Movie News

Mr. Beaks Drops By The Set Of FRIGHT NIGHT 2011!

Published at: Aug. 1, 2011, 2:57 p.m. CST

August 18, 2010. Just past midnight. A stretch of two-lane road some twenty miles outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico is bathed in artificial light. There's been an accident. A minivan and a sedan have made each other's brusque acquaintance and now rest fifteen feet from one another, shattered glass littering the blacktop around and between. There are dozens of people mulling about, but no one seems concerned or injured. In fact, the driver of the smashed-to-shit minivan is in high spirits. Apropos of nothing, she begins popping and locking. Soon, she's moonwalking over the road toward the crippled sedan. One of the minivan's passengers, a lovely blonde, shrieks with delight. This draws a mild rebuke from the group huddled around the sedan. "Quiet please." Message received. The impromptu breakdancing exhibition is halted, while the adults go back to choreographing a man being yanked out of a car by a vampire.

Welcome to Day Seventeen on the set of FRIGHT NIGHT. The Remake. For real.

And in 3D! For the first time in my life, I'm standing in video village with a gaggle of producers and executives watching playback through 3D glasses. Though you have to sit directly in front of the monitor to get the full effect, it's still pretty cool to see images popping off the screen as the Red One camera captures the scene twenty feet away. The unit publicist hands me a headset so I can hear the dialogue being shouted by the actors. Though no one's giving up much in the way of story, it's obvious that Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin), armed with a hastily-devised stake cross, is attempting to protect his mother (Toni Collette) and his girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) from the fully-transformed Jerry Dandrige (Colin Farrell). As Jerry rapidly closes in on Charley, the driver of the sedan leaps out to have a word. He's a little irritated. And he looks awfully familiar. In a split-second, Jerry Dandrige spins around and is face-to-face with... Jerry Dandrige?

Evidently, someone at DreamWorks did their homework and figured this FRIGHT NIGHT aficionado might want to be on set to witness the meeting of the Dandriges. While I'm certainly thrilled, I can't imagine how Colin Farrell - an avowed, no-bullshit fan of Tom Holland's 1985 classic - feels about sharing a scene with the first Jerry, Chris Sarandon. It's a cool, respectful moment, one that is played over and over again from multiple angles all night. It never gets old*.

This is also my first hint as to the tone of remake. There's nothing funny about Farrell's Jerry; with his hideously contorted visage and claw-like hands, Dandrige has been envisioned by makeup artist Howard Berger as a stone-cold killer. You don't see Farrell under there at all - or hear him, given that he's playing the neighbor-from-hell as an American. And while everyone's certainly having a good time in between takes, there's nothing at all amusing to the scene. It's being played for straight-up scares.

  

This is exactly why producers Michael Gaeta and Alison Rosenzweig wanted to update Holland's film: to counteract the sparkling emo vampires of TWILIGHT. "The way the public image of vampires now is softer, gentler and kinder," says Gaeta. "This is definitely not that. It's got to be scary."

"Colin's going to take care of that," says Rosenzweig.

So it's a great big "Fuck You" to TWILIGHT, huh? "I don't want to say it's a 'Fuck you'," clarifies executive producer Josh Bratman. "But it's a different approach."

How different? "These are real fucking vampires," says Yelchin.

So that takes care of scary. But what about the other integral component of Holland's original: comedy? Gaeta and Rosenzweig credit screenwriter Marti Noxon with striking the right balance of laughs and screams. "We searched far and wide for the perfect writer," says Rosenzweig. "Marti is the perfect writer, and she did a perfect job on the script."

"There's a lot of comedy in it," says Gaeta. "It's much more sophisticated because the horror is more intense, and the comedy is more intense."

Though Noxon was comfortable with juggling those tones, her key contribution to the screenplay was identifying the hook that would set it apart from Holland's film. "I don't think that some of those coming-of-age thresholds, like, "Oh, my god, I'm losing my virginity," are necessarily the most important issues for today's kids," says Gaeta. "It's all so familiar to them."

So Noxon's script is about a de-nerdified Charley tentatively running with the cool kids in school. He's dating one of the most beautiful girls around, hanging with guys who used to humiliate him, and doing everything he can to ignore his dorky one-time best friend, "Evil" Ed Thompson (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who was enjoying a night off when I visited the set). In Noxon's version, it's Ed who's the first to pick up on Dandrige's nocturnal shenanigans, and Charley who wants no part of digging for the truth (the Las Vegas setting gives Dandrige a bit of cover; it's a transient population, so random disappearances are nothing out of the ordinary). But matters eventually take a turn for the worse, and Charley is forced to defend the women in his life from the sleazy, predatory Dandrige.

Thus bringing us to the other crucial element of Holland's movie: Peter Vincent, vampire killer. Since late night creature feature hosts are now, sadly, a thing of the past, Noxon decided to write Vincent as a schlocky Vegas illusionist in the mold of Criss Angel. The casting of David Tennant, the popular tenth Doctor Who, certainly excited genre fans, but how exactly does a rock-star magician take the place of a washed-up actor who used to slay fake vampires for a living?

There's silence and an exchange of glances when I ask the producers about this. "David is younger," says Rosenzweig.

"He's a guy who's been going through the motions," clarifies Bratman. "And when [Jerry] comes into the fray, it makes for a really interesting character." So that's a big wait-and-see.

Though Tennant's portrayal of Peter Vincent is apparently a state secret (he also wasn't called the night of my visit), the fate of one character is evidently fair game. As the evening wears on, director Craig Gillespie finally gets to the point in the scene where Farrell's Dandrige sinks his fangs into someone's neck - replete with full-on arterial spray. This is why you make a fucking vampire movie. I watch in giddy anticipation as the f/x guys snake a tube under the to-be-chomped party's wardrobe up to the collar of their shirt. There's an agonizing pause as Gillespie works through a technical issue with the 3D supervisor. Finally, they're ready to go.

"Action!" Farrell rears his head back and dives for the jugular. There's a pop, then a geyser of blood shooting into the night sky. "Cut." Farrell pulls away. One side of his ashen visage is coated in fake blood. That went better than I could've possibly imagined. Once the applause dies down, Gillespie calls for a no-blood take (there was a time when DreamWorks was considering a PG-13 FRIGHT NIGHT; they wisely opted for the R). Good enough. I've seen Dandrige meet Dandrige, a live vampire bite and Toni Collette breakdance. I'm ready to call it a night.

Sunrise is a few hours away as I wait for a cab back to civilization. It's eerily quiet, save for a strange buzzing to-and-fro overhead. Bats. You've got to be kidding me. And so I listen to them. Children of the night. What sweet music they make.

Faithfully submitted,

Mr. Beaks

 

P.S. When in lovely Albuquerque, be sure to grab a chili dog at the Dog House Drive In. I walked two miles in mid-ninety-degree heat for one, and regret mostly nothing! (Thanks, Josh!)

 

*During a break, I headed over to chat with Sarandon, who seemed more than happy to be passing the fangs over to Farrell. I was cautioned about recording on set, so I've no hard quotes to share from our brief conversation. I did, however, conduct a lengthy interview with the legendary actor a few years ago, so if you want more Sarandon, here 'tis
I also spoke briefly with Farrell during a break in the action. I actually thought I'd been approached by a stunt double in makeup until I heard, in that familiar brogue, "Mr. Beaks, you've revealed yourself." Farrell had family on set that night, and seemed to be having a blast vamping it up under all of that latex.

Readers Talkback

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  • Aug. 1, 2011, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Mr. Beaks, you've revealed yourself

    by Bobo_Vision

    And 2 minutes before asking that question, Farrell asked his press agent, "Who's that, and which publication does he work for?"

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 3:05 p.m. CST

    Smurfs tie Cowboys & Aliens at week-end box office...

    by Franck

    ...LMFAO!

  • I just like Colin Ferrel and that kid from Star Trek.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Colin Farrell and the Star Trek Kid...

    by professor murder

    Whenever I see Farrell, I ALWAYS get a flash of him when he self promotes himself in Daredevil with his sneer yelling, "Bullseye!" LAME Whenever I see Yelchin, I ALWAYS think of his part I initially saw him in, Alpha Dog, where his character(and the guy he's portraying in real life) got totally screwed over because some punks messed up and were covering their tracks. LAME Daredevil though, was a bad movie, while I thought Alpha Dog was quite good, considering it was JT's first movie too. I think Fright Night has potential.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 3:37 p.m. CST

    Not related, but...

    by quicksilver80

    It seems the guy who directed Max Payne is gonna helm Die Hard 5, so there

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 3:38 p.m. CST

    "David is younger," says Rosenzweig

    by MooseMalloy

    Hilarious. Isn't that the sole reason behind every remake these days? Is a COCOON remake with twenty-somethings that far off?

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Sorry, it's been offered to him

    by quicksilver80

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 3:51 p.m. CST

    I've not seen the original...

    by BloodiedFox

    ... but is it so good that it can't be remade? Remaking classics, like say The Thing, yeah that's bad, but if it's something flawed and you get a good cast (as this has), then should we really grumble?

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:01 p.m. CST

    Probably, green_lanterns_roommate...

    by Sardonic

    Only it will be a cover by My Chemical Romance.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Colin Farrel's big poster face is NOT scary. I don't hold ANY hope for this.

    by impossibledreamers

    Part of what made the first so FUN (Hear that Sony?) was the tongue-in-cheek aspect of making fun of classic, cheesy horror with a little wink at it. Even if you didn't like Tommy Lee Wallace's sequel, you have to acknowledge that HE understood that.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:09 p.m. CST

    Yeah, the posters for this are abysmal

    by Bobo_Vision

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Please get Brad Fiedel to do the soundtrack!

    by Darth Macchio

    Seriously. His work in the Terminator films and the original FN was excellent. The screeching guitars, slides, he was doing some very good sound design work even beyond the original soundtrack in that movie. I actually own the Fright Night soundtrack - it's excellent (even the 80's pop-new wave is good even if a bit empty without that great dance-seduction scene to go with it). I hope this is great...probably won't be or shouldn't be, but it would be great to have it be great. And to the question of "is the original too good for a remake"? subjectively speaking, absolutely yes but objectively? This is a highly popular cult-film today that flopped in the theater decades ago. But yet in the world of film-geeks it is almost universally beloved and thus, not a good prospect for a remake in these here parts...

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:19 p.m. CST

    I think the poster is actually pretty good

    by D.Vader

    I like the sun setting down behind Anton Yelchin and his axe, with the suburbs behind him. It makes me think of Salem's Lot for some reason. But I've got no problem with the posters, they're fine.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:21 p.m. CST

    So, d.vader, just so I'm clear, you like these posters:

    by Bobo_Vision

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Poster reeks - I want Colin inside me right now

    by Rex Carsalot

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:25 p.m. CST

    These?:

    by Bobo_Vision

    http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/23400000/Fright-Night-2011-Posters-horror-movies-23431054-531-800.jpg <P> http://www.roughcutreviews.com/images/poster_fright_night_ver2.jpg <p> http://www.andyerupts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Fright-Night-Poster-Girl.jpg

  • probably have that here, as well...

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:28 p.m. CST

    *yawn*

    by Riff_Randell

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:31 p.m. CST

    Fuck no! No Brad Fiedel! No 'Come To Me!!'

    by Riff_Randell

    He's too good for this POS!!

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:33 p.m. CST

    RE: dennis_moore

    by Riff_Randell

    She single-handedly killed Buffy and will probably do the same with Mad Men.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 4:53 p.m. CST

    So this will be getting a glowing review

    by Mattman

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 5:29 p.m. CST

    No Bobo, you're not clear.

    by D.Vader

    I don't think you even read my previous post, did you? I was speaking specifically about the only poster I've seen for the movie, the one at the top of this story, the one I described. Those three posters you presented are shit. I see the intention of trying to inject some comedy, to let the audience know that "Hey, this isn't ALL scary, its a bit clever and witty too," but the end result is a bit of a failure.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 5:34 p.m. CST

    No d.vader....this is what you said

    by Bobo_Vision

    "I've got no problem with the posters, they're fine" - d.vader <p> You didn't say "I have no problem with THE poster, IT'S fine", you said "I have no problem with the POSTERS, THEY'RE fine." <p> So you if I'm not clear, it's because you didn't communicate your meaning properly and I wanted to give you the opportunity to do so. So perhaps you should drop the snarkiness with the whole "I don't think you even read my post, did you?" bullshit. Because those posters suck...and so does anyone who likes them. Period.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Ooops, my bad

    by D.Vader

    I was speaking about one poster in particular, I thought that was obvious. I did make the mistake of making it plural at the end. Whoops I guess my heart just wasn't in that particular post and I made a stupid mistake. My bad. Period.

  • fact...oh and it will be shit and bomb at the box office

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 5:59 p.m. CST

    Still nothing on Chuck Norris joining Expendables 2???

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 6:01 p.m. CST

    sardonic you'

    by Mel

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 6:01 p.m. CST

    god dammit let me try again

    by Mel

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 6:02 p.m. CST

    sardonic you're stupid. you're crazy. you're also weird

    by Mel

    it's what you wanted!

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Colin Farrel looks good in this...

    by Andrew Coleman

    Everything else seems weak really. Farrel looks like he is having fun though and his scenes in the trailer had me kind of interested. Problem is it's one of those films that doesn't understand how to sell itself... It has comedy moments... Scary moments... Action moments. It seems every movie that does this doesn't exactly explode in the box office. I think it will do decently well though in the end because of the cast. I dislike that mainly only here you get a lot of posters who say this: "It will suck and bomb at the box office". You may be right it will suck, will see, but I dislike how many seem to understand the box office... I don't think anyone does. You see people claiming Thor or X-men didn't do well... Right so do movies have to make a billion dollars to be put into the section of "doing well"... Many studios don't have lofty expectations for non-block buster type films. Doubt many will understand that though.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 6:33 p.m. CST

    Like It

    by wrx

    Saw it. big fan of the original, and yet this one was very enjoyable too. it's a nice reinterpretation that doesn't shit all over the original. Very fun time.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 6:55 p.m. CST

    The original was fun but nothing really special and

    by sweeneydave

    is in DIRE need of an update. I'm quite looking forward to this one to stand up among all the Twilights and remind us why we fell in love with being afraid of vampires in the first place. Can't wait to see it!

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 7:01 p.m. CST

    I'm sure that is gonna be a good movie

    by naian

    But i can´t stand Colin farrell. He sucks

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 7:19 p.m. CST

    Chuck Norris in THE EXPENDABLES 2?

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Looks like I'll be skipping that one, as well.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Why does something fun but dated NEED an update?

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Just make a new fukkin' vampire movie.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    ohhhhh, Imogen Poots

    by Kammich

    been crushing on that girl since "28 Weeks Later" and "Centurion." glad she's getting some bigger roles.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 9:01 p.m. CST

    the new peter vincent is a wtf.

    by alice133

    huge empty hole in the middle of the movie.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 9:08 p.m. CST

    Farrell looks just some dude with teeth

    by chien_sale

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 9:31 p.m. CST

    Children of the night...

    by ZaphodBeeblerox

    Were the wolves howling, not the bats flying around.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 10:25 p.m. CST

    zaphodbeeblerox

    by HapaPapa72

    Beat me to it. Good catch. But I appreciate Beaks' enthusiasm.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 10:38 p.m. CST

    NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN POSTER!

    by HELLSFOXES

    seriously, complete rip off. http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/news/2007/07/no-country-for-old-men-one-sheet-trailer/

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 12:07 a.m. CST

    Beaks, there is no excuse for this.

    by Hint_of_Smegma

    This remake is a massive disgrace, and helping promote it makes you as guilty as the money-grubbing jerks who are producing this dreck. Fright Night was a genuine classic. Guess we'll see you at the set of the Casablanca remake too huh...? Good grief. Watch this remake fall off the cinema chart it's second weekend out. Awful, Beaks. Just awful.

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 1:43 a.m. CST

    No Country For Old Men called...

    by gaygoonie

    It wants its poster back. http://media.photobucket.com/image/No%20Country%20for%20Old%20Men/am_619ripeg/No_Country_for_Old_Men.jpg

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 2:13 a.m. CST

    the_choppah - cash in, mate...cash in.

    by sam jacksons wig

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 2:17 a.m. CST

    original "just fun" and "in dire need of update"?

    by mrgray

    Are you joking? There's nothing in Fright Night that needs updating. Nothing. It doesn't benefit AT ALL. Cell phones? Who cares? TV horror hosts a thing of the past? Who cares? It's a fantastic horror comedy that doesn't benefit from an update. And how dare anyone compare Carpenter's The Thing remake to this. Carpenter made significant changes using vastly superior effects technology and shifting the tone to paranoid thriller from creature feature B-movie. Fright Night is.... what? 3D? And changes Charlie from a normal teenager to a popular kid trying to cast off his nerd past? WHO CARES? Furthermore, shifting the onus of discovering Jerry's true form to Evil Ed completely misses the point of Evil Ed, which is having the completely eccentric character doubting Charlie's sanity. This. Is. Stupid.

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 2:22 a.m. CST

    for the record, though, Noxon did NOT ruin Buffy

    by mrgray

    Season 6 and 7 are vastly superior to Season 1 and marginally better than Season 4. I'll take the complex psychosexuality and survivor guilt histrionics of Season 6, melodramatic as they are, over the expository silliness of Season 1 and the vanilla Riley "romance" and stupid Frankenbaddie of Season 4 any day. At least the themes in Season 6 were interesting. And Season 7 is awesome. I don't get the bitching about that season AT ALL.

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 2:49 a.m. CST

    Please do not support this film by buying a ticket.

    by MaxDembo1

    It is sad that a website like AICN that would claim to support geek culture would get behind such an obvious cash grab. The only reason to remake this film was pure and simple greed on the studio's part. The changes that have been made to the characters and the tone of the film are pathetic attempts to make it relevant to an audience that could care less about genre cinema. If you love real horror films made for real horror fans then you will speak with your wallet. Do not give these greedy, corporate swine one red cent for their bullshit desecration of this genre classic!

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 7:07 a.m. CST

    According to that Poster

    by Monolith_Jones

    This is a film about a teen-aged ax murderer and the kindly neighbor who risks it all to save him.

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 7:19 a.m. CST

    Hell yeah, mrgray

    by D.Vader

    Season 6 of Buffy is one of my favorites in the series.

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 10:06 a.m. CST

    But what about Amy??

    by Dr Hemlock

    Will she have the scariest vampire mouth ever (like Amanda Bearse did?)

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Uh oh...set visit. You know what that means?

    by knowthyself

    Great reviews bought and paid for!

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Who hires colin ferrel...

    by knowthyself

    ...just to make his face look fat in the poster?

  • But no totally stoked for this, love Fright Night, Love Farrell as an actor, can't wait. On a side note, I feel as excited for this as I did about the new Thundercats, which totally was fabulous, so I'm going for the double header on this and hoping for an excellent update!

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 9:26 p.m. CST

    Season 6 of Buffy was so good

    by proevad

    that season 7 couldn't live up to it. Also, Amber Benson fucked up season 7 by not agreeing to be the big bad in it and made it half of what it could have been. Bitch. Anyway, Noxon didn't fuck it up.

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 9:35 p.m. CST

    Remake

    by proevad

    I actually think it looks a lot better than I thought it would. Huge fan of the original. Most people don't remember what a shot in the arm that movie was to the horror genre. One of the most memorable movie going experiences I ever had. Someone actually took the time to write a really smart, scary, and funny script and got actual performances out of the actors. So many shitty horror films had come out in that era, that I actually sat there stunned when it was over. I couldn't believe it was as good as what I thought it was--so I went out and bought another ticket for the evening show and dragged a friend along to see it with me.

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 11:07 p.m. CST

    yeah, let's talk about Amy

    by mrgray

    The reason the original Amy was so interesting was because she was - again - a REGULAR GIRL. Making Amy a hot popular girl - again- misses the point. Amy was supposed to show how any girl could fall in with the douchebag Bad Boy (Jerry). Popular girls, at least according to fiction tropes, almost always fall in with douchebag Bad Boys. So now, if I recall the rumors correctly, it falls to Mrs. Brewster to be the love interest for Jerry. What? While I don't think Noxon purposely fucked up this Fright Night movie, I DO think she either A) completely misunderstood what made the original great or B) completely wrote what the studio wanted for the characters. I can't believe that anyone who had seen and loved the original Fright Night thought that these CRUCIAL changes to the characters were a good idea. And don't even get me started on Peter Vincent. Sure, it's fun to take the mickey out of self-serious magicians, but it MISSES. THE. POINT. Peter Vincent is supposed to be the vampire expert who Charlie can count on to help him out but who fails him, thus making Charlie's problems even greater. How does the new Peter Vincent affect Charlie in any freaking way???

  • Aug. 2, 2011, 11:27 p.m. CST

    divebomb

    by Burnam

    he was alive after the credits of daredevil. so it has happened once...O.o

  • Aug. 3, 2011, 6:08 a.m. CST

    is it a classic? kinda is.

    by compn

    this craze of remakes isnt churning out any good movies. quick! name me a remake within the last 20 years that was any good. i'll wait... (the thing is 29 years old btw) there are some actual good reasons for doing a remake, i'll try to name them. 1. original movie was either rewritten or miscast and missed the whole point of the story. 2. original movie suffers from lack of budget or was made in a time period when that genre of film was laughed at. 3. the movie was a flop and everyone hates it. 4. it was the best story ever and we can remake it some more. (maltese falcon had ... 6 'remakes'?) so is fright night a true classic? in the same way that 'an american werewolf in london' is. or 'the goonies' or 'princess bride'. but i guess those are all in the works to get remade (or have already been remade ala american werewolf in paris). theres a bunch of 80s movies that need sequels. like the buckaroo banzai / big trouble in little china crossover. or escape from earth (carpenter's third escape movie trilogy!). del toro wanted to do 'in the mountains of madness' ffs! let him do that and ignore these damn remakes. why not remake something like 'once bitten' if you want to make a vampire movie? or blackula ? or any number of bad vampire movies no one remembers anymore.

  • why dont they just theatrically re-release the original movie and leave it the hell alone? or make it 3d if they wanted to?