Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant - Darren (Chris Massoglia) gets a dangerous invitation © Universal Pictures

In 2008, Chris Massoglia was named one of the ’10 Actors to Watch’ in Variety’s Young Talent issue. And you can ‘watch’ him in the new movie Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant as Darren, a 16-year-old who unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires.

Pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks, he is transformed into the undead by Larten Crepsley (John C. Reilly), a vampire traveling with the freak show. As Darren unleashes his newfound powers, he becomes a pawn between the vampires and their deadlier counterparts, the vampaneze.

With movies like Twilight and its sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon to be released next month, Massoglia was asked about his expectations of joining the popular genre at the press junket for Cirque Du Freak.

Darren (Chris Massoglia), Murlaugh (Ray Stevenson) and Crepsley (John C Reilly) © Universal Pictures

Today it seems that playing a young, handsome, tormented vampire is the fastest way to become a star, do you feel pressure to become the next teen sensation?

I don’t really think I feel any pressure to become a teen sensation because that’s not really my goal in life, it’s not about being a star, being popular, having lots of girls, it’s about continuing to be able to act and have fun and do what I like to do.

So for me it’s just about learning and understanding and developing my acting abilities, and being able to look for the next project so I can act in it. It’s not really about being a teen star, so I don’t feel pressured in that way.

How did you get the role of Darren?

I heard about the audition, and I was excited. I heard the story and thought the concept of being mentored by a vampire and then becoming a half-vampire was really cool. After I met Paul (Weitz, the director) and realized I would get to work with him, that was a bonus.

Darren Shan (Chris Massoglia) and Evra the Snake Boy (Patrick Fugit) © Universal Pictures

Was shooting this movie always fun or did you encounter any difficulties or challenges?

This was my first movie, it was my first chance to go out and act in a movie, and there are a lot of things about acting that are really fun, but at the same time it is work and it is a job, and we were on set for 13 hours a day for three and a half months, so I was away from my friends and family and I wasn’t playing sports. But while the whole experience was really interesting and fun and I learned a lot, there were days where you have to work like anybody has to do.

What did you learn from the other actors?

That was one of the best things for me about doing this movie was working with all these guys. Being able to do your first movie with a bunch of Oscar nominated actors and actresses was a really big privilege. I remember the first day I was working with John, I was a little intimidated, and Paul came up and he started talking to me and took my mind off the subject. And then John came up and we had a really cool conversation, then it was fine, and it was a lot of fun.

I asked him a lot a questions throughout filming, like, ‘What was it like for you and how would you deal with certain situations?’ The biggest thing for me was just being able to observe how he worked with the crew members and different cast members that would come and go, and it was fun because I got to see how he acted professionally, and how he works, but also how he relates personally with all the other cast and crew. It was awesome for me.

Can you talk about working with Michael Serveris who plays Mr Tiny in the movie?

He’s really fun to work with, he’s really nice and it was kind of weird because he’d walk around set just normal, he’s really skinning and pretty short, and then he had this huge fat head on, and so it was like a little man with a really fat head, it was kind of weird.

But he was really fun and it was very cool, he’s a huge fan of New Orleans and he did a lot to help out when he was there. He played shows there and I still think he has an apartment there, so it was cool to see how much he cared about New Orleans.

Steve (Josh Hutchenson) and Darren (Chris Massoglia) © Universal Pictures

Can you talk about your climatic fight with Josh Hutcherson, who plays your friend Steve in the movie?

There was a lot of being thrown up in the air and being dropped. I was basically a tool for most of the movie. I was the guy getting beat up and thrown in the air and thrown off buildings. But it was a lot of fun.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.