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Fright Night – Imogen Poots believes in sexual vampires

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Fright Night - Imogen Poots and Colin Farrell
Fright Night - Amy (Imogen Poots) tries desperately to defend herself against the approaching vampire Jerry (Colin Farrell) © 2011 Dreamworks II

British actress Imogen Poots made her breakthrough performance in Juan Carlos Fesnadilo’s critically acclaimed film 28 Weeks Later, and has also appeared in V for Vendetta, Jane Eyre, Me and Orson Wells, Solitary Man and Centurion.

Her new movie, set in a suburb of Las Vegas, is the remake of the horror classic Fright Night. In it she portrays Amy, the girlfriend of Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin), who is convinced that his new next door neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell), is a vampire. Unfortunately, nobody believes him, not even Peter Vincent (David Tennant), a Vegas illusionist whose whole act is based on vampire myths.

When you do a movie like Fright Night, is there a certain amount of surrendering to the genre?

You have to surrender to an extent. No matter how melodramatic the situation, you have to maintain some sort of reality so that you create that element of fear, which I believe is key.

You’re British, but you’re playing an American. Was it hard to get the accent right?

Fright Night - Imogen Poots and Anton Yelchin
Amy (Imogen Poots) and her boyfriend Charley (Anton Yelchin) spy on the suspicious new neighbor © 2011 Dreamworks

I always work with a voice coach before I play an American. I’ve played an American a couple of times before. Regarding Amy, it was important to understand it from a girl from Middle America and somebody who hadn’t grown up in a metropolis, and somebody who’s from the desert essentially.

That affects the cadence of your voice and your mannerisms, the way you are, the people you’re around. So it was key to get the accent appropriate for the location of the film. There are many different dialects within any accent, any nationality.

Colin Farrell gets to turn on the seductive charm as Jerry and that’s one of the things I like about this. It goes back to the idea of the vampire being a monster.

That’s what was important to me about Fright Night, that it goes back to the original form of what the vampire means, that it is a predator and it is essentially a monster and fundamentally highly sexual. So it was interesting to understand that from my character’s perspective.

You’ve got the scene where there are intimate moments between her and Charley, she’s a girl, she’s willing to explore her sexuality and she’s essentially being prevented from doing that. And then the vampire, this figure of seduction, is thrust upon her.

In that sense I do believe the vampire is a highly sexual figure and I think that’s why it’s so intriguing to teenagers, because it’s a real time of change and assessing your identity and sexuality.

And it was fascinating watching the transition with Colin going to Jerry. I do believe that he found this animalistic quality and the primal element of the vampire and he was unrecognizable. He’s so nice, and then he’s a vampire, and he’s not so nice anymore. He’s very talented.

Did you do any research on vampire movies when you did this? And because Amy becomes a vampire in it, did that release the beast in you?

Fright Night - Toni Collette, Imogen Poots and Anton Yelchin
Jane Brewster (Toni Collette), Amy (Imogen Poots) and son Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) are terrorized by a bloodthirsty vampire © 2011 Dreamworks

I definitely watched the original movie once when I knew I was going to be doing this version. And regarding my research as a vampire, it wasn’t extensive but I was observing Colin for a number of days and I wanted my vampire to be in line with what he was doing, and I found the physicality that he embodied very interesting.

Even the way he moved his mouth and his breathing and his eyes flitting around, all of those little elements you want to bring to your vampire, so that the audience understands it’s a specific type that you are creating.

How freeing was it to create the unrestrained sex?

I had already established Amy and by that point it was fantastic to embody a vampire. It’s the antitheses of what she is. It’s very physical. You very much become a creature and the sexuality was key, because she’s been very modest and protected herself I felt throughout the script and never compromised herself, so she’s a strong woman.

Then it was important just to find this huge release that Charley hadn’t seen before, which I do believe threatens Charley in that moment.

Being British, were you a fan of Doctor Who, and what was it like working with David Tennant in this?

Fright Night - Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots
Devastated by the trail of death left in the wake of his battle against an evil vampire, a stunned Charley (Anton Yelchin) is roused back into action by his concerned girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) © 2011 Dreamworks

I was a fan of Doctor Who and it was fantastic working with David. He is so brilliant and I know Matt Smith too, who’s now the new Doctor. And what’s interesting is every week on that show they have to adjust their character to a new situation and new journey, so it’s a very malleable form in that sense and it lends itself well to the fact they’re able to adapt.

I find Matt and David really exceptional actors and David’s playing something here which is, I do believe, the antithesis to Doctor Who and it’s really exploring a whole new type of person which is really exciting to watch.

Are there vampires that you love from pop culture?

Not really. I’m not a huge fan of the horror genre, but I was very lucky to be a part of this and I think what Colin has done is created quite a Seminole villain and a monster and as I said earlier, it’s going back to the original form of what the vampire is. Certainly it’s something that links into hyper-sexuality and, let’s say, religious imagery.

It’s very much going back to the predator, so I think Colin Farrell is my favorite vampire.