In the re-imagining of Fright Night, teenager Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) learns that his new next door neighbor, Jerry Dandrige (Colin Farrell), is really a vicious vampire, slaughtering people for their blood. Only problem is that no one, including his mother (Toni Collette) and girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots), believe him. Unable to convince anyone of the imminent danger, Charley looks to popular Las Vegas illusionist and self-proclaimed vampire expert Peter Vincent (David Tennant) for help, before finally taking matters into his own hands.
At the film’s press day, co-stars Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (who plays Evil Ed) and Imogen Poots talked about updating the Fright Night story and characters for a Twilight world, the appeal of making a scary vampire film, hanging out with each other and bonding while shooting in Albuquerque, and the freedom that director Craig Gillespie embraces in the performances from his actors. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
ANTON YELCHIN: No. I read it and it was a good story and a good character arc. The original is fantastic, but I have a lot of respect for (director) Craig [Gillespie], so the fact that the script was solid and Craig was doing it and then Colin [Farrell] signed on, it all seemed like the elements were coming together. Having seen the film, I can say that it was justified confidence. The script was respectful of the original, but also very conscious of the fact that teenagers had changed, to a certain extent. There’s a mass availability of information now, so that changes the nature of people’s understanding of the horror genre and what horror is. It’s the Twilight world, so [Marti Noxon] just adapted the same characters and the same plot to the Twilight world. These are suburban kids who are very aware of what’s going on, and this monster moves in next door. I would argue that the original film is about the changes in the horror genre, and now it’s about the way that we respond to certain signifiers in the horror genre, but it’s still the same idea.
YELCHIN: I think it really depends upon what the material is and how the relationship of the original film is to what you’re trying to accomplish. I am a huge fan of the original Fright Night and of the performances. Our arc is a little bit different. It was re-imagined as a bit of a different story. In this one, it’s Ed that comes to Charley and Charley that doesn’t believe him. In terms of looking at the characters, I tried to bring what I thought was the most honest thing to this trajectory. In the original, when Charley’s mania peaks, it works so well, and I just wanted to bring that to this to make sure that, when his mania peaked, it was like the original. For me, it was about borrowing what you want and then balancing it out with what you were trying to accomplish.
Christopher, in the original film, Evil Ed was the annoying best friend, but he’s much more layered in this version. Was that in the script?
CHRISTOPHER MINTZ-PLASSE: It was definitely in the script. [Marti Noxon] really wanted to discover the friendship between Charley and Ed. He was fantastic in the ‘80s film, but he was loud and zany, and that just didn’t really now and for this script, so it was really fun to play the polar opposite to what Stephen Geoffreys did in the original.
YELCHIN: There are certain elements of camp. There are definite moments of camp, but it goes again that. I’m a big Troma film fan, and Troma is totally blown out, over-the-top and campy. This one has those elements, but then it definitely goes for the gore and the reality of it. Whenever you see Jerry bite into a victim, it doesn’t feel campy. It just feels horrific, which is great. I love that.
Imogen, what was it like to be one of the only females in this film?
IMOGEN POOTS: I had a really great time making this film. I love those boys. They’re the best. We all had a really good time. It’s a film that means a lot to me. We filmed in Albuquerque, which I loved. I had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed playing this all-American girl with blonde hair. It was great. I had a blast making the film.
YELCHIN: I don’t know. I didn’t really do anything. Most of the prep was for the emotional journey. Chris [Mintz-Plasse] and I did rehearse the fight sequences quite a bit because it was such a choreographed piece. We had two or three days of rehearsal for that. And then, the more you do it, the more it just becomes a natural thing. You just hope that you don’t smack the other person. I didn’t hit him all night, but the moment the first A.D. told me to focus, I hit him. There wasn’t a lot of physical preparation, but there was a lot of physicality to it and that’s fun. When you’re doing that, it really feels like a filmmaking thing. You feel like you’re on a ride. It’s like being a kid.
Anton and Imogen, because you have a relationship in the film, did you have a chance to do any bonding before filming started?
POOTS: We didn’t. I ruined that by ruining Anton’s film. We went to see a movie and get some food before, and I took his camera and was fiddling with it and managed to expose the film to light. It was doomed, from that point on.
YELCHIN: I realized that she’s a moron that just didn’t want to hang out with us. No. We all hung out quite a bit. In Albuquerque, Imogen and Chris were down the street from me, in more of a hotel. They came over and we watched movies at my place. It was great.
POOTS: It was just like Friends. I would be Joey, and you’re Monica.
Were you worried about getting in on the vampire genre when there’s such an over-saturation of it right now?
YELCHIN: No because this is not a suburban melodrama about lovesick vampires. It’s about a vampire that’s a monster. One of my favorite vampire movies is Nosferatu, which has a palpable sense of dread that’s a pre-war dread. The idea is that the vampire can represent destruction and evil, and this dangerous predator-like quality. That’s what this is. There was no, “Well, maybe Jerry is in love. Maybe Jerry doesn’t want to kill us.” No, Jerry wants to fucking kill you! It’s as simple as that. So, I read it and I wasn’t worried because that’s different. It also brings back certain traditional qualities and ways of representing the vampire in a story. It goes against the grain of making them non-dramatic. The vampire has always had the potential to represent dread and destruction. In that way, it’s a traditional quality. I feel like we use vampires because it’s more politically correct and you can obviously make a ton of fucking money off of making them vehicles for suburban drama or melodrama. But, I like that in this one, Jerry is just going to kill you.
MINTZ-PLASSE: I think Colin did a fantastic job of just bringing back the original vampire who is sexy and charming, but is just pure evil. That’s my favorite type of vampire. It’s just one predator, hunting down one other person. It’s more intimate.
What was it like to work with David Tennant, as Peter Vincent?
YELCHIN: He’s great. I got along so well with him. It’s interesting because you get together with somebody and don’t really know what to expect, but he’s a very disarming human being. He’s just very easygoing and light and wonderful off screen, and then just a pleasure to work with and so funny. His sense of humor is just light, and he’s great. There were heavy, four-page scenes that we did, but we had a blast.
POOTS: Well, they’ve both got this exceptional ability to take on these human beings that are essentially creatures. David is hysterical. The way he moves and the way he has embodied Peter Vincent is fascinating to watch. Doctor Who is such a big deal in the U.K., and now over here. I suppose with the character of the Doctor, they’re constantly adapting to different forms and different situations, so it’s a real journey that they go on, with that role. If they decide to branch out, I think all these fantastic roles await them.
What was it like to have to wear all the make-up?
MINTZ-PLASSE: It was fun the first day. It was cool the first day because I was taking pictures and sending them to my parents. But, two weeks in, I felt like my skin was going to rip off with the mask, at the end. Four hours of glue on my face got tiring.
Does it make it all worth it, when you see how cool it looks?
MINTZ-PLASSE: Yeah, of course! I would do it again, in a heartbeat. It was definitely worthwhile.
Why is Craig Gillespie such a good director? What is it about him?
YELCHIN: I don’t know if it’s because he started as an indie director and that indie films represent this freedom, but to a certain extent, he just gave us a lot of room. What I really respect about Imogen is that she’s so free, and Craig embraces freedom to just do whatever you want and make the moments as exciting and interesting as possible. He really let us just do whatever.
POOTS: Yeah, he was really liberal with it. Also, he has a really light energy about him, no matter how dark the subject matter of the day, or if people’s energy was dropping down. You just wanted to do a good job for him, at the end of the day, because he’s a really stellar guy. He’s a beautiful human being.
Was there anything you did that was cut, that you’re hoping makes it onto the DVD?
MINTZ-PLASSE: I think pretty much all the scenes that I shot are in the film. And then, I was not there on set for any of the other stuff that was filmed, so I don’t know what to expect for the DVD. I’m excited to see the full version of “Squid Boy” video that Anton [Yelchin] and I made.