ANTON YELCHIN (Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation) and CHRISTOPHER MINTZ-PLASSE (Superbad, Kick-Ass) team up for this superbly entertaining remake of 80s vampire flick FRIGHT NIGHT, which boasts loads of humour and edge-of-the-seat moments.
Yelchin and Mintz-Plasse play high-school friends who suspect neighbour Colin Farrell of being a vampire. But what do you do when no one believes you? Swot up on the essentials of vampire slaying and call in vampire killer and magician David Tennant!
**FRIGHT NIGHT opens in UK cinemas on 2 SEPTEMBER
MMM: Fright Night came out before you were born, so how aware of it were you?
Mintz-Plasse: I wasn’t, I didn’t know it existed until I got the script for this one. I just heard that this was a remake, and I went in and got the part. Then I bought the original and watched it. I thought it was great.
Yelchin: Pretty much the same. I wasn’t really aware of it and then when I got the script I watched it.
MMM: Some people like to stay away from the original movies when taking on something like this, in case watching William Ragsdale (Charley Brewster in the 1980s film) colours your performance, or Stephen Geoffreys (Ed in the 1980s film) colours yours. Was that a concern?
Mintz-Plasse: No, I wanted to watch it for that reason and I thought he did an amazing job as the original Evil Ed but it was very wacky and zany and very 80s and over the top. I wanted to see that so I knew what not to do in a way. I didn’t want to act like I was imitating him, because he was so great. So I watched it and I knew what things not to do for my Evil Ed.
MMM: You have an interesting on-screen relationship… there’s a feeling of friendship lost and spurned….
Yelchin: I fight that every day with you dude! It was in the script, and credit to Craig [Gillespie, director] because he really let us play around quite a bit. We hung out in Albuquerque and we both knew what was happening with that relationship and, because of the way that Craig is, he just let us play.
Mintz-Plasse: With improv of lines and whatnot.
MMM: Are you guys big vampire fans?
Mintz-Plasse: I’m a big horror buff. I enjoy horror movies, I saw Blade with my Dad when I was younger. But The Thing is one of my favourite horror movies, and The Strangers. I just like violence and blood.
Yelchin: I’m not a huge vampire guy, I like the original Nosferatu and I like the Herzog remake. I either like cerebral vampire movies or gory, fucked up violent ones. Like I like From Dusk Till Dawn and, it’s not really gory or fucked up, but Gary Oldman is so good in Coppola’s Dracula. He’s amazing in that. It’s extraordinary.
MMM: So you like your vampires feral then, do you?
Yelchin: Yeah. I’m not really a fan of the suburban melodramatic lovesick…
MMM: Before you did Fright Night how knowledgeable were you about the various ways to kill a vampire? And do you think you’d have been able to take a vamp down?
Mintz-Plasse: I could not take a vampire down, I’m a weakling. I’m a frail boy. But that’s what I like about Fright Night – they have the garlic and stakes, standing in the sunlight… it’s the old school vampire stuff to kill a vampire. And that’s how I would try to take down a vampire.
MMM: Christopher, did you prefer playing vampire-hunting Ed or vampire Ed?
Mintz-Plasse: I think I probably preferred being human because it’s more real acting in a way and I got to do a bunch of scenes with this guy [Anton] where we got to improv and what not. Being the vampire was great but sitting in the make-up chair for five hours every morning was kind of a pain in the ass… and then sitting there for an hour every night getting it off. So, I probably preferred the human stuff more.
MMM: Are there any particular films in the horror genre that made an impression on you as a teenager?
Mintz-Plasse: The first horror movie that I saw in theatres was Starship Troopers, and I was eight. That was the first movie I saw boobs in too, so it was a double win for me. My Dad took me to that one. It was my first impression of aliens and blood and action and stuff like that. I loved it, and I loved it ever since.
Yelchin: I didn’t really do any sneaking. My parents were always really cool with me watching things. One of the first things I saw in theatres was Con Air, I remember being seven or eight. And I remember the words ‘I’d better not see that cock pop out of your pants’. What the fuck? Just the sound of that!
But yeah, I didn’t really watch a lot of horror when I was younger. I watched Nosferatu with my Dad when I was a little kid. I guess Cape Fear has those elements, the remake has horrific elements to it, and that was one of my favourite movies when I was little.
MMM: Why did you see Con Air as a seven year old?
Yelchin: Yeah, my parents said they were taking me to see a movie, I don’t know. And then they felt really bad. At that time I could take movies, but that was just too much. I remember that we went to Blockbuster and rented a cartoon or something, immediately after!
MMM: And Starship Troopers as an eight year old?
Mintz-Plasse: Yeah, I had an older brother and he was 11 or 12 at the time, and my Dad was a big sci-fi guy. He said ‘you’re going to have to see it sooner or later, you’ll have to get into this stuff,’ so he took me as well.
MMM: There’s a fair few stunts in the film. How did you find that?
Mintz-Plasse: Our fight scene at the end we practised for like a week, I’d say. We did some fighting there and I did some wire work for that. It wasn’t too difficult; we nailed it in a few days.
Yelchin: I think we can pretty much do anything as long as we don’t die. Then it becomes an insurance issue. But other than that…
Mintz-Plasse: You shot crossbows and got lit on fire, and had to wrestle…
Yelchin: Crossbows aren’t really dangerous.
Mintz-Plasse: They could be; they could be very dangerous.
Yelchin: I did almost shoot Davy in the head which is really… we were shooting that last sequence in the pit and it was really late. We did all nights, even though it was on stages those were still all nighters.
And I don’t know what happens, it usually never happens to me. I was just turning, and I was supposed to fire here and I literally turned and just fired maybe two feet away from him.
Mintz-Plasse: It was a blank.
Yelchin: It was really scary, because even though it’s a blank it’s still dangerous. But that was just me.
MMM: How much of it is you when Charley suits up at the end?
Yelchin: You mean on fire? Well they set my chest and arms and legs on fire, but most of it is the stunt guy Chris Brewster, who’s great. And the co-ordinator on the film, Bob Brown, is really great. Actually Bob Brown does a 40-storey freefall on fire, on YouTube. It’s so crazy.
I remember Colin going ‘I bet your wife was so worried about you,’ and he said ‘no, she’s a producer’. So I really feel like Chris Brewster and Bob Brown and that whole crew deserve… because they threw Brewster around for a day, they just threw him in the shit all day, on fire. And he’s really great at what he does, a really good guy.
MMM: What’s it like seeing yourself on fire?
Yelchin: It’s great, I love it. It’s awesome. I wanted to do it because I think fire is really interesting. The thing is you are really cold because they wrap you in layers of this freezing jelly. You put on these longjohns and they pour it down the front of your pants, the back of your pants, down the front of your shirt and the back of your shirt and it’s that feeling of not being able to breathe because it’s so cold. By the time you’re set on fire it feels great because you’re so fucking cold. It feels like just being next to a heater. ‘Oh, it’s a flame’.
MMM: How well did you know David Tennant before this film? Had you seen him in Doctor Who?
Mintz-Plasse: I did not know who he was when I did this movie, but I’d heard that he was very talented and I knew that people were very into Doctor Who. I kind of was excited that I didn’t know who he was, because then I got to work with him and I got to see up front what kind of actor he was. He was super hilarious. He’s the best part of this movie really, he’s my favourite part.
Yelchin: He’s so good; he’s really so much fun to watch. On screen and then while we were shooting it was just a blast. I wish they could have put everything that he said in there. You could make a whole movie out of that character.
MMM: So there was lots of improv from him then?
Yelchin: Massive amounts. My favourite lines in the movie are ones that he improvised. Like where says, ‘Shall I make you a Shirley Temple?’ On the day I found that really funny.
MMM: There’s a lot of torso on display in the movie. Was there much torso rivalry on set?
Yelchin: Whose torso did you prefer?
Mintz-Plasse: I was more into Tennant’s, the skinny torso. That’s what I’ve got going for me. Colin got really big though, because he’s not that big usually. In other movies I’ve seen he’s not that big but he got huge, and ate a lot of bison steak, I think. It’s got a lot of protein, more protein than you can handle.
MMM: As actors on location during the shoot, does the use of 3D affect your performances?
Mintz-Plasse: The 3D cameras… there wasn’t much difference. They’re bigger and they’re heavier but it didn’t really affect us at all. They move a bit slower.
Yelchin: It’s more for the operator because they’re so large. I would have assumed that we’d have a lot of changes, technically, in terms of positions and distance and all that. But I don’t remember it affecting us at all.
MMM: When Craig yelled cut did everyone’s accents change except yours?
Mintz-Plasse: I’m the only, besides like Davey Franco [who plays Charley’s friend, Mark] and a couple of the American High School kids, I’m the only true American I guess.
Yelchin: I’m an American too!
Mintz-Plasse: You’re right, this man too. But Tennant, Farrell, Imogen [Poots, Charley’s girlfriend], Toni [Collette, Charley’s mum], they’re all… Well, Tennant’s accent was the same in the movie as it is in real life, right?
Mintz-Plasse: My mind’s blown! Don’t listen to me! I think he kept up the English the whole time.
Yelchin: Imogen didn’t.
MMM: There’s a number of movie remakes on the horizon at the moment. Are there any films in your past you’d like to see re-made?
Mintz-Plasse: I don’t think so. I’m pretty happy with all my favourite movies. There’s not any movie that I can think of that’s horrible, that needs to be re-made.
Yelchin: Maybe like Jesus Christ Superstar or something, with me and you.
MMM: Anton, you’re pretty much the king of reboots at the moment, with Star Trek, Fright Night and Terminator: Salvation. Are you particularly drawn to that sort of material?
Yelchin: I don’t know. I think it just kind of lands in my lap. If I like the character and I like the story… I mean, Terminator was a little different because when that opportunity came to me I felt really lucky because that was actually one of my favourite movies growing up. But yeah, I don’t really seek it out, no. I think it’s just the condition of sort of mainstream filmmaking.
MMM: Is there a movie you’d like to remake and star in yourself?
Mintz-Plasse: When I’m older I want to play Kurt Russell in The Thing because he’s just so freakin’ handsome in that! He’s got a luscious beard and that thick head of hair. I want to be that guy.
MMM: How’s your beard?
Mintz-Plasse: It’s not coming along. My facial hair is like someone grabbed a pile of dirt and said [gestures throwing]: ‘Here’s your face hair, asshole!’ It just sticks there and that’s all I can do.
MMM: And Anton, is there a remake you’d particularly like to be part of?
Yelchin: I guess if I had to choose it would be a film noir… any really. Maybe like… there’s a great one called Gun Crazy, so that would be cool. But I don’t want to remake my favourite movies. They’re great. If I re-made them I’d fuck it up.
MMM: How was working with Colin Farrell? Chris, you get to share a pool scene…
Mintz-Plasse: It was awesome working with Colin. He’s a very sweet guy. We shot that pool scene and we had to stay in the pool together for two hours because there was a bunch of shots going on, so we just kind of chatted. I got to know about his kids and he got to know about my family and what not. It was very sweet of him to ask.
He’s just like a really nice, charming, funny human being. And he is that way all the time until he goes into character. I enjoyed watching it happen so much because it was so good. You just knew how good it was – every take something was new and interesting. It was the same with David… just watching them create these awesome characters, you know?
MMM: And David Tennant, what was it like working with him? Did he stay in character?
Yelchin: No, he didn’t stay in character. I mean, that character is so ridiculous that I kind of would have liked to see him stay in character. But he didn’t. He’s a really nice man, though. We just talked about all sorts of things. We shot a lot together and we shot in these grimy environments, especially towards the end in that pit.
And he just is one of those people who always has a good sense of humour about him. He’s just smart and funny. He’s not one of those people who brings energy down at work. He maintains such a positive attitude. It sounds kind of cheesy and lame but it’s true, when you’re working 17 hours or 18 hours, you need that person who is like: ‘Oh, it’s alright, it’s 18 hours, I’m rolling around in a pit of shit, but it’s fun; life is good.’ So, he’s really great.
MMM: How do you cope with being recognised by your own fans? Is there a particular thing they recognise you for?
Mintz-Plasse: Well, I get McLovin’ sometimes from Superbad. And then people really enjoy… mainly over here I get Kick-Ass more than in the US. People really enjoyed that. But everyone’s been really sweet. They come up and want a picture or they want to meet us, which is really nice.
Yelchin: It doesn’t really happen to me that often but it’s nice. It’s nice when someone comes up and says: ‘We appreciate your work.’ You realise that you actually maybe do something for people a little bit, in whatever way. I don’t know if it’s healthy or unhealthy or what…
MMM: Chris, in your career path since Superbad, you haven’t really played the McLovin’ character again. Have you had to resist the temptation to do that again as a career choice?
Mintz-Plasse: Yeah definitely. You don’t really want to play the same character in any movies but specifically that one because that was my first movie and it was a High School movie and I’d just graduated High School at the time, so I kind of wanted to stay away from High School comedies like that because I’d just done it.
MMM: Anton, you seem quite steeped in movie history. Does that mean you’d like to do more in the future like directing?
Yelchin: Yeah, I’d definitely love to direct one day. I love movies. It’s all I really care about. I mean it’s not all I care about… it’s probably top two: my family and movies are pretty much it. So, I’d love to, yeah.
MMM: So are you picking up tips all the time when you’re on set?
Yelchin: I do a lot of watching. I feel like a film set is the best school you could go to. Especially when you’re with technicians that are really excellent. I just finished a movie in New Mexico and the guys on the movie… or this film. Javier, the DP, is a brilliant DP and watching him work and watching him interact with the operator, Ian, who is great… on this last movie I did all the camera guys and electricians and the main guys worked on Michael Bay’s films.
So however you look at those films, they’re technical films so the technicians on those movies are top notch and watching them work is really… you learn so much about dolly moves and how focus works and how to fuck with them and not hit your mark and all sorts of things like that. So yeah, it’s the best kind of school being there watching them every day.