With the Fright Night remake just around the corner, many purists are concerned that it will tarnish their memories of the original. Colin Farrell plays vampire Jerry (played by Chris Sarandon in the original) and he seems pretty confident that you won’t be disappointed. We spoke with the actor, and he tells us about his love for the original Fright Night, how his Jerry differs from Chris’s, and shooting in the vast Albuquerque desert.
You captured the Las Vegas bro-douchebag vibe so perfectly.
Thanks. Yeah, you would meet a different Jerry if the film was set on the East Coast or in Florida. He is nothing if not someone who has the insane ability to assimilate himself into any environment. He probably speaks seven, eight, nine languages – he’s only had about 400 years to learn them. He is an incredible observer of human behavior. Human beings are simultaneously a point of fascination and a point of disgust. He is sick of them. They are weak, they are flawed, they feel too much. But he needs them to survive.
The movie is set in Las Vegas, but a lot of it takes place out in the suburbs, in the more isolated areas.
The desert is dangerous. Inherently, it is dangerous. So many people have gone to the desert to find themselves, gone to the desert to lose themselves, gone to the desert to fight for their life, gone to the desert to die. What cities like Vegas and Albuquerque do is offer up a frame. Literally, like a picture frame. Life is structured within this frame. You step out of this frame and you are in a completely different world, with a completely different set of rules. That was the interesting part of shooting it in Albuquerque. I loved how it fit the story. There was this sense that you were continually surrounded by something more powerful than you. Which, of course, you are in nature.
How was it, working with David Tennant? Did he bring that big personality to Peter Vincent?
Absolutely. I know Charlie is the center point of the film, for which everything exists around, but [Peter] is very much an emotional reference point, as he was in the original. In the original, Peter was a man who was over the hill, he had stopped believing, was living in constant fear. Someone who was haunted by the potential glory of his past. Marti [Noxon] was really smart with what she did, placing David’s version as a Las Vegas illusionist, but he is also living a lie. A different kind of one, but a lie nonetheless. He is younger, but he has a lot of regret. David did a fantastic job, and a lot of the comedy comes from him as well. He plays a very self-aware Peter Vincent. I loved working with him.
How much did you pull from Chris Sarandon’s original character?
Nothing. I loved Chris’s performance in the original. I saw Fright Night 15 times before I was 15 years old. But Jerry in the new film was differently designed. Being a fan of vampire lore, I would have loved my Jerry to have more of an emotional, romantic life. I was pushing for that, but I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Two weeks into shooting, I realized that I had to address the vampire in the script, and get on the same page as him, instead of forcing these moments in. Chris’s Jerry’s search for the counterpart to the woman in the picture frame, who became Amy. There was mad love in that one – it was really rock n’ roll. But this Jerry ain’t like that. He’s absolutely savage. A serial killer, aggressive, powerful – and he gets off on that. He has no sense of longing, no need for love or companionship. He finds something with the Amy character in this film. It will be fun for a while…. In a sense, I am saved from “competing” with Chris.
Chris makes a cameo, doesn’t he?
Yes. He was cool to have around on set. It was just a couple days, but it was so cool. I was a massive fan of the original – even before I ever thought of becoming an actor.
Did he critique your performance at all?
Not to my face!