Monday, 29 August 2011

Coming Soon: Coriolanus

Lionsgate UK presents

CORIOLANUS

UK RELEASE DATE: 20 JANUARY 2012


Directed by Ralph Fiennes

Starring
Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Cox, Jessica Chastain, James Nesbitt

Official Facebook Page:

YouTube Link:


CORIOLANUS is the explosive directorial debut of Ralph Fiennes, which premiered to great acclaim earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival. Set against the backdrop of a republic caught up in a long and bitter war, Fiennes’s CORIOLANUS is a tense and timeless thriller based around power broking, political manipulation and the arguments and prejudices of opposing social extremes.

Caius Martius “Coriolanus” (Ralph Fiennes), a feared Roman General is at odds with the city of Rome and his fellow citizens. Pushed by his controlling and ambitious mother “Volumnia” (Vanessa Redgrave) to seek the exalted and powerful position of Consul, he is loath to ingratiate himself with the masses whose votes he needs in order to secure the office. When the public refuse to support him, Coriolanus’s anger prompts a riot which culminates in his expulsion from Rome. The banished hero then allies himself with his sworn enemy “Tullus Aufidius” (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city.

Mixing the classical and the contemporary, CORIOLANUS retains Shakespeare’s language, but boldy combines it with modern technology and a contemporary environment, to enhance the visceral quality of the original story. Shot in Belgrade, Serbia, CORIOLANUS reunites Fiennes with cinematographer Barry Ackroyd and sound mixer Ray Beckett following their BAFTA and Oscar success with The Hurt Locker. Joining Fiennes, Butler and Redgrave is fellow stage and screen veteran Brian Cox (as Coriolanus’s political mentor “Menenius”) alongside Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life) as Coriolanus’s wife “Virgilia”, and James Nesbitt (Bloody Sunday) as a conspiratorial politician, “Sicinius”.

CORIOLANUS is produced by Fiennes along with Gabrielle Tana (The Duchess), Julia Taylor-Stanley (The Tempest), Colin Vaines (The Young Victoria) and writer John Logan (BAFTA and Oscar nominee for Gladiator and The Aviator), who has adapted Shakespeare’s historical tragedy for the screen.

CORIOLANUS will be released by Lionsgate UK on 20 January 2012.

Running time: 123 mins / Certificate: 15

Movie Review: Fright Night

"If you haven’t seen the original, and love the vampire genre but gravitate towards the True Blood style vamps instead of the Twilight vamps then this is for you. It’s fun, it’s frantic. Go see it"

My review of Fright Night (2011) is up:  http://www.flash-bang-movie-reviews.com/fright_night.html
It opens in the UK, later this week.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

DVD/Blu-Ray Review: The Beaver


“Everyone likes a train wreck, especially one they’re not in”

Directed By Jodie Foster
Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Riley Thomas Stewart, Cherry Jones
Synopsis:
An executive deals with his spiralling mental illness by adopting a beaver hand puppet as his sole means of communicating.
Review:
I have a lot of history with Mel Gibson, in that I’ve followed his career from the very beginning. He’s starred in at least two of my favourite all time films; Mad Max 2 and Lethal Weapon. I used to have lively “debates” with my Dad about the quality of Gibson’s acting. I would always be on the defensive, pointing out scenes of worth, like the “suicide” scene in Lethal Weapon and Gibson’s incredible performance of a guy that really looks as if he’s going to pull that trigger. My Dad would always counter with the wide eyed acting in the second “suicide” scene; “Do you really wanna jump? Well, do ya?”. Mel Gibson’s performance in The Beaver is his best yet. There was a danger that an actor in this role would go overboard, but Mel never does.
Sadly, many reviews for The Beaver seem to be concerned with Gibson’s off-screen issues - you know the whole "Mad Mel goes nuts on the phone" thing. I’m reviewing a movie here, not a star’s personal life. If you want that, read The National Enquirer.
I’ll be honest with you, when I first learnt of this project, I was stunned; was Mel Gibson really going to return to acting with this story? What a gamble, after his success at directing. When I saw the film, I could see that it was the perfect role for any actor, but it was a role crafted for Gibson. What is mainly interesting for me is the way in which the film has as much to do with the rest of Walter Black’s family as it has to do with Walter. So, whilst Walter is the main character, the parallel story about his son Porter, played by Anton Yelchin, is just as interesting.
Yelchin turns in another great performance as a son that looks upon his father with fear, fear that he might turn out exactly the same. This fear manifests itself when Porter writes down all the character traits that he and his father share, on a number of post-it labels. Porter has a sense of empathy that allows him to get in his fellow class mate’s heads and writes schoolwork for them in a style that emulates the pupil. This comes to a head when he is approached by head cheerleader Norah, played by Jennifer Lawrence. Up until this point, Porter has seen Norah as unattainable and unapproachable, but Norah hides her own secret. Their relationship is hampered not only by his father, but Porter’s brutally honest appraisal of what a person is burying in their psyche. Sometimes, an honest and forthright opinion is not welcome. Whilst watching the end of the story arc between Porter and Norah, I saw Norah as another Meredith. The direction of the scene was exemplary.
Jodie Foster plays the long suffering wife and mother, Meredith. Foster plays her with just the right amount of nuanced reactions that reflects a woman that has tried to make do but has now found the final straw in the form of a hand puppet and her husband’s willingness to talk through it. Foster has a couple of exceptional scenes with Gibson that highlight the tragic nature of Black’s illness.
Gibson’s scenes with Riley Thomas Stewart (who plays his younger son Henry) are amongst the most heart-warming in the movie and might cause a tear or two. Even when Black is communicating through the Beaver, the performance is natural and entertaining. It is through the Beaver that Black starts to try to mend his relationships and that begins with his younger son. I particularly took to the scene where they are crafting a piece of woodwork together. The change in Walter’s personality has achieved so much in so little time.
There’s a melancholic sadness that permeates The Beaver, that you may or may not feel. Foster never over-sentimentalises the subject matter, but there are gestures and lines that get across the truly tragic nature of the character. I felt a foreboding as we learn that Walter’s Father committed suicide through his deep depressions, for example. Comedy often precedes sadness, especially during the scenes of the Blacks attempt to celebrate their wedding anniversary. 
The character of the Beaver itself, whose voice sounds a little like a mix of Mark Sheppard, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone and Mel Gibson, could have inadvertently belittled and mocked the subject of mental illness, but this never happens. The reactions of the staff of the toy company best reflect the feelings of the audience; that we buy into Black’s “performance” because what is being said is believable and workable. Ok, so the guy has his fist up a Beaver toy (that sounds ruder than I meant it to be) but he talks sense and, initially, the company reaps the reward of his outlook.

Despite my open mind to this story, some of it doesn’t quite make sense. Meredith’s solution to run off and leave Walter seems callous and dangerous when the next step should have been to have Walter taken into care or at the very least to have him looked after and counselled by the guy that Walter was already supposed to have been seeing. The scenes in the last act resemble similar scenes in Evil Dead 2, when Bruce Campbell’s Ash has a possessed hand that takes over and hurts him. Walter’s solution is the same as Ash’s and eventually leads to a nice neat ending that isn’t too forced but is warm and convenient.


I can’t help but speculate what kind of movie this would have been had either Steve Carrell or Jim Carrey starred in it. I’d guess that the tone would have been lighter and the mental illness factor been more superficial. Both actors have proven that they’re more than capable of playing straight roles but Gibson nails the part so well, I’m glad that he took it on board.
Summary:
There are few movies that have the stones to tackle mental illness in such a way that it treats it with respect whilst entertaining the viewer. The only other movie that comes close, in my view, is Rain Man. They’re two entirely different movies but both share a common aspect; great acting, direction and writing. This is Mel Gibson at his very best and it is a terrible shame that his personal life overshadowed this movie. I think of it as a must-see movie, although I appreciate that the subject matter and how it appears is not everyone’s idea of how a fun night in with a movie should be.
Score: 9/10

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Fright Night (2011) Q&As

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.

DreamWorks Pictures presents “Fright Night,” directed by Craig Gillespie and produced by Michael De Luca and Alison Rosenzweig, with a screenplay by Marti Noxon and story by Tom Holland, based on the film “Fright Night,” written by Tom Holland. The film will be released on August 19, 2011 in the US, with a UK release of September 2nd.

What follows is a series of Q&As with the cast and director. A review of this movie is due on the Flash-Bang Action Movie Reviews website on or around 29th August 2011. It's a lot of fun and I look forward to sharing my view of the movie with you.


COLIN FARRELL & CRAIG GILLESPIE Q & A

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.

Farrell was recently seen in “Ondine” for Irish director Neil Jordan, which revolves around an Irish fisherman who discovers a woman he thinks is a mermaid. His other films include Gavin O’Conner’s “Pride and Glory,” Woody Allen’s “Cassandra’s Dream,” “Miami Vice,” Oliver Stone’s “Alexander,” Terrence Malick’s “The New World,” “Ask the Dust,” based on the novel by John Fante, “The Recruit” with Al Pacino, “A Home at the End of the World,” based on the Michael Cunningham novel and Joel Schumacher’s “Phone Booth” and “Tigerland.” He also appeared in “Minority Report,” “Daredevil,” “American Outlaws,” “S.W.A.T.” and “Intermission.”

Born and raised in Castleknock, in the Republic of Ireland, Farrell is the son of former football player Eamon Farrell and nephew of Tommy Farrell. Both Tommy and Eamon played for the Irish Football Club, Shamrock Rovers, in the 1960s.

It was Farrell’s early teenage ambition to follow in his father and uncle’s footsteps. His interest soon turned toward acting, however, and he joined the Gaiety School of Drama in Dublin. Before completing his course, Farrell landed a starring role in Dierde Purcell’s miniseries “Falling for a Dancer,” a starring role in the BBC series “Ballykissangel” and a featured role in Tim Roth’s directorial debut, “The War Zone.”

Farrell currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.

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.

Gillespie resides in Los Angeles.


Q:  Colin, what attracted you to this project?

A:  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.


Q:     What attracted you to this project, Craig?

A:       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:  Did you consciously try to bring a sense of humor into the role, Colin?

A: 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?

A:  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 cruelty.


Q:  Was it obvious at the beginning that you would shoot this film in 3-D?

A:  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.



CRAIG GILLESPIE Q & A

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.

Gillespie resides in Los Angeles.


Q:  How was it different working on something like “Lars and the Real Girl,” which is a relatively small film, and “Fright Night”?

A:  I really liked what Marti Noxon was able to achieve in her script because it has such a great a mix of horror and humor, but on a much bigger scale and canvas than “Lars and the Real Girl.” I like to create a tone in my work that an audience has to participate in. I want them to have to make a choice about whether or not they think it’s funny, or if they think it’s tragic or scary. Everybody has a different interpretation of a story when they hear it and I love it that that they bring their individual take on things to a film.

One of the things that I haven’t had the opportunity to do in a film yet is make the camera one of the characters. In horror and thrillers, that’s a huge part of the style of the films. In my other work, it's been all about the acting and you want the camera to be invisible. In this one, the camera is a major character that is creating suspense, fear and trepidation as it sneaks down a hallway or around a character. That was really fun.


Q:  What was the most challenging thing about shooting the film in 3-D?

A:  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.


Q:  How was your experience working with DreamWorks?

A:  It was great. They took a leap of faith with me, because I'm not the obvious choice to do this kind of genre. When you’re dealing with tone, it’s really one of the trickiest things to harness. You need to know you’ve got your studio’s support, because if there are too many cooks in the kitchen, things get diluted very quickly. You really need a singular vision about what's going on as a filmmaker and DreamWorks was very supportive and made sure I had that. They also gave me a lot of freedom during the casting process and on the set. I have some very complicated shots in the film and they helped me make those happen.


Q:  Were you happy with your cast?

A:  I think it was Howard Hawks who said, “Casting is 90 percent of making a movie.” Anton was so emotionally invested in his character, Charley’s, journey and the coming-of-age aspect of the story. He's the straight guy in the movie, which is always hard.  For Imogen, the primary focus was her relationship with Charley and what was going on between them. Christopher Mintz-Plass and David Tennant brought the comic relief, but they’re both still very grounded. We had to find actors that could get the tone of the film right and we did. They make it look effortless.
 

Q:  Do you think Colin does a good job of playing a vampire?

A:  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 life. 


ANTON YELCHIN Q & A

ANTON YELCHIN (Charley Brewster), with his recent highly acclaimed performances in “The Beaver,” “Star Trek” and “Charlie Bartlett,” as well as other starring roles in major films, is one of Hollywood’s rising stars. He will soon be heard as the voice of Clumsy Smurf in Sony’s animated feature “The Smurfs.”  In addition, Yelchin starred in “Like Crazy,” which won the Grand Jury Prize when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. He recently began filming “Odd Thomas.” In the title role, Yelchin stars as a short order cook with clairvoyant abilities who encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark and threatening forces.

Yelchin’s past film projects include his role in “New York, I Love You,” with an all star cast that includes Ethan Hawke, Robin Wright Penn, Shia LaBeouf, Orlando Bloom, James Caan, Julie Christie, Andy Garcia and Natalie Portman. He also starred in “Terminator: Salvation,” opposite Christian Bale and Sam Worthington, “Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac” with Emma Roberts, and “Middle of Nowhere,” opposite Susan Sarandon.  His other film credits include “Alpha Dog,” “Hearts in Atlantis” (for which he received the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film––Leading Young Actor), “Fierce People,” “House of D” and “You and I.” Yelchin also received the Explosive Talent Award at the 2002 Giffoni Film Festival in Italy.

Yelchin has appeared on some of television’s most critically acclaimed dramas.  He starred opposite Hank Azaria on the Showtime original series “Huff” for two seasons, and had guest starring roles on “Criminal Minds” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

Yelchin currently resides in Los Angeles.

Q:  What made you want to do this movie?

A:  There were two reasons.  The first one was that I thought the script was very solid, with a very relatable arc for my character of Charley. He’s a kid who loses track of what's valuable to him and then he’s faced with something that threatens to take away everything that is precious. He struggles through a lot of guilt and remorse but overcomes that to protect the people he cares about. That's a very relatable story to me.

The second was that Craig Gillespie was attached to direct. I was a fan of his movie “Lars and the Real Girl” and I thought he was such a cool choice to make a horror genre film that's a bit more mainstream. He’s known as someone who likes really interesting characters and makes actor’s movies. It turned out to be true.  Craig is very much an actor’s director.  He gives you a lot of freedom to create your character.


Q:  Did you see the first “Fright Night”?

A:  Oh, yeah, I love the first film.  I think it's really intelligent and enjoyable. I think it also represents the horror genre’s transition during the 1980s from classic Hollywood horror into a more entertaining, very self-conscious, funny, campy genre. 


Q:  You play a teenager in “Fright Night.” How was that for you?

A:  I played an architect in “Like Crazy” and a week later I was in New Mexico shooting “Fright Night.” I'm happy it turned out that way, because the movies are so different and the characters are completely different people. That always gives me a certain level of satisfaction because that's what I try and do in my career, is shake it up a bit. Otherwise, I don't understand the point of this job. You have to try and take different roles every time.


Q:  Imogen Poots plays your girlfriend in the movie. Is there a difference between English and American actresses?

A: I've been very lucky. The last couple of films I’ve done I’ve worked with Jennifer Lawrence, Imogen and Felicity Jones, all of whom are extremely talented and intelligent, regardless of their nationality. I think these women are just very interesting people and I feel lucky to have been able to work with them.


Q:  You were born in Russia but immigrated here when you were six months old. Are you interested in making films in Russia?

A:  I worked on a film there once.  It was a very different experience. For me, it’s always about the filmmaker and I'm not particularly interested in going to Russia just to work in Russia. There are filmmakers there that I would really like to work with, though. If Alexander Sokurov was making a movie and called me up and said, ”Come make this movie with me,” I would be there in an instant. I’d also go to Austria to work with Michael Haneke or Denmark to work with Lars Von Trier. It isn’t about the country they’re in, it’s about their talent.


Q:  What makes you scared?

A:  What scares more than anything is probably the nature of humanity and the kind of horrible things that people can do to one another. That’s partly what “Fright Night” touches on.



IMOGEN POOTS Q & A

IMOGEN POOTS (Amy) is an emerging actress on the rise who challenges herself with each new role and continues to evolve with each project she takes on.

Earlier this year, Imogen starred alongside Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender in Cary Fukunaga’s “Jane Eyre,” portraying Blanche Ingram, a socialite whom Mr. Rochester flirts with to make Jane jealous.

Imogen is currently in production on Daniel Algrant’s “Greetings from Tim Buckley,” co-starring opposite Penn Badgley. Based on a true story, the film is focuses on the days leading up to Jeff Buckley's eminent 1991 performance at his father's tribute concert. Prior to this, Imogen completed production on Yaron Zilberman’s "A Late Quartet,” starring alongside Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Mark Ivanir. The film charts the tensions that threaten to divide a group of celebrated classical musicians.

Prior to that, Imogen completed production on "Comes a Bright Day" alongside Craig Roberts, Kevin McKidd and Timothy Spall.  A dark comedy written and directed by Simon Aboud, the film centers on a group of Londoners held hostage in a jewelry store during a heist that goes terribly wrong.

Notably, Imogen made her breakthrough performance in Juan Carlos Fesnadilo's critically acclaimed film "28 Weeks Later" portraying Tammy.  Set in post-apocalyptic England, the story focuses on a group of survivors who attempt to rebuild their lives amidst the chaos following the mass outbreak of a rage virus.

Additional film credits include James McTeigue’s “V for Vendetta” with Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving; Richard Linklater’s “Me and Orson Welles” with Zac Efron and Christian McKay; Jordan Scott’s “Cracks” with Eva Green and Juno Temple; Brian Koppelman and David Levien’s “Solitary Man” with Michael Douglas and Susan Sarandon; Neil Marshall’s “Centurion” with Dominic West and Michael Fassbender; and Hideo Nakta’s “Chatroom” with Aaron Johnson.

On television, Imogen’s credits include BBC’s "Miss Austen Regrets” as Fanny Knight; ITV’s "Bouquet of Barbed Wire” as Prue Sorensen; and BBC’s “Christopher and His Kind” as Jean Ross.


Q:  What do you think about our culture’s fascination with vampires?

A:  I think the fascination has developed because the vampire is such a malleable creature and represents hyper-sexuality and religious imagery. “Fright Night” is a movie that goes back to the original form of the vampire, which is that they are predators in a horror environment.


Q:  How was working with director Craig Gillespie?

A:  It was wonderful.  He’s the best.  I’m a huge fan of his film "Lars and the Real Girl" and I think he has a wonderful understanding of character. That's why this project was so intriguing to me.  Craig was taking on this commercial beast of a film and he was going to bring something very human and believable to the characters.

It was really fun going on the journey of the film together. We were all aware of the original “Fright Night,” but this new one is really our interpretation and it was fun exploring those ideas. We all became very close on the film, maybe because we were all living near one another and we spent practically every day together for quite a few months. Inevitably, we developed a bond. As actors, Craig gave us full permission to go off script, have fun and try stuff, even if it didn't end up in the film. It was a wonderful technique to ease ourselves into the characters and go beyond the confines and barriers of the dialogue.


Q:  Did both you and Craig have the same ideas for your character?

A:  I believe we did. We didn’t want her to be dismissed as “just the girlfriend,” an object for the male protagonist to bounce off of. We also wanted her to take part in some of the humor and find a dynamic there that was light and poignant and real.

Q:  How was it doing battle with a vampire?

A:  Well, Charley (Anton Yelchin) and Amy are battling a vampire but they’re also battling to not lose their innocence. That's part of why you love them and want it to work out for them. They don’t understand the greater force that Jerry personifies, which is everything you have no control over and succumb to in the world. They don’t understand that there are things in the world that make you seem completely insignificant.

  
Q:  Did you and Anton get along well?

A:  I adore Anton. I think he's an extraordinary talent. He’s so well informed, bright and well mannered. He’s also such a charming guy and a very, very good friend of mine.

Q:  How embarrassing are the intimate scenes?

A:  They're not too embarrassing. You just get on with it.


Q:  Marti Noxon, the film’s screenwriter, has said that she was conscious of giving your character more to do and making her more empowered in the film. Did you feel you were playing a strong character?

A:  That's definitely how I felt. Playing a girl who was strong, had an arc, was a character in her own right and got to be funny was key for me. It really elevates Amy’s character and takes it somewhere. Craig really cared about the characters and making a character based film, too.
 

Q:  Do you believe in the supernatural?

A:  I think you've got to be open to something out there.  The whole idea of us being here on this planet is pretty peculiar to start with, so I think it's good to have an open mind to things both scientific and spiritual.

Q:  How was working with Colin Farrell?

A:  He's a very intelligent man and a very gentle, extraordinary, fun actor. Plus, the film we were making is fun and watching him transform into Jerry the vampire was really intriguing.


Q:  Was Colin different than you expected?

A:  You never know what to expect from the actors you're going to work with, so there's no point in having any expectations. Everyone is just a person in their own right. But I found Colin to be charming and wonderful and I love him.


Q:  American movies are full of young, English actors these days. What do you think about that?

A:  I think it's great, of course. If you look at the cast of “Fright Night,” it's certainly international.

Q:  You’re from London. What do you think of the United States?

A: I've met some fascinating people over here. I like coming to Los Angeles, since I've found people I love, but New York remains my favorite city. I just walk and walk around the streets and find it a really creative place to be. I've had the chance to see parts of New Orleans and New Mexico also, so it was cool to understand the states from a perspective that wasn't a metropolis. America is so vast, too. There's a lot to see.


Q:  When did you start acting?

A:  I was about 14.  I joined a theatre group near where I grew up in London. It was something that I really enjoyed and wanted to have a good shot at.


Q:  What's it like to see your face onscreen?

A:  It is always bizarre, but at the same time, it's interesting to see the finished product and what the other members of the crew and cast have been up to. You just have to try to take yourself out of it and view it as a piece of art rather than think, “Oh, no. They made my nose 3-D.”

MARTI NOXON Q & A

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.”

Under her Grady Twins Production banner, which she co-runs with Dawn Olmstead, Noxon is currently producing projects for Lifetime, Showtime, FX, The CW and NBC. 

A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, Noxon currently lives in Hollywood with her two children.


Q:  How did you get involved in the “Fright Night” project?

A:  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.


Q:  So you and director Craig Gillespie were a team?

A:  I think we were, yes, and that’s something I'm so grateful for. It's really true that you can write a scene and it lives or dies with how it's executed. I've written things and thought, “I know that this can be played really poorly, but if I trust that the director understands the way these lines are to be delivered, it could be really good.” From the moment Craig came on board it was clear that he understood the way to do the humor in this movie without making it seem forced or campy. He let the humor live with the characters. It was such a pleasure to go on set and see how it was shaping up because it is kind of a rare thing when it all gels.


Q:  What did you think the most important things were to keep from the original movie?

A:  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:  Are there many scenes that didn't make it into the movie?

A:  Actually, no, there's not. It was already a relatively tight screenplay and we took out a few things, but what we ended up with was pretty much an edited version of the original script.


Q:  Were you happy with Colin's embodiment of a vampire?

A:  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.

  
Q:  Why did you choose to set the movie in Las Vegas?

A:  I spent time in Las Vegas during the Obama campaign, so I was in those neighborhoods and I saw how many of the houses were abandoned and how many were in foreclosure. I thought that phenomenon was in such stark contrast with the Las Vegas lifestyle and the night culture where anything goes. I thought, “If I were a vampire, I would move here.” I'd been thinking about that ever since, and when I was approached with “Fright Night,” I made it part of my take on the story. DreamWorks embraced it, which I was really glad about.


Q:     Did you have any specific actors in mind when you wrote the screenplay?

A:     No. When I started in this business, I wanted to be an actor, so when I write I tend to become all of the different people in my head. It’s a lot more fun than going to auditions.


Q:  Do you love vampire culture?  Have you seen all of the B vampire movies?

A: 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?

A:  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.

CHRIS SARANDON Q & A

Chris Sarandon (in a cameo) is a renowned stage and film actor best known for playing Prince Humperdinck in the film “The Princess Bride,” the vampire Jerry Dandridge in “Fright Night” and Detective Mike Norris in the first entry of the “Child's Play” series. He also provided the speaking voice of Jack Skellington in “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and was nominated for an Academy Award© for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Leon in “Dog Day Afternoon.” Most recently, he appeared in the play “Cyrano de Bergerac” as Antoine de Guiche alongside Kevin Kline, Jennifer Garner and Daniel Sunjata.

Sarandon currently resides in upstate New York.

Q:  What was your reaction when you first heard of the “Fright Night” project?

A:  My first thought was, “Who knows?” I knew that Mike Deluca was one of the producers and Mike is a smart guy, but I didn't know anything else about it. To a certain extent I was skeptical, but after reading the script I was completely sold. Then I heard that Craig Gillespie was directing and who he had cast. I thought, “Well, how can they miss?” All the promise of the script was fulfilled.


Q:  How similar is this “Fright Night” to the original film?

A:  The tone is the same. The original was scary and frightening, but it was also funny. The relationships were also very strong between the characters, which is very important. If the audience isn't carried along in some sort of emotional conflict with the characters then the jeopardy that they are in is lost or at least diminished. I thought Marti Noxon’s script captured all of those elements without completely copying the original. This is a different time, so that was important.

I was also happy to see that they went back to the older tradition of the vampire genre as opposed to what’s been happening for the last seven or eight years in "Twilight" and "True Blood." Jerry isn’t a romantic vampire. He’s much more in the tradition of Bela Lugosi, Nosferatu and Bram Stoker - a vicious killer.


Q:  What did you think about casting Colin as Jerry?

A:  I thought it was brilliant. First of all, to me, Colin is the right age.  He's a mature man and he's not a boy. Colin also has an indefinable quality and charisma that comes across onscreen. There's something very special about him, plus he’s very funny and very smart. All of these qualities are important for the character of Jerry, as well as being dangerous.


Q:  How was it working with Colin?

A:  Great.  He's a terrific fellow and a real Irish charmer, but he was also a big fan of the original movie. The first time I met him, he walked into my trailer and gave me Karl Dreyer’s film “Vampyre” and a bottle of Ch√Ęteau Lafite Rothschild. It was quite touching and wonderful. I was very flattered, to say the least. He's a lovely man.


Q:  Do you think that CGI has changed the horror and science fiction genres?

A:  I think it has certainly made it a lot easier for directors and writers to bring to life what's in their imaginations. For instance, they made this “Fright Night” in 3-D and I have always thought that 3-D was a gratuitous, money making proposition for studios so that they could charge more money for tickets. But the fact is, I think 3-D really enhances this movie because it gives it a sense of depth and, oddly enough, of claustrophobia. I think this is because you have much more of a sense of what the character's relationships are dimensionally. In my mind, that’s the proper use of technology.


Q:  Have you had any bizarre encounters with fans since you made the original “Fright Night”?

A:  I had one cable guy who was looking at me out of the corner of his eye the whole time he worked in my house, but he wouldn’t say a word to me. This went on for four hours until I was signing the bill and he said, “I’m surprised that you come out in the daytime.” Generally, though, people are very polite and very happy to see me.