As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve been posting a lot of Fright Night stuff this afternoon. It’s because DreamWorks has finally released a trailer, and last week I got to watch about twenty minutes of the movie and the studio has lifted the embargo.
In addition to everything else, shortly after watching the footage, I got to sit down with director Craig Gillespie and Colin Ferrell for a roundtable interview. They explained why they wanted to make the movie, what were the most important things from the original film that they wanted to bring to the remake, do we get to see Jerry’s (Farrell) back story, the look of the film, and a lot more. Hit the jump to either read or listen to our conversation.
As usual, I’m offering two ways to get the interview: you can either click here for the audio or the full transcript is below. Fright Night 3D gets released this August. You can also watch my video interview with Ferrell and Gillespie from CinemaCon here. It’s where the image at the top of this article was taken.
Question: Disney/DreamWorks has been doing a lot of press for this. How has that been for you guys to be talking so much about your movie?
Colin: I haven’t said a word all day- this guy won’t shut the fuck up.
Craig: I feel like it’s been all with you (revealed?). I don’t feel like it’s been that long because we did the Cinema Con and now this.
Colin: This is more of lead than I’ve ever done.
Craig: I feel like, because the trailer hasn’t come out yet I feel like we’re actually holding back a little.
Can you talk about trying to appeal to a more sophisticated vampire audience than clearly the original was? You have to make changes in order to reach these people so can talk about how you addressed that?
Craig: It’s funny, I don’t really know what a sophisticated vampire audience is.
I guess people are more used to vampires now .
Craig: Yeah. What attracted me to the script other than obviously the tone, which was this great blend of horror and comedy, is the way that Marti wrote the vampire was so refreshing and just goes back to the idea that he’s a monster. He’s a predator, he’s a sexual predator and I think that something that has been lost track of recently. It’s become much more about the romance and there’s no real threat to them. I actually like the reality of thinking about this being as a predator and how he would exist, how he would get around, and that’s almost in the realms of a sexual predator or a serial killer. Those aspects come in and sort of ground him that way.
Colin (INTERRUPTS): I didn’t hear a word you just said.
Craig: Actually, I used your answer.
Colin: Really? Carry on. Ask another question, he just answered it.
The idea of a vampire predator- how appealing is that for you? We’ve gone away from that recently .
Colin: Initially, less appealing to me than the idea of a vampire that is drawn by some misgiving or drawn by some sense of longing that he can’t quite satiate. The Mina character in Dracula, and how even when she didn’t exist and he wasn’t aware of her in the world, he was looking for her. She was always that thing that he was searching for. I was drawn to that notion of a vampire and not as a romantic icon. Then when I read this script, I loved the script. I loved the original and I didn’t want to like this script but I liked it so I was like “Balls.” And I met him (Craig) and I liked him so I was “Double Balls” then. The vampire was designed in a very specific way as he said, as a sexual predator, a survivalist, as kind of the ultimate example of carnivorous existence. Someone that reactions without compunction or remorse or even contemplation and it was less appealing to me than the kind of vampire initially designed. I found him kind of oppressive so I asked “does he have to pick her up in the night club?” “can we not have the seduction anymore?” “can we do this, can we do that?” and two weeks into the film, Craig was like “Colin, you’re fighting the wrong fights.” You address what’s in the script but bring something new to it and so I had to engage myself with this animal, this beast and then after deliberation, I started to enjoy walking around in his shoes, engaging with that cruel sense of power that Jerry carries with himself throughout the whole film. He so gets off on his own power and also, he’s really bored. He’s bored and he’s so sick of these fucking humans because they’re so dull and he needs them to feed. And if he can get some sport out of them, that’s all well and good. Then Charlie shows himself to be a worthy adversary and that’s where the game kind of takes off into a world of its own because there are some things that Jerry does in this film that really aren’t smart- I mean, they aren’t smart if you’re really trying to not draw attention to yourself. So I came to the realization that he’s just quite bored after 400 years of living in solitary and cyclical existence with daily repetition.
I just wanted to ask real quick…can the two of you talk about what are the most important things from the original film that you wanted to bring into this one? You know, maybe compare and contrast, something you wanted to modernize, things like that?
Colin: Me, the one thing I wanted to have in the film was the apple because of Chris Sarandon’s attachment to the apple, chewing the apple. I didn’t have a watcher in this and Chris’s Jerry does. Or a lover or whatever have you. The apple was the only thing I wanted to do as a nod of the head to Chris.
Craig: And we started talking to Chris and found out that was something he had conceived with Tom when they were working on the character. So I wanted to incorporate the fruit as well. There’s a lot to the structure of this one that pays homage to the original with certain set pieces like the night club we revisit and obviously the idea of the vampire next door and not believing it, but then coming to believe it. So it was good to keep that all that and feature those aspects, but at the end of the day, our version was rewritten to be quite a different piece .
Did you go back and look at Christopher Lee movies and all that to figure out what you did want to do and what you didn’t?
Colin: I mean, not really. I’ve seen Christopher Lee’s work and I’ve seen Bela Lugosi’s work and I’ve seen the cast from Near Dark, The Lost Boys, the Eastern European film Vampyr and Nosferatu and I was really a fan of vampire films. I did go back and watch Fright Night about a month before shooting and I was asking myself “what are we doing? This is so good.” But as I said, I was initially I felt oppressed playing this kind of vampire but I was liberated because he was designed so predatorily, it was so liberating playing him this way. I didn’t really go back into all that stuff though, I mean I remember a lot of it because it’s in the back of my head somewhere- like certain things. Everyone, as soon as Christopher Mintz-Plasse got his fangs, as soon as I got my fangs, we’re going about doing (bears his fangs) and there are just certain things you see in films that are instinctual.
I noticed in the footage we saw that the scenes where Charley is going through Jerry’s house, we kind of see his office…do we touch a little bit on his backstory at all or are you guys just alluding to it but not really talking about it? And is he gonna have a crazy sister that pops up in a sequel?
Colin: We do allude to it a little bit. There was something we came up with that will probably piss some of the old fans off and maybe some will like it but it’s something to do with the relationship between Jerry and David Tennant’s character Peter Vincent. There is something we alluded to in history that is shared between them that wasn’t in the original. David Tennant even talks a bit about Jerry and where he comes from and what line of vampire he is because there are different strains. What Eastern European or Mediterranean line Jerry’s from that takes us back to Greece around 1642 and we go from there. Literally, I had this idea of Jerry being at Versailles and drinking in drawing rooms in London with some great poets, kicking his knees up with Arthur Rimbaud in Paris. And he gets to explore that idea of “wow, what if you were a vampire traveling around and living for over 400 years?”
Can you guys talk a little bit- hypothetically speaking if anyone of us were on set- there was a really cool crane shot in a club, but could you sort of talk about the way you guys wanted to shoot the film, the way you wanted to make it look?
Craig: First of all, Javier Aguirresarobe who was our DP he did The Others, which was great, he did The Road, he did the last two Twilight movies- he’s done 54 movies. He did an incredible job with a lot of soft lighting that is gorgeous. But then we’re obviously shooting in 3D and part of that that attracted me was that we’re in a real world where you’ve got two guys standing in a kitchen. So to shoot that in 3D, it feels like you were in that space and you start look around, it starts to feel imposing and threatening. We really wanted to do that and not take people out of it by having 3D, but rather have them feeling like they’re right there in that room, it just started to have this sense of foreboding to it. Then, the thing with 3D as well is you’ve got to keep the camera moving or you don’t get the sense of space so it almost takes you back to this more classic way of filmmaking. It’s a very composed, classical framing- you know, you can’t do handheld because it’s too heavy and you start to get sick if the camera moves too quickly. So it lends itself to a more traditional way of filmmaking.
Craig: We are very close to being done. Just a few weeks away. Getting the final F/X shots, composing, and scoring. It’s good. It’s coming along.
Have you decided what you’re bringing to Comic Con?
Craig: No. (laughs)
Colin: Me. Maybe (laughs).