The intriguing new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) © 2011 Dreamworks

After starring in the dark comedy In Bruges, The Way Back, Crazy Heart and London Boulevard, Colin Farrell was looking for a change – it came with the remake of the horror classic Fright Night.

In the movie he portrays Jerry Dandrige, who moves into the house next door to Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) and his single mother, Jane (Toni Collette), in a suburb of Las Vegas. When Charley becomes suspicious of Jerry, he discovers he is a vampire who is terrorizing the neighborhood. The problem is, nobody, including his mother and girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots), believes him.

Being a vampire is such an iconic type of role. Can you talk about creating the part of Jerry, as he was really creepy

Doris (Emily Montague) falls victim to Jerry (Colin Farrell), the seductive, bloodthirsty vampire terrorizing the neighborhood © 2011 Dreamworks

Thanks, I’ll take that as an absolute compliment. I felt like I had come off the back of three or four years of dramatic roles and dramatic films and I felt like it was time for me to just have a little bit of fun.

I said to my agents, ‘I’d love to find something that is possibly more comedic.’

Fright Night came to me and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s different.’ I loved the original. I saw it when I was eleven or twelve. I loved what Chris Sarandon [who played the vampire] and the other artists did in the original.

When I heard about the remake I was like, ‘Typical.’ And then I read it, and was like, ‘Oh no, I like it.’ You can have all these ideas about how possibly uncool it is to do a remake, especially something that’s held so sacrosanct by so many people as Fright Night is, but I loved this [script].

I met Craig Gillespie (the movie’s director) and we were on the same page as far as he had in a great idea of what he wanted the tone of the film to be.

I was playing a vampire that didn’t have any fear at all and had no kind of desire to locate his romantic counterpart. There was none of that stuff. It was just really an exercise in malevolence and brutality and it was fun.

It’s also a return to a vampire as a brutal creature – we’ve gone through a cycle now with vampires as attractive characters, as somebody we should fall in love with.

Jerry (Colin Farrell), a vampire preying on a peaceful suburban neighborhood, attempts to chase down Charley © 2011 Dreamworks, Photo by Lorey Sebastian

My whole MO was to be as unattractive as possible! I grew up watching The Lost Boys, Interview with a Vampire, various incarnations of Dracula. The vampires have always held a very seductive kind of lore and have always been attractive.

It is attractiveness that’s born of just the physical attributes that they have, this kind of ethereal beauty and translucent pallor, or it is more to do with the way they carry themselves, and the knowledge you bring to the experience of the film based on your understanding of the lore, the power, strength and the omnipotence that vampires have.

I wanted a bit more romanticism in the film. I actually wanted to go a little bit more Twilight. Craig was like, ‘No, the guy’s more Tom Cruise as Lestat than Brad Pitt’s Louis (in Interview with a Vampire).’

[Screenwriter] Marti Noxon designed it very consciously to get away from the brooding, lonely, isolated and disenfranchised vampire that we’ve gotten used to a little bit through the years.

Jerry actually goes back to being this kind of animal who is nothing if not an incredibly able survivalist, but also one that gets great joy out of instilling fear in others.

In this one Jerry is bored with human beings. He has a disdain for humans. He’s over their games, especially in Las Vegas where human behavior is magnified.

Why are horror fans to passionate? You can remake Hamlet as many times as you want and nobody says a word.

Colin Farrell at the Fan Appreciation Party at Comic Con © 2011 Dreamworks

We all hold our childhoods very dear and we don’t like anyone tinkering with them. Something that meant that much to me back then, you’re going to come in and remake it? It’s almost like in remaking it you’re casting a judgment on the original.

If there is a judgment, the judgment is that it was good enough to do again, that it was worthy enough to be revisited.

It doesn’t take away from the original, unless you want it to. And then you can [decide that] we all decided to come in and piss on the original just for the fun of it, and just because we wanted to make money.

That’s not it. We approached it as film fans, as lovers of film. You go out and you try to make it entertaining and a significantly unique look at something that’s already been looked at.

Judy Sloane

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

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