COLIN FARRELL AND CRAIG GILLESPIE Q & A
ANTON YELCHIN Q & A
What happens when evil moves in next door and no one believes you?
W hen teenager Charley Brewster can't get anyone to listen to him--not even his mom or his girlfriend--he takes it upon himself to get rid of the menace that is terrorizing his peaceful, suburban neighborhood in DreamWorks Pictures' horror-filled fun ride "Fright Night," screaming into theaters this summer.
Charley (Anton Yelchin) is a high school senior who's on top of the world--he's running with the popular crowd and dating Amy (Imogen Poots), the most coveted girl in school. In fact, he's so cool he's even dissing his best friend, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But trouble arrives when Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door. He seems like a nice guy--at first. But there's something not quite right, and no one else, including Charley's mom (Toni Collette) seems to notice!
After observing some very strange activity, Charley comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on the neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone of this, Charley looks to popular Las Vegas illusionist and self-proclaimed vampire expert Peter Vincent (David Tennant) for help and advice before taking matters into his own hands to get rid of the monster.
"Fright Night" is directed by Craig Gillespie and produced by Michael De Luca and Alison Rosenzweig. The screenplay is by Marti Noxon from a story by Tom Holland, based on the film "Fright Night," written by Tom Holland.
Given our current cultural fascination with vampires, the timing was perfect for a reimagining of "Fright Night," the beloved 1985 horror-film classic. As Producer AlisonRosenzweig and Executive Producer Michael Gaeta, who are big fans of genre films, vampire movies, and this one in particular, said, "We had been tracking the rights to the property for a couple of years, and when we realized that they were going to become available, we pounced."
With their shared enthusiasm for remaking "Fright Night," the duo brought the project to prolific producer Michael De Luca ("Priest," "The Social Network"). A genre aficionado and a savvy filmmaker, it didn't take him long to recognize the significance of the property.
De Luca, Gaeta and Rosenzweig presented the idea to DreamWorks, and from there, the project began to quickly move toward production. "The people at DreamWorks really responded to the concept and also were fans of the original film," De Luca says.
A prominent producer with an enviable list of feature-film credits to his name, De Luca's reputation among filmmakers is one of admiration. As Producer Rosenzweig enthuses, "To me, there is no finer producer than Michael De Luca. He knows genre better than anybody I've ever met, and he has an almost photographic memory for all things genre-geeky. I so respect that. We were flattered that he agreed to work with us and we obviously adore him. Not only is he an incredible producer, but he's an incredible person too."
An aspect of the story that also appealed to the producing team is that "Fright Night" is a tale of a young man's coming-of-age. "There's a life-cycle issue here that everyone can universally identify with," Executive Producer Michael Gaeta says. "Charley's journey from adolescence to becoming a full man and a hero is something that resonates with people because I think everyone has been through that process. It's an examination of watching a boy not only turn into a man but discovering who he is and who he wants to be."
"Charley is a former geek who's in denial that he ever was a geek," Rosenzweig says in agreement with Gaeta's assessment of the character. "He's shunning his old friends and trying to incorporate himself into the hip crowd. He becomes a man when he confronts the vampire and has to try to defeat him."
Adolescence is a crossroads for everyone. It is a time when one begins to define who they are."Charley is in turmoil about the choices he's making abouthis friends and his relationship with his mother, and he's trying to figure it all out," Director Craig Gillespie ("Lars and the Real Girl," "United States of Tara") says. "Oddly enough, the vampire helps focus Charley and makes him aware of what's important in life."
"FRIGHT NIGHT":Scare Tactics
"The challenge with every vampire movie--and there have been a lot throughout Hollywood's history--is how do you do something original and put a distinctive spin on a subject that's been around for centuries in fiction?" posesProducer Michael De Luca.The answer, of course, begins with the screenwriting.
A good story will always attract writers who are eager to use their creative imaginations to bring an idea from thought to form. Producer Rosenzweig says, "'Fright Night' is one of those titles that has so much awareness among people who love these kinds of movies that we received many calls from very good writers who wanted to be part of this project."
Among the pool of exceptional talent was screenwriter Marti Noxon,who is perhaps most widely known for her enormous success as a writer and producer on the hit television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," among other series and feature films.
As Producer De Luca recalls, "Marti Noxon's agent suggested her as a candidate for screenwriter,and we thought, great, but she's already done the vampire thing with 'Buffy,' so she probably wouldn't be interested. Happily, she ended up being very interested. Marti came in and pitched usbasically the story that we're shooting. She had a very fully developed pitch."
Noxon understands that in real life, there are situations that can quickly evolve from very dark to very funny. That was the concept for "Fright Night" that she and the director and producers were striving for. As Executive Producer Gaeta says, "I think that when audiences see the product of Marti's imagination, they'll find a lot of scary dark things but also beautiful and wonderful things too. She had a really great fix on exactly what the tone of the story should be and the importance of the relationships among the characters. She gave the script that extra emotional depththat she's so good at dramatizing. It was really a lot of fun all the way through her interpretation of 'Fright Night.'"
The filmmakers knew from the start that they wanted to maintain the basic story and the delicate balance of comedy and horror of the original film. That was one of the important aspects of the project that Director Gillespie loved about the screenplay. "There are really horrific moments that are very scary, and also very human moments," Gillespie says. "It wasn't just a straight genre film. Marti managed to balance thriller, humor and horror."
But humor and emotional moments aside, the horror-thriller element in "Fright Night" is certainly not to be denied. This vampire is not a lovesick, conflicted being--he is an insatiable, unstoppable predator, like the shark in "Jaws."Screenwriter Marti Noxonexplains, "At a time when vampires are part of the mainstream for moviegoers and TV watchers, some of the shock value and mystery surrounding vampire practices is gone. There's a sort of romantic vampire that's common in the culture right now. We went away from that. We are very true to the spirit of the original film," she says.
Adds Colin Farrell, "There are none of those romantic leanings. This vampire is just a killer. He's over four hundred years old. He's probably a little bit bored when we find him, but he feeds. He just feeds. He exists."
THIS SUMMER: "Fright Night" Comes to Town
As darkness settles in theaters, "Fright Night" in 3D is sure to bite a brand-new generation of horror-film devotees with its imaginative take on a cult classic--a perfect blend of horror and comedy. As Director Craig Gillespie concludes, "This 'Fright Night' is a great addition to the canon of vampire films. Some of thescenes are going to be hard to watch, in the best possible sense, but there are also some very warm, sincere moments, as well as just flat-out humor.It'll be a wild, horrific, funny ride."
On 3D:Horror…Upfront and Personal
Three-dimensionalfilmmaking has grown up. It is no longer simply about visual trickery. Today,the technique brings audiences into the images in a more subtle way by adding a dimensional layer and creating mood. In "Fright Night," viewers can feel total immersion in the frightening moments.
"Horror movies are all about dread and building up that dread," says Michael De Luca, who has produced several films that were shot in 3D. "The use of 3D in 'Fright Night' helps audiences get into the scene and experience the dread that the characters go throughas the scares come."
One of the most prominent authorities in the world of 3D technology isMax Penner of Paradise Effects, who began working with the technique almost 20 years ago. Not only is he a noted pioneer of modern 3D,he is also the go-to stereographer in the motion picture industry. He was a perfect match with Director Gillespie for "Fright Night."
What exactly is a stereographer's role in creating the 3D experience? Penner describes his job: "I control how deep the 3D space is and where it is placedin relation to the screen plane. This is achieved by using a 3D beamsplitterrigthat is a combination of two cameras and/or two sensors and two matched sets of optics that work synchronous and view imagesfrom two different points, very much like human eyes."
In complete collaboration with the director, Penner must use his expertise to create 3D imagery that is very subtle in certain places but can be ramped up for highly emotional moments. "Using stereographic wireless remote controls, I can change the geometry of the 3D rig on the fly to create a different dimensional experience," Penner explains. "In older times, we weren't able to do this. But because of digital imaging and motor controls, we're now able to make the 3D environment more dynamic, responsive and immediate."
For "Fright Night," Penner and Gillespie talked in great depth about the director's vision for his film. Gillespie notes, "3D makes you feel that you're part of the world you're watching. What we have accomplished is to place audiences within the space. We're not constantly reminding people that they're watching 3D, but we're giving more depth to the screen."
"We're creating new techniques and new ways of exploring 3D that are quite interesting," says Penner,continuing the director's thoughts. "I work closely with directors and DPs to expand this new creative and technical landscape."
Christopher Mintz-Plasse adds, "This is real 3D! It's not one of those trumped-up movies where they transfer it after shooting in 2D. So yes, this 3D is poppin' out blood and bones and other fun stuff."
THE CAST:Vampires, Victims and Valiant Heroes
With his success directing the feature film "Lars and the Real Girl," as well as the Showtime original series "United States of Tara," there was no doubt that Craig Gillespie would bring his filmmaking integrity to "Fright Night." Upon reading Marti Noxon's screenplay, Gillespie found that he could not stop thinking about it and was eager to immerse himself in the project."I wasn't necessarily looking to do a vampire movie at the time," he says of the unexpected opportunity,"but the script was so well written it gripped me the whole way through." Read more
SFXMAKEUP:PUTTINGTHE FRIGHT IN "FRIGHT NIGHT"
Special-effects makeup is an enormous part ofthe "Fright Night" experience. Director Gillespie wanted to not only go with very broad makeup, but he also wanted to pay respect to the original film. Read more
COSTUME DESIGN:The Best-Dressed Vampire
Costume Designer Susan Matheson ("The Town," "Couples Retreat"), who had long ago decided that she wanted to work with Director Craig Gillespie if ever given the opportunity, was thrilled when she received an invitation to meet with him for "Fright Night." As the much sought-after designer explains, "Craig has such a unique style, and although I was offered another film simultaneously, 'Fright Night' was the only one I was interested in working on."Read more
PROPS:The Vampire Slayers' Arsenal
Because the original "Fright Night" holds such an important place in the hearts and minds of horror-film fans around the world, Director Gillespie and the other filmmakers wanted to pay respect to that seminal work.Among ways they chose to acknowledge the 1985 film was to add a few nods to the source material, which observant fans will surely spot in the new incarnation.Read more
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Taking on Vegas
Craig Gillespie's overall direction for the film was to ensure that audiences felt authenticity. For instance, it was important to him that moviegoers would feel what it might be like to live in a tract community on the desert outskirts of Las Vegas, as well as what it would be like in the terrifying private sanctuary of the vampire. Read more
"FRIGHT NIGHT": About the Filmmakers
CRAIG GILLESPIE (Director) gained widespread recognition early on in his feature-film directing career with the critically acclaimed "Lars and the Real Girl," starring Oscar-nominated Ryan Gosling.
For television, Gillespie produced and directed the highly acclaimed Showtime series "United States of Tara." His direction of the pilot episode earned Toni Collette both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award.
MARTI NOXON (Screenwriter) most recently wrote the screenplay for DreamWorks Studios' "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, FX, The CW and NBC.
TOM HOLLAND (Story by) is an actor, director and writer who began his career as an actor in television, starring in such soap operas as "A Flame in the Wind," "A Time for Us" and "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" and guest-starring on many series, including "Felony Squad," "My Friend Tony" and "The Mod Squad."
Holland broke into screenwriting with "The Beast Within" and also wrote "Class of '84." At the same time, he continued to act, guest-starring on TV series such as "The Incredible Hulk" (credited as Tom Lee Holland) and Dan Curtis' "The Winds of War." In 1982, he landed the job penning the sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," for which he received an Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination. That was followed by "Cloak & Dagger," both with director Richard Franklin, and "Scream for Help," directed by Michael Winner, at Lorimar.
His directorial debut came in 1985 with the vampire horror movie "Fright Night," starring Roddy McDowall and Chris Sarandon. He co-scripted and directed the first in the "Child's Play" series of movies in 1988 before going on to adapt the Stephen King stories "The Langoliers" for an ABC miniseries and "Thinner" for the big screen. He also did many TV shows, including "Tales From the Crypt" and "The Owl," and TV movies like "The Stranger Within," which earned its star, Rick Schroeder, a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Holland recently returned to the horror genre, directing the "We All Scream for Ice Cream" episode of "Masters of Horror," with William Forsythe. In 2010, Holland received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Home Media magazine, honoring his status as a legend in the horror genre. Currently, he is producing, writing and directing a new series for Fearnet titled "Tom Holland's Twisted Tales."
The art of remakes