The third section of my set visit featured interviews with people behind the scenes: producer Mike De Luca, producer Alison Rosenzweig and legendary makeup/FX man Howard Berger. A lot of interesting things they had to say. Check it out!
MIKE DE LUCA:
Q: How hard was this project to get off the ground?
MD: This one wasn't hard at all, oddly enough. It got set up, developed, and into production on the inside of seven months I think even, so it this was really fast. Things don't usually go this fast.
Q: Which is a testament to the script obviously, you can only do that with a good script.
MD: Marti's pitch and her script were really galvanizing, it's true. It came really close to...Steven loved it...and everybody goes "Oh My God Steven loved it at DreamWorks." So immediately when that response comes in, all the gates open and the angels come down and the trumpets blare, flowers grow, and we're all off to the races.
Q: What would you say fraction wise, is new and old in the movie?
MD: 25% from the original, 75% new. And most of original has to do with the premise obviously, and certain scenes are straight up homages that are in the movie. But I'd say it's like that kind of ratio.
Q: How did you get Craig (Gillespie)?
MD: Craig was in the lobby at DreamWorks and I think he asked Stacy Snyder "what do you have that you're excited about?" and they started talking about the script. And then I had a subsequent conversation with him. He was, for whatever reason of his own, was coming off a period in his career where he really wanted to explore darker material. He was very influenced and kind of affected by NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and was talking about this kind of pallet and this kind of lighting, and this kind of story content. He was just kind of up for something dark or darker. And again, he thought the script was really good.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the fact you guys are shooting in 3D and what 3D means?
MD: On this one, we thought that with some movies you notice the 3D is more friendly with like a steadicam, or a static camera, because it gives your eyes a chance to adjust. And sometimes with action films it's a challenge to keep the kind of frenetic cutting pattern that you want to keep and not give people nausea. You want people to have the time for their eyes to settle and clock the 3D. And we thought what could be neat with a horror film in 3D is that you're kind of in the frame with the people onscreen, whether you're tracking down a hallway, even though you're moving, you're still. You're not like cutting, cutting, cutting. You have a chance for the 3D to really plant you in the scene. And in horror movies it's all about dread and anticipation, so if you're in that corridor on a steadicam shot as you're moving down the hallway you really feel like you're floating into the movie because of 3D, so when you finally get the "boo" pop-out scare, you're kind of like, we think it can be that much more effective because the 3D plants you in the scene. So we thought 3D might be oddly really well suited for a traditional horror film.
Q: Was there a lot of talk of doing post-conversion or was the idea to shoot in 3D from the onset?
MD: I was campaigning for shooting in 3D because I had just come off shooting in 3D with DRIVE ANGRY, this movie for Summit with Nic Cage and I liked the results a lot. Conversion is a developing art, kind of a developing science and the price is coming down, you know, so when I went into DRIVE ANGRY the conversion was clearly more expensive than shooting in 3D, you know, depending on how you did conversion. I guess there's the CLASH (OF THE TITANS) conversion, and then there's the PIRANHA 3D conversion, but I think the conventional thinking was conversion is more expensive than shooting in 3D when I began DRIVE ANGRY. I'm not so sure when we're through with FRIGHT NIGHT that conversion and shooting won't be more competitive with each other. And conversion also depends on like how much money you're going to spend in terms of people and man hours and the artistry involved. It's picture by picture I guess, like our movie has a pretty restrained budget so it just made more sense to shoot in 3D, and I don't personally know how much you'd have to spend for a great, beautiful conversion on a cost per minute and stuff. It just felt like daunting still, but it may be less daunting after FRIGHT NIGHT comes out. I think that it's equaling out a little bit.
Q: What if 3D simmers down a bit by the time FRIGHT NIGHT hits in late 2011?
MD: I've read all those articles. Because PRIEST, you know this movie I did at Screen Gems is a conversion and I read all these articles about how the sky is falling on 3D, there's been too many crappy ones and the audience is dwindling per screen, like return on the investment and all. But I keep thinking there are so many crappy movies every year and people still go to the movies...like if it's good...I keep thinking if it's good, whether it's 3D or 2D, it'll get an audience. And if it's bad, you know, good 3D won't save a bad movie and vise versa. But maybe that's naive, I hope not, but... Does conceiving the movie in 3D in the storyboarding process add to what kind of shots you want to do? is there more thought that goes into that process? Not really in the storyboarding process, I think after the storyboards are done, and after, on a visual F/X movie after the film is shot-listed for visual F/X, you start to go "oh that would be a good 3D shot or look it's particularly immersive here, or maybe we can do a non-cheesy pop-out thing here. We kind of brought that analysis after the storyboards and the shot-list. I also think the 3D TV in homes and what's happening with videogames also plant the flag for 3D in a way that I don't think it's a flash in the pan.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about trying to bring some of the old cast members back, whether there was talk of it?
MD: I can't talk about it (laughs).
Q: Can you talk about this cast...I mean you have a couple of Brits, an Irishman, an Aussie...why can't Americans act is really what I'm getting at?
MD: That was accidental though...you have to go back to the formation of the WB network and the great acting school that became (laughs).
Q: Just a case of best person for the job or what?
Yeah. I was trying to describe the attempt with this remake, to do, even though this is delusions of grandeur, what Ron Moore did with BATTLE STAR GALACTICA in terms of cheese factor to the original but great in a way, but very serious premise. You know, like human extinction is a very serious premise. Boy trying to make that transition to man with first true love and son of a single parent household, with the mother being the parent...there's a protectiveness where he feels like he's father, husband, boyfriend...it's a very complex transition in adolescence to bear all that responsibility. And right when he's about to fulfill his promise as he's come out of his shell, like he's entering senior year of high-school, he's got his first love, he's cutting cords with the mom, this alpha male moves in next door, much more confident, older, and starts putting the moves on his life...even forgetting the vampire element, like there's a lot of psychological fanatic stuff to play with there and we tried to jack it up to that level. And following that, we wanted a cast that you just know when you hear who they are or see their performances that were treating the premise seriously and mining that premise for scares and appropriate humor and Anton Yelchin is such a great actor and seemed to have gone through a similar transition just in terms of watching his movies, from boy roles to man-boy roles, to heroic man roles he seemed to fit right into our ambition for Charlie.
And also the tone of the picture, because he's done comedy and drama...
Yeah I loved his Chekov (STAR TREK), loved his Kyle Reese also in (TERMINATOR) SALVATION, so that was a no-brainer, and then Colin also, coming off of CRAZY HEART and just different character parts he plays, he's someone with movie-star charisma who's got incredible acting chops and it seemed to be an easy call to think that he could give us a vampire that would distinguish itself from "True Blood" and TWILIGHT. There's so much...there's always been a lot of vampire stuff, since Stoker throughout history, but we seem to be in a particularly heavy cycle at the moment so, you always go "how can we make this fresh" and he seemed like 'well, that's fresh. An actor of his weight to play this version of Jerry Dandridge.' It seemed like the right way to go. And Imogen just blew us away with her audition and she's got such a fresh face, and again, is a really good actress and could deal with the humor. And you know I think you get classically trained actors in genre movies too, and I think sometimes with genre movies you want the bar to suspend disbelief is higher because what's going on onscreen is fantastical so you really need a cast that can ground it in reality in a way that other movies don't have to struggle with to suspend disbelief. And that was our thinking with assembling the cast. We have Christopher Mintz-Plasse, the first Evil Ed is so iconoclastic that I thought we needed someone with almost their own brand of performance to plant the flag on that character, and he brings that.
Q: Why New Mexico? Were there thoughts of going to Louisiana or Michigan or someplace else?
Well the movie is set in Las Vegas, and Las Vegas is just cost prohibitive. And Albuquerque is a perfect stand in just geographically, geologically, geo-something (laughs) for Las Vegas, so that drove that decision. And it's close to home base in L.A., the desert's the desert...it looks like Las Vegas, and they have a Hard Rock.
Q: And can you talk about setting it in Vegas, because Charlie's kind of supposed to be an everyman or every-boy, and Vegas isn't your typical American city?
MD: You know we wanted like a POLTERGEIST level suburb to keep that thing from the original alive, 'Oh this is happening next door'. But Marti, as part of her original pitch, really pitched hard this notion of a nocturnal city. Like having a vampire move into a place where people disappearing at night is not going to get a lot of attention. So we thought that was kind of neat, so we thought we could have our cake and eat it too. Like present the suburbs in a very all American way, but take a side-trip to the world of Peter Vincent and the world of nocturnal predators. Once we committed to making Peter Vincent a magician, Vegas was just logical, like where's he going to have his show, and that was part of the reason for Vegas also. Because a big part of our development in the beginning was there are no local TV horror hosts anymore, so you're left with, is he the author of a series of TWILIGHT books, is he Wesley Snipes from BLADE, who's like fallen on hard times and can't get a job and is he signing autographs at a comic book convention, or is he like a Vegas magician who's fallen on hard times and has dabbled with the occult. And she pitched the Vegas magician thing and we thought it was ingenious so we went with that.
Q: How do you, aside from the audience for the original, market this film with such a glut of vampire movies and TV shows that are out right now?
MD: You know, I think it has to go for it as a horror film, which is why we've kind of embraced the R-rating, at least at this stage. But DreamWorks, the producers and Marti and Craig all discussed that these are weighty themes, there's an overt sexuality and a carnality to Colin's interpretation of Jerry and it just felt like if the movie is marketed as the 'grab your boyfriend's arm during the scares' kind of go-for-the-throat horror movie, then it can really distinguish itself from the softer, TWILIGHT base which is younger, but it seems silly to go head to head with that franchise. It's so different, I mean the movies are so different, this felt it skewed older. And if you're going to go older, we just wanted to go for it.
Q: How does Peter Vincent factor into Charlie's growth and arc through this film? Because in the original, he's somebody Charlie can relate to and looks to as an icon.
MD: In this movie, Charlie's more embarrassed that he even has to go get help from someone like Peter Vincent, so it's more of an uneasy alliance. The core relationship of the movie is Charlie's friendship with Ed. And how Charlie feels like he let Ed down by not believing him. Like the boy who cried wolf element of the original really belongs to Ed now, as kind of a first act thing. And Charlie gets involved because he feels responsible for not listening to Ed. And Ed was saying, we should go to Peter Vincent. He's done research in this area, he's got a past with this. So it's more of an opposites-attract kind of thing.
Q: Can you describe how you're approaching the action and F/X as far as using practical F/X where possible, or how much you'll be using CGI?
MD: We've taken a real practical approach. Craig and we agreed that you get a better sense of a reality base if you do things as much as you can practical. There's just a weight to practical F/X, you just feel like you're watching something, even though it's fantastical, I know it's real, it's sitting there and I know it's not all CGI. I like in horror films when there's a heavy use of practical F/X with CG enhancement, and the line between the two are seamless. So we're going for that approach.
Q: What can we expect from KNB's lineup this time, in terms of we haven't seen before, or maybe have seen?
MD: I think they really rose to the occasion. The mission statement was, look we know you guys did FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, we know you've seen every vampire movie under the sun, how can we be different? And I think that there concept of Jerry's vamping out being a function of his temper. How angry he is or how hungry he is and pegging it to his emotions. I think that they had an original beginning for their design based on that axiom, and I think their makeup and makeup F/X for Jerry and Evil Ed are different than what they've done before and different that what we're seeing on "True Blood" and TIWLIGHT. So they were given the really hard assignment of making it fresh, which is easy for all of us to say, you know we say that and don't do anything until they come back with sketches. And they did it, they made it really fresh.
Q: We saw in the Peter Vincent banner, Hard Rock plays a big part in the story, did you guys go after them and say we want to use you or did you sort of talk to a bunch of hotels, is anyone putting money for it or just are you just using the name?
MD: Am I a bad person, I don't know. I actually don't know the answer to that. I think when you're in Albuquerque, there was no other choice than Hard Rock. And they must of said yes because we're sitting here. I don't know if we got any money, I hope we did. If we did, it didn't come to me.
Q: Evil Ed has a couple of iconic one-liners from the original, are those going to be in this?
MD: Yes. "You're so cool, Brewster" is in there.
Q: If this is a hit and you get a sequel...werewolves?
MD: You know, I don't...I'm so werewolfed out from this season of "True Blood" and I'm always disappointed with onscreen werewolves, except for THE HOWLING in a weird way, there's something about CG werewolves that I'm like yeah, somebody spent a lot of money there didn't they (laughs). And I think I have this theory, like werewolves are who you're married to anyway at home, you want to go out and get a vampire to fuck you because that's really sexy and romantic. I don't think werewolves the pull in the genre that vampires have. So, the whole 'monster of the week' approach to the sequels, God willing if we ever get to sequels, I'm suspect of. Because I also think the audience votes in a weird way, like if the first one's a hit you know what people are liking and not liking, they may like what we have. You just don't know until the audience votes they're likes and dislikes.
Q: Given the title of the film is so related to the original Peter Vincent character, did you ever consider calling it something other than FRIGHT NIGHT?
MD: No, we backed into it...it's such a good title, it's such a fun, catchy title. We knew it was a little bit of a stretch though the way we shoehorned it in right now, but we're hoping that it works. Like when I did RUSH HOUR at New Line, there's no real relevance but we got away with it somehow, so I'm hoping for the same thing here.
Q: So is FRIGHT NIGHT the name of the new Peter Vincent's magic show?
MD: Yeah, that's how we shoehorned it in (laughs).
[in the makeup trailer for Fright Night. Howard Berger]
The first thing about Fright Night that really attracted me was that I love the original movie, and always have. I thought it was super-cool when I saw it when I was younger, and I still think it's super-cool. So when I heard this movie was coming up I called Dreamworks and said, "I have to be on this movie, end of discussion." And they said "OK." That was easy!
So K&B, myself and Greg Nicotero were hired. I'd done all the research on Craig Gillespie and realized that he had no prior history of killing or murder or bloodage, but he's a really excellent filmmaker who could definitely bring a different feel to the movie. There was no cast signed, so we were kind of designing blindly.
The first thing, once Craig was brought onand it was interesting when talking to execs at Dreamworks; they were thinking that this was not a big makeup movie. More like, you know, "maybe we'll do lenses and fangs and pale them down." And I said, "I don't think that's a Fright Night movie, but OK, we'll entertain that thought for a minute."
Then when Craig came on, and Mike De Luca, one of our exec producers who's probably a bigger Fright Night fanboy than myself, he said, "no, there's tons of makeup and monsters in this movie." Thank goodness! So we started doing preliminary design work for Jerry Dandridge, and we originally had ten stages of makeup. We pared that down a little bit, got it to about six stages of makeup on Colin Farrell. We started designing on generic faces, and we'd have weekly presentations for Craig. We started to work on concepts for Evil Ed and for Jerry, and as things went along we started to narrow it down. This is how the teeth work, we like this look for the eyes.
Nowadays moviemaking is pretty much a giant committee. There are a hundred people that have to make decisions, but what was nice about this was, at the beginning, Craig really was the guy. All art went to Craig, he picked the stuff he loved and then we presented it to the studio, Steven Spielberg and all the other guys and finally everybody gave a thumbs-up in the direction we were going in.
So behind you are five of the concepts that we had done for Colin. That's pretty faithful to what we ended up with. Once we got hold of Colin's cast we knew what direction we wanted to go in, and so the big things were: we wanted to start subtle, and build and build and build on that until we got into a full-scale creature, which is that fifth stage with the big crazy ears and veins and all that stuff.
What's neat about Craig's concept was that it wasn't just "he becomes a creature and wanders around the streets" and has that goofy awkward 'big monster roaming around giving dialogue,' approach, which never ever works. Craig's thought was that it was all adrenaline-based. Jerry flares up, it's an anger and adrenaline that forces him into these different stages. And it comes on real quick it's very *flashes in, flashes out.* It's fun, and the stages bounce all over the place.
It was originally very planned out, we were very meticulous about what the stages were in which scenes. And then once we'd get to set it would be "maybe this should be stage one. No, let's do stage point-5." And then Colin might say, "I think I want to wear fingernails in this scene. maybe the stage four teeth and the stage one eyes." And I'm thinking, well, now there are a thousand stages, but OK. So we'd bring everything to set with us so we were prepared for Craig and Colin's spontenaity.
Colin Farrell, has become one of my all-time fave actors to work on now. Hes just a fantastic guy, he's really into it, there's never any issue, he hops into the chair and feels like it's Halloween every day. He comes in and plays with stuff. There was one night where I grabbed the teeth case, opened it up and the teeth were gone. I thought, "oh, no, I lost the teeth somewhere! Shit. Grab the backup pair." (We have tons of backup stuff.) I get to set and tell Colin, "I think I lost your hero teeth." and he says, "no, I'm wearing them! I came into the trailer and took 'em and put them in."
Christopher Mintz-Plasse is our Evil Ed, and the perfect choice to play that part. He's got two stages, well really three including the neck gash thing. And we keep trying to pump up the bloodage on this movie, too. It's the first film where Craig has ever had blood on set. So the first blood gag we did K&B and myself said, "I think there needs to be more," and he was saying, "it's too much, it's too much!" And now he's kind of getting into the 'blood' of it all and we're able to do bigger. We did a gag a couple weeks ago where we brought out the big fire extinguisher full of blood and charged it up to about 100psi, put five gallons of blood in there, and we used it all up. There was blood everywhere, blood up Colin's nose, in everything. "This is what we're talking about!"
So whenever blood comes up, Douglas [Noe, key makeup artist] always says "go big or go home." Craig will say he just wants a trickle of blood and... I don't think that's possible! We did a blood gag the other day on the Doris character [played by Emily Montague], tons of blood! Craig's like, "it's a little bloody! Maybe just a trickle?" And we just... we kinda made a trickle, but everybody was still pretty covered in blood.
So back to the Evil Ed makeup. There are three stages, and about six stages on Jerry. And Imogen, who plays Amy, Mike De Luca wanted it to be very faithful to the original Amy makeup, the big 'Dr. Sardonicus' thing, so we've got a new concept using that original thought process and concept.
We're trying to also do very little digital on this movie. I think there are only 100 digital shots. That's unheard-of. That number will probably grow, as well all know, but right now we're trying to do everything as practical as possible, or do a mix. For instance, on Amy, it will be a mix. You can see a design for Amy right there, that big mouth, it's a full appliance piece -- everything on the show is silicone appliances -- and her whole interior mouth will be digital. It won't be like the original film where there was kind of teeth glued to the outside of her face. (Although that was still super-cool and she could do a lot of things with it.)
This time, Craig really wants that mouth to open up wide, and she can really open tht appliance up wide, and we want rows and rows of teeth, all in her mouth, going down her throat, all that stuff. So that will all be done digitally, and will be one of the few things where there is digital augmentation. And also, going back to Colin in the fifth stage, the whole mouth is digital as well. We left the teeth sculpted in there, as a point of reference for the digital guys, but the entire interior of Colin's mouth and face will all be painted green on the inside, and that will all be digitally augmented, a whole throat and mouth.
We're also talking about spreading his eyes apart a little bit, and maybe in the fourth stage as well, doing a little spreading and widening in the eyes and mouth, that's how we designed it. That's going to be a decision when they get into post, maybe a budgetary issue, we'll see.
[Points out Evil Ed design with no eyebrows.]
This is an early concept design on Chris; we wanted to add eyebrows, to pull it closer to Chris. That's the big thing about all these makeups, even though they get broad at some point, we always want to maintain the essence of the actor, be it Colin or Christopher or Imogen, it's really, really important.
And again, all the pieces on this show are silicone appliances. The thing we learned about silicone is: instead of doing a lot of little pieces that overlap, we cast it that way and found we had movement problems and it inhibited some expression. So we ended up doing big, giant pieces, which was kind of ballsy. Like, for this fourth stage makeup which is just really huge, it's one big giant piece. When we sculped that at K&B some thought "we're going to break that down, right?" I'm like, no, we're going to do all one piece and see how it works. and it did work out really well. It was really easy to apply.
Our makeups are averaging about an hour and a half to two hours, as far as the prosthetics go, and there are also hands, finger extensions, they're all silicone as well. And we have these 3D transfers, they're a bit like 2D tattoo transfers, but they're sculpted, we have all these veins and stuff. We have these boxes of these veins, it's really easy, and we colored that material so there's very little paint work that has to happen and they're still maintaining this level of translucency.
That was a big thing, too, that the studio wanted. On the first design pass they kept saying they wanted them to be translucent and they didn't want to have to go the route from I Am Legend and end up having huge digital augmentation, basically replacing everything. Since we were using silicone and found that barely coloring the silicone and doing a lot of underpainting and things like that and being subtle with the paint work we were able to achieve that level of translucency. I think this is one of the first times where vampire veins have been done that are pretty out there and have that translucency and organic feeling the studio really wanted. It was nice when we presented the first test on Colin and they said, ok, that worry is set aside.
And, agian, it's a giant makeup show, which is lovely. There are very few gags, meaning we don't have a lot of people getting ripped to shreds, chopped up, body parts and blood spraying. There is enough of that to make the audience happy and little enough to make me happy that I'm not getting drenched in blood every day.
On Douglas's department as well, it's a big makeup show. One of the biggest makeups he has to do is on David Tennant. Want to talk about that?
David Tennant is Peter Vincent and Craig wanted him to look completely different [from the previous version]. In reality Peter Vincent is a washed-up drunkard, but as far as his stage persona is concerned, he's got facial hair, the eyeliner, tattoos, it's a whole different thing. I don't want to spoil anything, but there's definitely a reveal, and you see him for who he is. There's a lot going on with David Tennant as far as his stage persona.
I think [David] wanted to lend an element of patheticism to the character, so that you feel for this guy. You get to see this character come around. He's terrified; sure he's Peter Vincent the big vampire killer, but the reality is he's terrified.
[Howard Berger, asked about the use or lack of really big monsters in the movie]
There are monsters and creatures in it, but Craig is really keeping this reality-based. That's part of the unnerving aspect of it, I think, is that everything is very real and feels really real. I think if we went into the giant monsters it would move out of that universe, and pull you out...it would be a different movie.
Q: What was the genesis of the remake?
AR: My partner Michael Gaeta and I [are] huge fans of the original. And we had been tracking the rights for a number of years and just sort of lying in wait until they became available.
Q: It must have been a challenge. It bounced around.
AR: It did. It was at Sony originally, and we were getting the impression that that probably wasn’t going to move forward. So…we were just waiting. And just calling the rights holder every couple months, just letting her know that we wanted the rights when they became available.
Q: What made it so appealing to you?
AR: That’s a great question. For us it’s the perfect kind of movie to remake, because we felt like we could use the new technology to sort of exploit what was done in the ‘80s and modernize it. And I think hopefully…we’re accomplishing that.
Q: [Hard to hear question about balancing the horror and the comedy]
AR: I mean, I’ve always seen it as a horror/comedy. We were so fortunate to get Marti Noxon, who as you all know is a ‘Buffy’ person. So she really got that tone right. I mean, I wonder if the original – I’ve never talked to anybody involved in the original – but I’ve always wondered, were they aware of the tongue-in-cheek aspects or not? But to me, you know, that’s what it was.
There was definitely an awareness. Roddy McDowall said so in an interview.
So that’s cool. But yes, we’ve always thought of it as a horror/comedy and we were just lucky enough to get the perfect writer who was able to realize that.
Q: Can you talk about bringing Craig in to direct? This is kind of his first time working in the horror genre. What was it about him? Obviously it had something to do with ‘Lars and the Real Girl’.
AR: For me, that was one of my favorite movies of that year, in fact possibly in the last five years. You know what, ultimately this is a character-driven movie. I realize it’s also a drama movie. But you know, we’ve made a great effort to really work on the characters and make it a coming-of-age movie. And Craig has a real sensitivity with characters and with actors and it became immediately apparent when he came in to interview with all of us that he was the guy. He also…it was Stacy Snider’s idea to bring him in. He has a great relationship with them from his ‘United States of Tara’ work, so…but I mean, it was crystal clear he was the guy when he came in. Just very articulate, and great with characters, and since that’s one of the things we wanted to concentrate on in the remake…
Q: I’ve heard this is a bit more violent and vicious than the ‘Twilight’ type stuff. Is this definitely gonna be ‘R’-rated?
AR: I mean, I wouldn’t say anything is definite. But it’s…
Q: I mean, is it pretty gory?
AR: It’s going to be fairly bloody, I would say. I mean, we’ll have the option of not going completely that way, but I think we’re all thinking ‘edgy’ for sure.
Q: Can you talk about some of the development ideas that you guys had before landing Marti? Was there a possibility where you were just gonna scrap the original story altogether and develop something fresh? Because at one point I know Sony just wanted to do it in name only.
Q: Can you just talk about some of the ideas you guys had brewing?
That was never what we intended. I mean, we had always…I believe, though – you know, I cannot speak categorically because I wasn’t at Sony, I wasn’t the producer there on this – but my impression from what the rights holders have told me, they were developing it as a straight horror. You know, very much a serious, straight sort of slasher horror. That was never what we had intended. I mean, we – again – loved the original, always thought of sort of a horror-comedy. So what was incredibly important to us was to get the right writer who could get that tone. We love the original, so we definitely wanted to pay homage to the original. And I think we do that. We definitely keep scenes the same, and I think the intent is the same, just we’re going to get the opportunity to use all these new technologies that we all have access to now to enhance all of that.
Q: Looking back on it, the original is fairly bold in that it explored some things you didn’t typically find in the mid-‘80s…there’s a gay subtext, for example. You talk about edgy. Can you talk about how this film might take it to the next level, or maintain an edginess for the 21st century?
AR: I don’t recall the original as being particularly violent, but more sort of implied, if you will. You know, we’re definitely modernizing it in that way. I mean, you know, we’re all pretty desensitized, I think these days. And you know, we’re aware of that as filmmakers and we’re taking it to the next level in that regard, so…does that answer your question?
Q: The first film also had the advantage in that vampire movies weren’t that big yet…’The Lost Boys’ was a couple years away. They had the market to themselves. Now there are vampire movies everywhere. How do you respond to that challenge? How do you work to distinguish this film from the pack?
AR: Forgive me for repeating myself, but I do think that this is sort of the next iteration, if you will. I mean, it’s definitely the anti-‘Twilight’. I mean, Jerry the vampire is…I mean, he’s certainly sexy, but he’s not a romantic…anybody’s romantic ideal. You know, he’s a violent predator. So…also, the fact that it’s a horror-comedy. Again…it’s not ‘Twilight’. It’s a scary, very frightening movie that happens to also be funny, I think.
Q: Did you consider bringing in any of the old cast at all?
AR: Um…we had talked about it.
Q: Can you elaborate?
AR: No. [Laughter]
Q: Talk about the cast that you have assembled.
AR: I mean, Colin was always our first choice. He’s amazing as an actor, he looks incredible in the movie, he’s definitely Jerry the vampire. And you know, Anton too…I mean, we just, we’ve gotten very fortunate. I think one of the wonderful things about having Craig is that he, in addition to having a wonderful script, he attracts great actors. So we were able to get these wonderful actors that you wouldn’t normally see in a genre movie. So hopefully, if we’re lucky, that’ll elevate it. We did cast a wide net for the Amy role, and we were lucky enough to find Imogen. She and Anton have a great chemistry together. And Chris Mintz-Plasse was just like…wow. I mean, we just got lucky that he wanted to do this, so…
Q: How closely do the characters stick to the originals? Obviously there’s quite a reinvention of Peter Vincent. So is there some of that with the other characters, or are they a little more close to the original thing?
AR: I mean, we’ve definitely been aware that it needed to be modernized, so I think that this, for instance, Peter Vincent character makes it feel more modern and much more youthful. I loved Roddy in the original, but there was definitely sort old-fashioned kind of feeling to his character. So I think all the characters, we’re just trying to make them, in terms of the Anton character, relatable and sort of current.
Q: Can you talk about David Tennant’s casting? Because he’s not at all like the character of Dr. Who. Was there some question as to whether or not he was right for this role? Because he really looks like he’s going against type, or at least his public persona.
AR: His audition was unbelievable. He’s an incredibly good actor. And again, he brings sort of a zeitgeist feeling to it. So the combination was irresistible.
Q: The original had a lot of practical effects in it. How much in this one is practical and how much is CG?
AR: I mean, I think we’re doing a decent amount of both. But you know, again, please forgive me for repeating myself – why not exploit the amazing technology that we have right now? And that’s sort of…it’s irresistible.
Q: [Hard to hear question about the reason for shooting in 3-D]
AR: Um, it was Steven Spielberg’s idea. I think it’s a great idea. We’re shooting it in 3-D. So I think hopefully it’s going to be better than what the audience has perhaps come to expect. Everything’s looking incredible, and I think it’s going to give it that sense of ‘you’re there’ and immediacy that’s hopefully going to make it a really visceral ride for everybody.
Q: [Hard to hear question about envisioning this as a franchise]
AR: I mean, as a producer I’m always thinking [that]. [Laughter] And as my mother would say, I should be so lucky. [Laughs]
FRIGHT NIGHT opens August 19th.