With Colin Farrell on board to play vampire Jerry Dandridge in Craig Gillespie's version of Fright Night [for more, click on the V&S logo at the top of the page], the production team turned to the other characters populating the film, begining with Charley Brewster, who discovers his neighbor is a vampire. Ultimately they chose Anton Yelchin (Chekov in JJ Abrams' Star Trek), who was thrilled for the opportunity.
"I like the relationships in this story," says Yelchin. "Charley versus Jerry, Charley and his girlfriend, Charley and his friend who, who he has shunned; are all interesting elements. With Craig Gillespie at the helm, we got to develop the nuances of all the relationships."
Academy Award nominee Toni Collette signed on as Charley's mother, Jane, helped no doubt by Gillespie directed her in her Showtime series United States of Tara. "I love working with Craig Gillespie," she enthuses. "If I'd been offered this film and there was another director, I really don't know if I'd have taken it, but I trust him wholeheartedly. I think he's going to make the film scarier by making it real and honest."
Adds the director, "I was very excited to get Toni for this role. She's able to blend humor and drama, which is such a tricky dance to do, and she does it beautifully. Also, you feel an instant bond between Toni and Anton, which made my work easy.
Next up was Peter Vincent (portrayed by the late Roddy McDowall in the original), now a Las Vegas magician,illusionist who Charley turns to with his vampire problem. British actor David Tennant was chosen. "We were really excited to get David Tennant for this role," says Gillespie. "He hasn't done a lot of work in the States and this is such a great platform for him. He has excellent comic timing and also comes from the dramatic arena."
For his part, Tennant expresses, "The vampires in this film are just proper old rip-your-head-off, run-screaming-for-your-life type of vampires. And I like that. And this character of Peter Vincent is just delicious. He's onstage doingn this huge show, which is slightly perposterous and yet absolutely rooted in the kind of things you might see if you went to see a magic show in Vegas. But whilst his onstage life is so expansive and bonkers, when the wig comes off he's actually a little, bitter, damaged, disenchanted wee man. It's great to play a character that has that scope and then gets to do things that are pretty extreme and extraordinary."
British actress Imogen Poots was cast as Charley's girlfriend, Amy. "when I first read the screenplay," she says, "it was exciting because there's a real combination of horror and humor. It's not a purely gruesome film. It has real character. Amy's relationship with Charley is sweet. As the story unfolds, they're obviously on this advneture together. It's really about what they learn about one another, and themselves."
And then there's Charley's former best friend, Ed (known as "Evil Ed" in the original), a part that Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Red Mist in Kick-Ass) was cast in. "Although this is a remake of a really popular movie, it's totally new and amazing because Craig, our director, is keeping the eerie, smoky, creepy vibe of the original version," he explains. "And Marti Noxon, the screenwriter, did an incredible job. She really went deep into the relationships. Unlike some recent vampire films where there are, like, fifty of them and they can walk in the sunshine and sparkle instead of bursting in flames, our film has just one specific vampire. It's very straightforward: no reflection in mirrors, crosses will burn him, stakes to the heart and sunlight will kill him. It's all very cool."
Look for more Fright Night coverage throughout the weekend.