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Comic-Con 2011: FRIGHT NIGHT’s Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots talk prop weaponry and vampire villains

Kristal Bailey

July 30th, 2011

While at Comic-Con, the stars of FRIGHT NIGHT sat down with journalists to talk about their horror remake, which opens in 3D and 2D theaters on August 19. FRIGHT NIGHT follows a high school senior, Charlie (Anton Yelchin), as his new neighbor turns out to be more than just your average ladykiller.

Keep reading after the break to learn more about how the remake differs from the original, how this is no TWILIGHT vampire flick, and more from the two young leads.

How familiar with the original movie were you?
I was familiar with it but it was really when I found out I was doing this that I started paying close attention to it and watched the film.
Yelchin: When I read the script, I was familiar with it but I watched the film on set.

Was there any fear of a doing a remake?
I mean with other things like with Terminator I was like “I get this character” since I loved that since I was a kid. With this I felt the script really is a reimagining you understand that right away. I think Craig is an interesting filmmaker and that was an enlightened choice to make this movie so it said something about where we were going with it. The script to me maintained the fundamental elements: the humor, the horror, and the most important thing about FRIGHT NIGHT is that Jerry is dangerous and scary and that motivates the whole story. If you take that out of the equation, if Jerry is just a “Twilight” vampire, you don’t give a sh*t and it’s the same vampire BS. But here, he’s a monster in the traditional sense. And levels of camp and levels of self-conscious can be modulated based on what you are trying to achieve, but I felt like there was something solid there.

What did you bring to the role?
I think from the fact that Ed comes to Charlie, instead of Charlie coming to Ed, the script’s already different. It’s a different character arc and I think the fact that Marty was already aware that even in the last 20-25 years there’s a great flow of info and I think the original Fright Night is what’s happening to the horror genre now; it’s how well versed in all the facets of the horror genre a suburban teenager is. So it was already a type of different trajectory for the character, not the story but the character, so for me it was about putting together who this guy was and how he was going to be. He starts off as a complete douchebag and then he learns that he sacrifices his values for something he didn’t have to, this girl who cares about him anyways, and in the end he’s completely selfless and he’s willing to do anything to save the people he cares about. That was just a very clearly drawn out thing that Marty had written.

Imogen, this is your first time playing an all-American girl. How was that?
She is definitely suburban. It was really cool and has to stem with all things American that I was brought up on. American TV was very accessible in the UK, but also I felt the need to want to embody that girl and whatever she was and understand her. I think if you are reading enough American literature and educated enough in American cinema - that you want to have that opportunity to dismiss you own innate British identity for a short while. It was awesome, I loved it.

Did you do any research for the role?
To an extent. I mean it was really just understanding this girl and the environment she was from but it’s pretty generic in the sense that its universal the feelings and what she’s going through. That’s why she’s such an interesting character, she’s easily accessible to the public as the girlfriend and that type of girl. It wasn’t research as such but definitely focusing on the accent and understanding what part of America she’s from and the way she’s dressed and all that.

Are you both fans of horror movies?
I’m not a huge fan of horror films if I’m honest, but I like being in them. They are interesting playgrounds to explore roles in because the time is so condensed and the opportunity to find out that character’s journey and go with them are normally quite tense and there’s a real conclusion from beginning and I find that type of environment a fun place to explore the character.
Yelchin: I can’t say I’m a huge fan of horror movies, but I’m a fan of genre movies. I appreciate how genre movies change and the history of genre movies - what it represents for a culture and how it comes about and how it changes - so I agree with Imogen, it’s a great playground. It’s so heightened, the stakes are so high in genre film. Charlie is either going to kill the vampire or die himself; it’s so intense and you kind of craft things in that frame.

There are a lot of fight scenes in the film, how did you handle the weaponry involved?
They are badass! The prop master Ben is a really imaginative guy who loves little intricate things on guns. For example, right now we are using a 38 revolver and he’s finding little antique revolvers and pearl handles - he’s obsessed with making the weapons as specific and interesting as possible.
Once you hold a crossbow, you are going vampire hunting; there’s no other thing could be doing with this thing. It was tedious - the whole suit for the ending - but there were so many things that I had a pack of stakes and the crosses, suddenly you just felt this intensity. It’s a one piece racing suit and once I was in that I was in this world going “I’m going to stake it!” You are so in this world, it grounds you because I think vampire hunting and the vampire genre is mostly associated with certain signifiers like the stake, the crosses, the coffin, so when you are in that realm you’re like, “oh I’m in this vampire cave and I’m holding a stake and a cross bow” you’re just there; there’s no other place you could be. You can’t be in a zombie movie, you are in that universe and the fact that it’s so specific and the shotgun I think this is credit to Ben.
He’s a great prop master, he was so specific like David’s shotgun was a shotgun where the tip of the shotgun had holes in it so that flames would go out and everything was just creative and had these thought out details for this world. We have these tools and we have to make them part of the story and also make them look cool. It’s purely aesthetic. He starts off caring about his shoes and he ends up caring about how he’s going to kill a vampire.

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