie:
No. It had to be a horror movie. I wanted to make sure that the audience was genuinely scared at times and on the edge of their seats. The humor comes second and it’s about figuring out how much you can get away with. Much of the time, it's a great release in the middle of scary moments, but even as we were editing, we might decide that there was one too many jokes in a scene. It's a constant battle.
For Colin’s character, it was more important that he was having fun as a villain. That's what makes great villains for me, is that they have a sense of humor about what they're doing and they seem to enjoying it, as hellacious as it is. That part, he got down in spades. He was having fun with his crueltyQ: Do you love vampire culture? Have you seen all of the B vampire movies?Noxon:
I grew up in a house that my Mom said was haunted, and I believed her. Then I snuck in to see the movie “Dracula,” with Frank Langella, when I was much too young. I honestly think that it imprinted on my DNA because I just loved it. I also love Ann Rice and "Interview with a Vampire." Q: Do you think the sexual element has always been a big part of vampire movies?Noxon:
I think vampire movies have always been sexy. If you go back and look at the original Dracula, the biting is obviously a metaphor for sex. Frank Langella was dead sexy. I still remember him walking through those gauzy white curtains, with his shirt open. I didn’t know what was happening in my body, but I thought, “This is all good.” What’s inherent in the vampire myth is carnality and the longing for eternal love.Q: Was it obvious at the beginning that you would shoot this film in 3-D?Gillespie:
In my first meeting at DreamWorks, they told me that they wanted to make the movie in 3-D. I thought, “All right, I've seen these huge tentpole movies like "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland" in 3-D. Wouldn’t it be kind of cool to do a horror film where you've got two guys walking down a corridor and you want to look around them and see what's at the end of it?” I really got into the idea and had a great time shooting it that way.Q: What was the most challenging thing about shooting the film in 3-D?Gillespie:
I really wanted to use the medium in an elegant way and not have it get in the way of the performances. Shooting in 3-D uses a completely different muscle. There are a lot of rules out there about what you can and cannot do when you’re using 3-D cameras, but at the end of the day, I felt like it came down to having an artistic sensibility about it.
I also worked with cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe and he’s just amazing. He’s worked on 54 movies, including “The Others,” “The Road” and, ironically, the last two “Twilight” movies. We really liked using a shallow depth of field, which you’re not supposed to do with 3-D, but we thought would make the audience feel like they were in a tight, enclosed space.
The other aspect of shooting in 3-D is that your camera can’t be too frenetic. You can’t really do any handheld because the cameras are just too big. In an odd way, shooting “Fright Night” took me back to classic filmmaking. I did these big, long dolly moves and blocking with the camera because the shots had to cover the whole performance in one take. It was fun to create that sort of elegance.ABOUT THE MOVIE:
High School Senior Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) finally has it all—he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the hottest girl in high school. In fact, he’s so cool he’s even dissing his best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But trouble arrives when an intriguing stranger Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right— yet no one, including Charley’s mom (Toni Collette), seems to notice! After witnessing some very unusual activity, Charley comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on his neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone that he’s telling the truth, Charley has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself in this Craig Gillespie-helmed revamp of the comedy-horror classic.
The film is in U.S theaters now and will premier in the U.K. September 2nd.